|Unity in the Community Q&A
Sunday, June 10, 2007
Answered by Hayword Edwards Apostolic Lansing, MI
There is an African proverb that states that if one chases two hares (rabbits), they will catch neither. This speaks to the importance of focusing on a goal and establishing priorities. The writer James further adds credence to this concept in the first chapter of his Bible contribution by stating that a “double-minded” man is unstable in all of his ways. The assumption is then, that a single-minded man, or otherwise focused individual, is better off and operating in a more efficient manner. Acts 2:46 talks of the time following the ascension of Christ; speaking of how the apostles “continued daily with one accord in the temple”, and how they ate meat with “gladness and singleness of heart”. As a result of their defined purpose, souls were added to the church daily. As apostolic assemblies, we should desire to return to those times of intensity, passion, and focus. Imagine those days when the preacher didn't have to call the members to encourage them to attend church.
There are Bible stories that clearly illustrate the importance of focus. In one instance, Jerubbaal, better known as Gideon, asked for Israeli volunteers to battle the Midianites and their Amalekite allies, who drastically outnumbered them. The text states that the enemies' camels were without number and resembled the sand by the sea. When 32,000 men showed up for the battle, God stated that there were too many. After 22,000 soldiers returned home because they were fearful, 10,000 remained. God then commanded Gideon to observe the manner in which the remaining troops drank of the stream. The ones who got down and bowed their knees, completely oblivious to the events transpiring around them, were eliminated. The rest, however, remained focused on the task at hand, and lapped the water like a dog, very much aware of their surroundings. These soldiers are vigilant like the saints spoken of in I Peter 5:8. These saints maintain this watchful state because the Devil walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: These 300 troops were ultimately used by God to go into battle and defeat the enemy. It's evident that God is asking the same of the church today. In order to be used by the Lord mightily, we must not lose sight of our divine calling and purpose. In order to be victorious in battle, we must remain diligent and focused and not allow ourselves to be entangled with the cares of this world.
James also emphasizes that there is an element that may be missing in our prayer. He writes in James 5:16 that the “effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” There apparently is another level of focused prayer that yields results, or is “effectual” The word fervent speaks of the level of intensity of our prayers. “Fervent” is defined in Webster's Dictionary as extremely hot, glowing, or boiling. Anyone who has ever prayed until they were to this point can testify that there is nothing like it. One feels as if they are having a personal conversation with God. These focused individuals come boldly unto the throne of grace with an effectual prayer, that is, one which seeks results, answers, and solutions. I John 5:15 says that if we know that the Lord hear us, we already have the petition that we desire. True focus in our prayer, going so far as to write our needs and desires in the form of a petition, may serve us well. The song “We Have Come into His House” encourages us to “forget about ourselves, concentrate on him, and worship him!” Oftentimes, we have so much on our mind, even in church, that we are not focused on the true purpose of our fellowship, which is to worship the Lord, and honor him whole-heartedly.
When a group of people have a collective purpose and are united in their pursuits, very rarely do they fail. In Genesis Chapter 11, the people of the earth have a common language and speech, and begin to build a tower to heaven. They have no Holy Ghost, no water baptism, and have no permission from God. All they have is focus. They are so determined in fact, that God has to confound their language in order to divert them from their carnal goals. God even remarks that the “people is one”, describing them in the singular, rather than in the plural. This brings to mind the atmosphere in the upper room, where Jesus has asked the disciples to gather after his death, in preparation for the coming of the Holy Ghost. The scripture says that they were all of one accord and in one place. In other words, the people had focus and determination. In those difficult times, no one had time to come to the upper room and be distracted. Having faced such adversity, no one came with the mind to create confusion or stir up strife. As a result, the Lord poured out the Holy Ghost upon those willing and obedient men. We must continue to do as it says in the book of Jude. That is; to earnestly contend for the faith. A fight without
It is going to take more than a pained expression, or the “faith face”, in order to demonstrate our focus. We must invariably look unto Jesus, who is the author and the finisher of our faith. Isaiah 26 says that those who keep their mind on the Lord will be kept in “perfect peace.” There is an unparalleled consolation in knowing that you are single-minded and focused in your purpose. When it comes to praise, we must not be deterred from our focus. We must live the words of the song that says that Jesus is the center of our joy. We must truly bless the Lord at all times and keep his praises continually in our mouths.
All in all, enhancing our level of focus will serve us well. We must be steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord. (I Corinthian 15:58) Our labor is not in vain and we must remain focused in order to reap the benefits of the kingdom. It says in Hebrew 11:6 that God is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. Just as a husband leaves his mother and father and cleaves unto his wife, we must reprioritize our life and put the Lord first and focus on him. As focused individuals, we must not waver, stagger, turn back, be distracted or led astray, called away, disturbed, flustered, or sidetracked. It's time for the “true” church to earnestly contend for the faith and realize the Power of Focus.
The Unity in the Community Project was first started in August of 2006 at a Unity in the Community meeting at the Islamic Society of Greater Lansing located in East Lansing, MI. It was a project created by the Publisher, Rina Risper to see how different or similar answers were to the same question about healing, prayer and religion. The New Citizens Press welcomes answers to “What is prayer, and what results do you expect from it?” send us an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or write us. Please also send us a picture and your denomination.