Saturday, 31 December 2011


Anyone familiar with the London Underground will be aware of the regular tannoy announcements when the train is in the station concerning doors, such as ‘Doors Opening’, ‘Doors Closing’ and particularly ‘Mind the Doors!’ God opening doors, and closing them, is a re-occurring theme in scripture and has become much associated with the idea of God guiding us through circumstances. In over 40 years as a Pastor, the subject that I have been asked most questions about is ‘guidance’! How does God guide us? How can I be sure that the direction I am taking in life is the correct one? Is there a plan and purpose for my life, and if so how can I be certain that I am fulfilling it? These, and similar questions, have been put to me time and again by young and old alike, and for all I know they may be the kind of questions you are asking as we enter another new year? As someone put it to me recently, ‘I am hoping this new year will present me with some open doors of opportunity?!’

Traditionally there are various factors that Christians incorporate into their guidance system: scripture, tradition, reason, prayer, and circumstance as vehicles through which the Holy Spirit guides us. Evangelical Christians largely adhere to this traditional view although interpreting these various factors in a particular way. Thus scripture is seen as the primary source of guidance, particularly the traditionally held interpretations rather than any ‘fresh expression’ of scripture. Church tradition is to be treated somewhat sceptically especially if it appears to contradict scripture, although Evangelical Christians often interpret ‘church tradition’ as referring to the good and Godly guidance of those in the church whom we esteem and respect in God, usually our Leaders or those mature in the Faith.  Reason is good – after all God gave us brains and expects us to use them – but not if reason appears to dismiss or contradict views that are understood to be scriptural. Prayer is important as a vehicle through which we lay our concerns, including our need for guidance, before God although we are not too good at waiting on God for answers. Equally Evangelicals are either particularly wary of any extra-biblical revelation that may come our way through ‘charismatic’ means, or appear to believe this is a primary way God reveals his will to us and refuse to move in any direction until we have ‘had a word from the Lord’?!  Circumstances have been usually last on the list, in name at least, primarily because in our heads we believe God can over-rule circumstances.

I would suggest that whatever the particular theological corner we approach the subject of guidance from, the reality is that circumstances actually play a much bigger part in our guidance system than many of us are prepared to admit? For all our belief in scripture, tradition, reason and prayer as vehicles through which the Holy Spirit guides us, if a particular door closes we see it as God shutting the door, and if a door opens we tend to see it as being of God and go through it!?  Biblically, however, there are a number of passages that suggest completely the opposite may sometimes be true and that there are clearly occasions when apparently closed doors need to be pushed and seemingly open doors need to be avoided!

In the Old Testament story of the Exodus, when Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt towards the Promised Land, they found their way blocked by the seemingly impenetrable barrier of the Red Sea [Exodus 14]. With the sea in front of them, the Egyptians behind them, and mountains either side of them the way forward seemed impossible. The majority of the Israelites concluded  that God did not want them to move forward and advocated a return to Egypt [Exodus 14:12]. Moses however, inspired by God, pushed this particular closed door and the sea parted allowing the Israelites to move forward [Exodus 14:13-31] . In the New Testament we read of an occasion in the life of the early church when Peter was arrested by King Herod and imprisoned under heavy guard awaiting execution [Acts 12:1-4]. The prison doors were firmly shut tight and the situation seemed impossible ‘but the church was earnestly praying to God for [Peter]’ [Acts 12:5]. The early church did not accept that what appeared to be a closed door was from God, and that their leader was meant to be executed. They prayerfully pushed the prison door and we are told that miraculously the prison door ‘opened for them by itself’ [Acts 12:10] and Peter was able to pass through it!

When Paul and Silas were imprisoned in Philippi [Acts 16] we are told that ‘suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken … [and] at once all the prison doors flew open and everyone’s chains came loose’ [Acts 16:26]. In the same situation, most of us would have seen this as a God-given miracle (similar to Peter’s deliverance) and walked out of the prison. If Paul and Silas had done that, however, they would have remained fugitives from the law rather than been pardoned, and the Philippian Jailer would have committed suicide or been executed rather been saved! Paul and Silas clearly discerned that that although a door had opened for them they were not meant to go through it. Either God had not opened the door in the first place, or if he had, it was a test of their powers of spiritual discernment. Paul was not always so discerning, however. In 2 Corinthians 2:12,13 we are told that during one of his missionary journeys Paul left Ephesus and went to the significant seaport of Troas. He went there because he believed that ‘the Lord had opened a door for me’ to preach the gospel of Christ [v.12], only to almost immediately change his mind once he had got there and move on to Macedonia [v.13]?! Whatever other questions this fascinating snippet from the life of Paul raises for us – and there are a number – this incident clearly illustrates that sometimes what we perceive as an open door of God’s making is not always so!

