Hunger for God?

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Prayer-Meeting-Logo“Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.”     (Matthew 5:6)

I remember visiting the First Baptist Church of St. Petersburg, Russia in 1995. This church had a Thursday night service as well as a Wednesday night service and multiple services on Sunday, as part of their routine. I went on a Thursday night, and arrived about an hour early because I did not know what time the service actually began. To my surprise, hundreds of people had already begun to arrive and stood outside awaiting the opening of the building. Nearly all the people had walked great distances to come early enough that they might get a seat. (The seating capacity, I found later, was 1500).   I was also surprised and excited to see later when the building opened, the house filled, and many folks stood around the walls of the sanctuary. All seemed to have a hunger and an expectancy to meet with God!

Upon meeting and speaking with the Senior Pastor through my interpreter, the pastor asked me to preach in the service.   What an honor!   It was also stress, as I had nothing ready to share.   I definitely had a Holy Spirit night.   He guided me wonderfully.

Just before I was to speak, the pastor gave a ‘call to prayer’.   I observed many people kneeling, others made their way to the altar; and I still have a memory of a few elder women crawling on their hands and knees weeping and praying their way to the altar.

I saw this same hunger for God and love for His church throughout Russia, and in the underground churches, I visited in both China and Vietnam.

Then I return home to our American churches where being on time is a struggle for many.   I do not see the same hunger on the faces, nor the expectancy to meet with God. I have wondered, “What is the difference?”   I came to a painful conclusion . . . we do not know persecution as they do!

Beloved American church, I believe and trust God that we may experience revival; spiritual awakening, but I think persecution will be the path to our knees in humility.

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