Prayer and Worship | You mean you don't Pocket Mulch?!
I read a book a year or two ago called The Gospel According to the Simpsons. The author makes the argument that through comedy, silliness and absurdity, The Simpsons is actually a strong voice for moral decency (and never questions the existence of an all-powerful God). He quotes Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury as calling The Simpsons "one of the most subtle pieces of propaganda around in the cause of sense, humility and virtue." Let me demonstrate for you how this is true:
In episode 252, "Lisa the Tree Hugger", young Lisa meets a radical environmentalist, who she instantly falls in love with. She visits him in jail, and is intimidated when she sees that he is far more dedicated to environmentalism than she is. This sets the stage for the rest of the episode, but not before leaving us with a memorable discussion:
Lisa: I think your protest was incredibly brave!
Jesse: Thank you. This planet needs every friend it can get.
Lisa: OH, the Earth is the BEST! That's why I'm a vegetarian.
Jesse: [unimpressed glance] He, well, that's a start.
Lisa: Er, well, I was thinking of going vegan.
Jesse: [knowing chuckle] I'm a level 5 vegan. I wont eat anything that casts a shadow.
Lisa: Wow...umm... I started an organic compost pile at home.
Jesse Grass: Only at home!? You mean you don't pocket mulch?!
What can we do but praise and honour and worship Him?
I love the ideals of the House of Prayer movement. I ate up Red Moon Rising, and had a fantastic time visiting IHOP last year. When John and Patricia Bootsma returned to Catch The Fire Toronto bringing a House of Prayer with them, I was overjoyed. And I'm going to go out on a limb here, and suggest that the 10 Minute Worship Revolution is to the House of Prayer, as Pocket Mulching is to organic composting at home.
The guiding concept for our House of Prayer at Catch The Fire Toronto, is that He is worthy. Why do we do it at all? Why do we do it on the main stage and not in our chapel? Why spend money on security and lighting and so on? Because Jesus is Worthy. Ezekiel writes of us taking our place as priests, and fulfilling our priestly duty. 1 Peter 2:9 says "you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession." (NLT). In Revelation, John tells us that through Christ's blood we have been made priests and kings! What did the priests of old do, and what do the priests of Heaven do? What can we do but praise and honour and worship Him? If we are truly interested in bringing Heaven to Earth, in proclaiming God's will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven, then we must embrace 24/7 prayer and worship.
An aspect of the prayer movement is the concept of Harp and Bowl (not to be confused with Heart and Bowel which is also important... but not the same). Revelation 5 tells of worshiping the Lamb, each person with a harp (for the purpose of literal music), and a bowl, which stood for the prayers of all believers. Wikipedia can tell you a little bit more, but we're really just talking about the concepts of prayerfully guided worship, Bible-lyric filled song, etc. Just like any similar effort expended in life, all of this will produce a greater longing for, and intimacy with, the object of your desire. Intimacy with our bridegroom has been my song for the last 5 months. My spirit yearns for Christ! And yet John 4 tells us that since God is spirit, we should worship in spirit and in truth. Pause for examination... if God is spirit, should it not be somewhat obvious that we should worship in spirit? To me, that goes without saying. And if even it did need to be said, something like "God is spirit, so worship him in like manner" might be a more logical way to phrase the sentence.
But John stresses the importance of truth - without a clear definition, mind you. I'm no Biblical scholar, but the Spirit of the Lord is within me, as He is within you dear reader, so we are empowered to speak truth and bring light. Thus, I would like to suggest the following, by way of a question:
What is the ultimate truth about God? There are plenty of high and lofty truths we could claim. You could do it systematically by looking at His various names through scripture: provider, healer, sanctifier, our banner, etc. But the name that He chooses to introduce himself to Moses with, and what appears to be the most intrinsically linked to his eternal nature, is the confoundingly simple moniker "I AM". I'm convinced that an important part of God's nature is wound up in the very concept of existence, and by extension, life. I make the argument, therefore, that one possible interpretation of "spirit and in truth" is "in your lives... in your very lives... in your very existence... worship me".
Take that heavy, moist, earthen compost of prayer and worship, and jam that sucker into your pocket.
This is the heart-beat of intimacy that undergirds the 10 Minute Worship concept. "Give me your time. Waste your time on me." Truly the call is no different from what it always has been "Give your life to me", but I think in the 21st Century First World, your "life" is too non-specific. It's like telling your kid he'll be grounded for a year - it's untenable so it loses all relevance and impact. I think the call of "give me your time" is critical for us, because it's specific, it's identifiable, and it's undeniable that most of us waste our lives on garbage. I stopped watching TV 5 years ago and stopped using Facebook 4 months ago, and I cannot think of anything that I would willingly give up to have time to spend on either of those things.
"Jesus replied, 'Believe me, dear woman, the time is coming when it will no longer matter whether you worship the Father on this mountain or in Jerusalem. You Samaritans know very little about the one you worship, while we Jews know all about him, for salvation comes through the Jews. But the time is coming—indeed it’s here now—when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way. For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.' "(John 4:21-24, NLT)
This passage should be the most liberating passage for all of Christendom. It no longer matters whether we worship in Jerusalem or elsewhere!
But we must now worship in spirit, and in truth. A great many have discovered the incredible power of 24/7 prayer; of soaking & contemplative prayer; of active, passionate pursuit of Christ prayer. A harvest of intimacy and miracles is being reaped by Houses of Prayer worldwide.
But it's time to start pocket-mulching. Take that heavy, moist, earthen compost of prayer and worship, and jam that sucker into your pocket. Every 10 minutes:
- Lift up your voice to Him!
- Praise His glorious name!
- Thank Him for what He's done & is doing!
- Open your eyes to the Kingdom of Heaven around you!
- Speak identity and truth over your family and your city!
Every 10 minutes, man! Invest in Him, and He will faithfully invest Himself in you. Give Him your time, give Him your praise, give Him your worship, and make it your lifestyle. Not in Jerusalem, but right here in your life. Let the trees of 24/7 prayer, and of 10 minute worship, be grafted together, for His name's sake. And may we all be tree-huggers! And may all those whom the Father wills be level 5 vegans. And may I not be one of them.