We all hope that this new year will present us with open doors of opportunity but we still need to be careful when it comes to discerning God’s plans and purposes for our lives. Not every seemingly shut door is necessarily an eternal barrier for us … but neither is every seemingly open door a door we are meant to go through?! Circumstances do have a part to play in our guidance system but we need to balance this with clear biblical direction that comes to us underlined by the Holy Spirit, an openness and sensitivity to the Holy Spirit directing us in new ways and new directions, a thought through faith response to that which we think God may be saying to us, a willingness to talk things through with others who we respect and esteem in the Lord, and a prayerfulness that undergirds all that we think or say or do as we seek to move forward in God. 

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Listening to God

C S Lewis, in his book Mere Christianity, suggests that ‘The moment we wake up each morning, all our wishes and hopes for the day rush at us like wild animals. And the first job each morning consists in shoving it all back; in listening to that other voice, taking that other point of view, letting that other, larger, stronger, quieter life come flowing in.’ Listening to God requires a deliberate choice to shut out the chaos around us and focus our thoughts on the one Person we really need to hear from. We live in a world of noise. Almost everywhere we go, we find sounds, voices, competing with our minds, keeping us from letting our thoughts get beyond the surface level. Hearing God's voice means not listening to the noise of the world around us. It's not easy, but it can be done. This is particularly important when it comes to discerning God’s will for our lives, and having an effective prayer life. It is also an essential ingredient in the art of Waiting on God.

According to the Apostle John the secret of answered prayer lays in asking God to do that which he wants to do in the first place – ‘This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us – whatever we ask – we know that we have what we asked for’ [1 John 5:14,15]. One of the main purposes behind this First Letter of John is the writer’s desire to shore up the confidence of the Christians to whom he is writing. We may have lots of questions … and many things may be unclear … but there are some things of which we can be absolutely certain. For John, one of these certainties is the assurance of eternal life – ‘I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life’ [v.13].  Whereas the Gospel of John was written for unbelievers ‘that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ’ [John 20:31], the First Letter of John was written for believers so that they might know with every fibre of their being that they possess eternal life.

One of the consequences of this assurance of eternal life [v.13], John tells us, is a ‘confidence’ or boldness before God in prayer [vs.14,15]. John has previously raised this subject in 1 John 3:21-23 where he tells us that answered prayer is directly linked to keeping God’s commandments and living a life that pleases God. Here [vs. 14,15] John tells us that answered prayer is directly linked to asking according to God’s will. But what does this really mean?

Firstly, it does not mean simply attaching ‘if it be your will’ to our own prayers. We have all heard people conclude their prayers in such a way (presumably on the basis of a misunderstanding of the phrase ‘your will be done’ [Matthew 6:10] in the Lord’s Prayer). Usually this phrase is used as some sort of ‘escape clause’ in case God doesn’t answer the prayer offered … or simply because the person praying is not really sure that what they are petitioning God for is correct in the first place. But effective prayer ‘consists not in bringing God’s will down to us, but in lifting our will up to his’ (Robert Law).

Thus secondly, ‘asking according to God’s will’ involves listening to God. Most of us are not very good at listening full stop … leave alone listening to God … which is possibly why (as we have noted previously) God gave us two ears and only one mouth, so that we might do twice as much listening as speaking. If we are to ‘ask anything according to [God’s] will’ [v.14], however, it means not coming to God with a great list of things we want him to do – however spiritual or well-meaning that list may be – but simply laying our concerns before God … and then waiting on him to reveal his will on those matters to us. Then, and only then, can we confidently ask God to do ‘that we have asked of him’ [v.15]. All other intercessory prayer is simply guess work. Discerning God’s will on these matters or concerns requires listening to God – waiting on him for him to reveal his will to us, either right there and then in the immediate context of our prayers … or in future days. A good example of this (as we have seen previously) is in 2 Kings 19 where Hezekiah lays the threatening letter he has received from Sennacherib before the Lord and invites God to both read the letter and reveal his will on the situation [vs.14ff]. God then reveals his will to Hezekiah prophetically so that Hezekiah is able to align his prayers (and his actions) with the will of God … thus his prayers are answered and the nation is delivered.

