I hear your voice, I hear it piercing through the night. I feel your heart, I feel the beating of your heart. It was a whisper. But it got louder. Now, it’s clearer. You said, ‘Come away to my secret place I want to spend some time with you. Come away to my dwelling place I want to pour my love on you.’
1 Chronicles 4:9
Jabez was more honorable than his brothers; and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, “Because I bore him in pain.”
Exactly 10 years ago, today, I bumped into a missionary at the San Francisco Airport. He had just arrived back to the States from his first two years of work in various parts of West Africa. He was excited to find out that I was born and raised in that part of the world. So, we sat down for a little chat about his travels and ministry.
After reminiscing for about an hour, he said these words to me.
“I have profound respect for African Pastors. Their dedication, consecration, and sacrifice speak volumes to me. But there is something else that I have been privileged to witness first hand in the last two-year. Something that has completely changed my life and ministry.” I interjected with an inquisitive – what? With teary eyes, he said, “Their prayer lives. They carry a certain level of presence.”
As I nodded in agreement with him, he reached out and grabbed me by the hand, looked me in the eyes and said, “they are men of weight. Are you a man of weight? America needs men of weight.”
That encounter challenged me and reminded me of Jabez. Jabez was a man of weight. In 1 Chronicles 4:9 the Bible uses the word ‘honorable’ to describe him. The root definition of the word carries the idea of weight. Men and women of prayer and consecration carry with them the weight of God’s glory.
- A man/ woman of weight is a man/woman of character
- A man/woman of influence is a man/woman of prayer
Now, I don’t think the missionary was saying that all African Pastors are men/women of character and prayer. Neither do I think he was trying to throw shade on western or American pastors either. As the missionary does, I too know a lot of American Pastors who are men/women of weight.
I think he was trying to make two points. One of laziness on the part of many Christians and the other of effectiveness in calling and ministry. Corrie Ten Boom asked, “Is prayer your steering wheel or your spare tire?” If the only time you pray is when you have a flat tire but neglect your consecration, your prayer life needs an awakening.
On the other hand, E. M. Bounds said, “Nothing is well done without prayer for the simple reason that it leaves God out of the account. Everybody wants to improve ministry, gift, and calling, but nobody wants to improve their prayer life. Improve your prayer life, and everything else will grow.
Beth Moore said, “There are parts of our calling, works of the Holy Spirit, and defeats of the darkness that will come no other way than through furious, fervent, faith-filled, unceasing prayer.”
How much do you desire to grow in your relationship with God? How effective do you want to be in your ministry? If you’re going to grow and be effective, you must become a man/woman of weight. It all starts with an invitation. Can you hear His voice? Can you hear the beating of His heart? He is calling you away. He wants to spend time with you. He wants to pour His love on you. What are you going to do?