The Still Small Voice

Strategic Listening: Harnessing the Power of God


Chapter Eight, Part One


Harnessing the Power of God

Serve only the Lord your God and fear Him alone.
Obey his commands, listen to His voice, and cling to Him.
(Deuteronomy 13:4)

From the vantage point of Mount Hermon, the Lord Jesus was able to look down over both Israel and Syria. In spirit, His gaze travelled still further, right out across the whole world. He knew that His disciples were shortly to embark on the greatest mission of transformation that world has ever seen. He knew that they would come face to face with many extreme needs, and encounter such intense opposition, that they would need to listen carefully to the Still Small Voice.

If strategy is the key to success in business and military circles, why should it be any less so in the realm of listening to the Lord? The Still Small Voice reveals a portion of the Commander’s plan, so that we can play our full part in the work of the Kingdom. If we do not learn to think strategically, then, like a ship that never ventures far from shore, our listening is likely to default to matters close to home and heart.

God has committed some work to me, which He has not committed to another.
I have my mission. (John Newman)

Every time we meet with other Christians, whether on the phone or face to face, we discuss people and issues that are ‘prayer-worthy.’ So much the better if we get into the habit of going the extra mile and commit matters to the Lord in prayer . Preferably right there and then! Just as countries rich in water harness its immense force to make hydro-electricity, so we are able to ‘tap’ into the power of God through prayer.

It is when we turn from information-sharing and reflect the news, the needs and the nations that He has been laying on our hearts back to the Lord in prayer that meetings become encounters. The key is as simple as saying, ‘Let’s pray together!’

Derek Prince relates how the Lord told him back in the 1950’s to warn the Kenyan Christians not to make the same mistake Pentecostals have so often made, squandering His presence and His power in spiritual self-indulgence. As he called a large conference to pray for their nation, a man had a vision of a great evil advancing towards their country that was turned away at the last minute as the result of their prayers.

It is good to experiment with different ways of praying. At times we may find it most appropriate to adopt the model widely used in South Korea, with everyone raising their voice and crying out to the Lord at the same time. This must have been very much what the apostles did in Acts 4. At other times we will benefit more by developing the Quaker emphasis of waiting quietly for the Spirit to lead and direct us.

May the Lord help us to remember people and places we usually contrive to forget. Brother Andrew was leading a prayer meeting once in his home town, for prisoners behind the Iron Curtain. In the middle of it, news was brought to them that a girl who everyone present knew was seriously ill. The level of intensity shot up as people poured out their hearts in prayer.

The Lord restored the young lady, but He did so in a way that expanded everyone’s confidence that their prayers really were touching God’s throne.

‘You are concerned about this girl because you know her,’ the Lord said, ‘but I am equally as concerned for the people you are praying about in these other countries, whom you have never met.’

If we can dare to ‘analyze’ what it was that made this time of prayer so special, I would suggest two key characteristics.

Firstly, God honoured the fact that people were prepared to look beyond themselves, and identify with people who are deeply scored on God’s heart.

Secondly, the friendship between the members of the group made it easy for Him to answer prayer. We usually pray and listen best when we trust the people we are with, and when we are not thinking about whether we are sounding too judgmental or political – or getting our grammar wrong!

For Reflection and Prayer

Gordon MacDonald claims that one draft horse can pull two tones of weight, but that two can pull more than twenty! Take this extraordinary example of exponential increase to heart. I liken it to Jesus’ teaching that where two of three come together in agreement, He is right there in our midst. What an encouragement to find ways to harness our friendships for the Lord in prayer, as well as in other forms of service.

Father, right now we agree that
as Your Still Small Voice prompts,
we will overcome our fear and reluctance,
go the extra mile and say ‘Let’s pray together.’