The reason for consulting God in this way is not because God is some kind of divine megalomaniac but because God knows best – ‘My thoughts are not your thoughts neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. As the heavens are higher than the earth so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts’ [Isaiah 55:8,9]. Putting it simply, God simply knows what’s best for us … certainly better than we know what’s best both for ourselves and for others. An example of this is found in John 21 where, after a frustrating and fruitless night’s fishing for the disciples, the risen Lord Jesus appears to the disciples and tells them exactly where to cast their nets (even though his advice runs contrary to the laws of fishing) and as a result they catch a huge amount of fish. Although this story is sometimes called ‘Jesus and the miraculous catch of fish’ there is actually nothing miraculous about it. The beach at Tabgha (where this incident is presumed to have taken place) has a warm stream flowing out  into the Sea of Galilee and from where Jesus was standing, looking down to the sea, he could see exactly where the fish were congregating. Thus he was able to advise the disciples accordingly. In much the same way God is able – from where he stands – to see things much better than we can … and advise us accordingly.

In my next blog in this series on Waiting on God I want to talk about how God reveals his will to us. For now I simply want us to concentrate on the need to learn to start listening to God. Perhaps a good start – even before considering in greater detail exactly how God reveals his will to us – is to start to make time to simply lay our concerns before God … and simply listen. Such an exercise, even at this early stage, may produce some startling rewards.

He came to you, for in His gentle voice
He’d much that He would say …
Your ears were turned to earth’s discordant note
And so … He went away.

He came, and in His hand He had a task
That He would have you do.
But you were occupied with other things
And so you missed that too.

He would have touched you, and His touch could thrill
And give you quickening power,
But earthly things enveloped, and you could
Not feel Him in that hour.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Learning to Leave Things with God

Back in the 1960s, one of the most helpful things we were taught as young Christians was to learn to ‘leave things at the foot of the Cross’.  You just don’t hear that kind of language in church today … or if you do, it is usually some cynical comment about old fashioned ideas or old fashioned language. But perhaps it is precisely because such truths have been either neglected or rejected by today’s church generation that the contemporary church is in such a mess. Admittedly, it has always been possible for Christians to attempt to ‘dispose’ of negative things such as sin or guilt or failure, or ‘deal’ with difficulties or dilemmas, by sweeping the former under some kind of religious carpet and the latter by passing the buck to God. The problem is that when we do this, we don’t really solve the problem.  A friend of mine once said to me about his wife, ‘Ann takes her burdens to the Lord in prayer … but the trouble is she brings them back again!’ There is clearly more to ‘leaving things at the foot of the Cross’ than simply telling God (and others) that we have ‘left things at the foot of the Cross’. To genuinely leave things with God is not a negative thing at all but a very positive thing. It means bringing God into the equation.

Thus in the Old Testament narrative we find King Hezekiah waiting prayerfully upon God having received an extremely threatening letter from Sennacherib [2 Kings 18, 19]. Hezekiah came to the throne of Judah at the age of twenty-five and reigned for twenty-nine years from 715-687 BC. He introduced religious reform and reinstated religious traditions. The Bible portrays Hezekiah as a great and good king, and his reign saw a notable increase in the power of the Judean state. During much of his reign Judah was subservient to Assyria but between the death of the Assyrian king Sargon, and the succession of his son Sennacherib, Hezekiah sought to throw off Judah’s subservience to Assyria. He rebelled against Assyria, ceased to pay the tribute imposed on Judah, and entered into a league with Egypt against Assyria. If Hezekiah expected the Egyptians to come to his aid he was mistaken and Hezekiah had to face an invasion of Judah by Sennacherib in 701 BC as a result.

