Pray – it may seem both obvious and superfluous to mention this – yet this is so important. I started with this exactly because it should be a first response and the highest priority.
Whatever we hear in Scripture can be turned to prayer. As we discover God’s character – we can pray in worshiping Him, as we recall His Gospel – we can pray with thanksgiving for our salvation. Sometimes His word will challenge us and through conviction we can pray with regret for the past and requesting help for the future.
Prayer is often misunderstood as being a passive, mystical experience reserved for the ‘chosen few’. Yet a close exploration of the magnificent book of Psalms, filled with the Biblical poetry – they appear to have the same real life honesty described often in the songs of the delta blues story-tellers of old. They are rooted in reality, a raw reality even.
When God speaks in church – respond in prayer. We sing, we listen, we chit-chat – but I think we will gain much to pray more as a response to His word in our congregations.
When God speaks to you in your private devotions – turn it to prayer. Let prayer be inspired and informed by the beautiful collision of Scriptural truth and your mundane reality.
When God speaks in your small group – turn to prayer; pray in 2-3’s for one another. Pray for the community where you meet.
Prayer is essential as a response that bridges the information-transformation gap for at least two reasons. First, prayer is essentially about humility – an appropriate acknowledgement that I am not God. Secondly, it introduces God to the equation – a divine involvement that makes all the difference between a well-intentioned person and a Spirit-driven disciple of Christ.
So, if you want to grow – pray, pray, pray! That’s how 1 Thessalonians 5:17 is meant to look like