The invasion of Judah by Sennacherib and the Assyrian army is a major and well documented historical event. The Bible records that initially Hezekiah tried to pay off Sennacherib with three hundred talents of silver and thirty of gold in tribute but, after the payment was made, Sennacherib renewed his assault on Jerusalem. [2 Kings 18:14-16]. Sennacherib besieged Jerusalem and sent his supreme army commander, together with a huge army, to surround the city. Having tried, and failed, to break free from the yoke of Assyria through human reason and effort alone (and been forced into seeking to appease Sennacherib as a result, albeit unsuccessfully) the narrative records that Hezekiah recognized the futility of his own resources. He humbled himself before God and went to the temple and there he prayed, the first king in Judah to do so in 250 years, since the time of Solomon [2 Kings 19:1-4]. In response to the penitential prayers of Hezekiah and his people God spoke through his prophet Isaiah promising supernatural deliverance for the oppressed people of Judah [2 Kings 19:5-7]. He Despite the prophecy things got worse rather than better. Sennacherib renewed his assault on Jerusalem and sent Hezekiah a horrifying threatening letter spelling out destruction and annihilation for the king and his people. In the face of this Hezekiah’s response is fascinating:

Hezekiah received the letter … and read it. Then he went up to the temple of the Lord and spread it out before the Lord. And Hezekiah prayed to the Lord … Give ear, O Lord, and see; listen to the words Sennacherib has sent to insult the living God [2 Kings 19:14-16] 

Hezekiah did not spend a long time recalling all the negative events of the past weeks, months and years. He did not tell God what to do about the situation. He simply laid out the letter before God and prayerfully invited God to read it and respond to it [2 Kings 19:14-19]. He left the matter, even though it was extremely serious and literally life-threatening, with God. In due course the answer came. God spoke yet again through his prophet Isaiah to affirm and expand the original promise of deliverance [2 Kings 19:20-34] … and that very night bubonic plague broke out in the Assyrian camp (according to Herodotus, brought by rats) resulting in the death of 185,000 Assyrian soldiers and the complete withdrawal of the besieging Assyrian army [2 Kings 19:35,36]. Sennacherib never returned to besiege Jerusalem … within a short space of time he was assassinated by two of his own sons. 

What do we learn from this story? We learn what it really means to truly leave things with God … not by sweeping things under the carpet, nor adopting a stoical, martyr spirit towards things, nor by praying once about something and then forgetting about it or giving up on it, nor by going on and on about things to God without allowing him a word in edgeways, or by working things out for ourselves and applying our own logic alone … but by sharing the situation with God in prayer … and then waiting patiently for clear revelation, understanding, direction from God to be given to us.

Friday, 7 January 2011

Waiting on God

‘If prayer is talking to God, which it is’ wrote William Barclay, ‘it is even more so listening to God!’ I agree wholeheartedly. Someone once suggested that the reason why God gave us two ears but only one mouth was because he wanted us to do twice as much listening as talking … which brings us to the subject of this particular blog.

Whilst, by and large, I am an advocate of the use of up-to-date translations of the Bible – the New Testament was essentially written in the common Greek of the day rather than classical Greek – occasionally the Authorised Version (or King James Version) of the Bible gets it just right. Thus when we read in Isaiah that ‘they who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint’ [Isaiah 40:31 AV] the old King James Version of the Bible captures the sense of what the Writer is seeking to convey here much more accurately, in my opinion, than more modern translations. Whilst the New International Version translates part of this verse as ‘those who hope in the Lord’ it is clear from the context that the Writer has more in mind that simply putting our trust in God – even if the Hebrew word for ‘hope’ signifies something more than our Western ‘fingers crossed’ understanding. One could perhaps even argue that for the translators to substitute ‘hope in the Lord’ for ‘wait upon the Lord’ reveals how much we have moved away from this ancient principle of waiting prayerfully on the Lord for understanding, revelation and direction. The Hebrew word ‘wait’ signifies a sustained effort on our part of ‘keeping on keeping on’ in prayer and expectation. In secular use ‘waiting’ sounds like inactivity but in Hebrew ‘waiting on God’ is just the opposite of inactivity. It involves focussing on the Lord, attending to the Lord, asking the Lord to help us and prayerfully waiting upon him until we receive some measure of the understanding, revelation and direction that we need. No wonder that Eugene Peterson translates the word as ‘stay with God’ [Psalm 27:14 The Message].

What we have here is an important biblical principle for both individuals and churches. Thus in the Old Testament narrative we find King Hezekiah waiting prayerfully upon God having received an extremely threatening letter from Sennacherib [2 Kings 18, 19].  In effect Hezekiah simply lays out the letter before God and prayerfully invites God to read it and respond to it [2 Kings 19:14-19]. I will return to this story in a later blog, but for now it is sufficient to see that in this extremely difficult situation Hezekiah didn’t panic or react with a solution of his own but spent time waiting prayerfully upon God seeking understanding, revelation and direction. One hesitates to spoil a good story by revealing the ending too soon, but in response God gives Hezekiah a clear prophetic word that Israel would triumph over the Assyrians [2 Kings 19:20-34], and that very night God supernaturally intervened in the situation to fulfil his word and deliver Israel [2 Kings 19:35, 36]. In a similar way, in the New Testament narrative, the embryonic church waits prayerfully on God for the promised coming of the Holy Spirit in response to the command of Jesus [Acts 1:4,5,12-14]. Eventually, some 50 days later, the Holy Spirit is poured out upon the gathered disciples – some 120 of them – and they are both transformed and empowered in a supernatural way and equipped for the ministry to which they have been called [Acts 2:1-4,11]. I will return to this passage of scripture at a later date as well.

Both these passages illustrate the important principle of waiting prayerfully on God for every important situation and circumstance in which we find ourselves – personally and corporately – whenever and wherever we recognise the need for understanding, revelation and direction, and perhaps particularly for the help and empowering of the Holy Spirit. The simple reality in today’s church here in the West is that we rely far too much on our own resources – our own wisdom, reason, finances, natural gifts, and so on.  Isaiah 40-55 date immediately before, and during, the fall of Babylon (c.539 BC) and these events awakened great excitement in the hearts of God’s exiled people, Israel, and stirred latent hopes of release. Here in chapter 40 we see the Writer revealing that God had accepted Israel’s repentance for the sins that had resulted in their captivity. He was about to redeem his people through the meteoric rise of the Persian Cyrus and the impending collapse of Babylon. It was one thing for the Prophet to know this, however, and quite another for the people to believe it also? For the people to really know it in their own hearts – just as Noah knew he had to build an ark, and Abram knew he had to set out for the Promised Land – it was necessary for the people to ‘wait prayerfully on the Lord’ [v.31]. Only in this way could God put that deposit of faith into their hearts whereby it was easier for them to believe God than not believe. Only in this way would they be able to ‘rise up with wings as eagles’ and see things from God’s point of view not just theirs; ‘run and not be weary’ buoyed up by the certainty that God would fulfil his promise; ‘walk and not faint’ conscious that God himself would give them the stamina to keep going until they entered into the liberty and freedom God intended for them.

The Bible is full of all sorts of promises – many of them general and therefore applicable to all of us – that cover just about every human need. Some are to do with the freedom from the sin and guilt that cripple many of us, a certain liberty God wants us all to enjoy – ‘If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed’ [John 8:36]; ‘Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty’ [2 Corinthians 3:17]. All of them reveal that God only wants the best for us – ‘ I have plans for you, declares the Lord, plans for good and not for evil, plans to give you hope and a future’ [Jeremiah 29:11]. But we will never know the truth of these things for ourselves unless we give time to waiting on God … listening to him, giving him the space and time to speak into our hearts by his Spirit and through his Word.

Saturday, 1 January 2011

Asking for the Old Paths

Some years ago (before the advent of the sat nav), having taken a wrong turning on a journey to Bala in North Wales and ending up 20 miles out of my way in the middle of the night with no other option (because of the mountains) than to turn round and drive the 20 miles back, I learned a very important lesson in life: sometimes we have to go backwards in order to go forwards!

In his book God Was In Christ, Donald Bailey suggests that we cannot understand the Christian Faith without paradox – two equal and opposite truths. An obvious example of this (and the one at the heart of Bailey’s book) is the doctrine of the Incarnation – Jesus Christ being at one and the same time fully human and fully divine. Thus the modern concept (despite it being rooted in a very old piece of scripture) of God doing ‘a new thing’ [Isaiah 43:19] in the church today, is balanced (to my way of thinking at least) by an equally valid concept, if somewhat unpopular view in this modern church age, that as church what we really need to be doing is to be asking God to reveal to us again the ‘old’ or ‘ancient paths’ [Jeremiah 6:16]. My personal conviction is that in our constant search for new ways, new methods, new experiences, we have forgotten some of the old ways, old truths, old experiences which would stand us in much better stead if we were to recover them once again, rather than endlessly search for something new.

Jeremiah was both a priest and a prophet who prophesied to Judah (the southern kingdom) c.626-586 BC. He prophesied during a period of storm and stress when the doom of the entire nation of Israel – including Judah – was being sealed. His ministry began c.626 BC half way through the reign of Josiah – a period of real hope – but ended sometime after 586 BC at the conclusion of the reign of Zedekiah and the destruction of Jerusalem and Solomon’s Temple by Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians. He was forcibly taken to Egypt (along with Baruch) by others who feared Babylonian reprisals (see Jeremiah 43:4-7) when he was around 70 years of age, and Jewish tradition has it that he died there. Jeremiah essentially presided over a period of decline in Judah, but one of the things he tried to do was to call the people back to the old ways, the ancient paths of Godly commitment and devotion – ‘Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls’ [Jeremiah 6:16].

This idea of God doing a ‘new thing’ in his Church today is in reality not that new. The idea has been popular amongst many Christians since the mid-1960s and the outbreak of the charismatic renewal. Personally speaking I have become tired of waiting for this so-called ‘new thing’ to manifest itself – there have been far too many false dawns – and I increasingly find myself actually longing for some of the ‘old’ or ‘ancient paths’ – some of the truths and practices that characterised the church of my youth back in the late 1960s and early 1970s that we appear to have lost. In saying this I do not want to appear too critical of the so-called ‘new churches’ from whom those of us in the historic churches have much to admire and learn from – their enthusiasm in worship and witness, their dedication not least in financial giving and sacrificial service, their commitment to Christ and to one another in the church. If they appear to have gone too far in certain directions at times this is primarily because of an understandable reaction to the staidness and lack of spiritual zeal of many of the historic churches. We need to be careful not to use criticism of their more obvious faults and failings – the speck in their corporate eye – to cover up our own faults and failings – the planks in our own eyes that we have been guilty of in the historic churches for generations.

The advent of the ‘new churches’ has challenged many of us in the historic churches to re-examine the way we ‘do church’ today. We have been forced to re-visit key areas such as worship, financial giving, service, commitment, pastoral care, leadership in the church, evangelism, the gifts and ministries of God the Holy Spirit, and so on – indeed we have not been frightened to learn from them and try and discover for ourselves the ‘new thing’ that (the new churches continually tell us) God is seeking to do among us.  Nevertheless, I cannot help but wonder if – in our attempt to be new and original – the pendulum has actually swung too far and we have in fact, as church, forsaken some of the key things of the ‘ ‘old’ or ‘ancient paths’? I have visited too many ‘new’ and ‘renewed’ churches in recent years where although the ‘worship’ has been lively there has been a noticeable absence of Bible reading and intercessory prayer, and Communion has been seemingly relegated to the back burner and observed either intermittently or on a kind of ‘help yourself’ basis. Despite an initial vibrant start even the new churches are struggling numerically today along with the historic churches.

I would suggest that the church today here in the West – like the Judah of Jeremiah’s day – is truly ‘stand[ing] at the crossroads’ and the decisions we make as church today about the way we go from here are absolutely vital for the future of the church! Is it time for us to stop asking God to do a ‘new thing’ among us … and instead ‘look’ for, even ‘ask’ God in his goodness to show us again those ‘old’ or ‘ancient paths’ and give us grace to walk them once again?

Just one of those things – and the one I want to return to in my next few blogs – is the art, the need, the priority of what used to be called ‘waiting on God’. Not waiting for God – a demonstration of some kind of stoic patience as we wait for God’s intervention – but rather waiting prayerfully on God for understanding, revelation, direction on a particular matter or situation concerning ourselves, our church, our nation, and so on. Whilst patience is a virtue, and something that we all need to demonstrate at times including those times when we do have to wait patiently for God to fulfil his promises or plans for our lives, waiting prayerfully on God is something altogether different and something that needs to be recovered in today’s church and in our personal walk with God.