Thus says the Eternal Lord, “This also I will let the house of Israel ask me to do for them: I will increase their men like a flock. … Then they will know that I am the Eternal.” Ezekiel 36:37–38
The Lord encourages the growth of the kingdom by connecting the success of the Gospel to the prayers of us who are loyal to him. Jesus confirmed Ezekiel’s promise when he told us to plead with the Lord of the Harvest to send workers into the ripened fields. And, using another metaphor, Paul urged us to pray that “the word of the Lord run and be glorified.” We are not left to our own devices in advancing the kingdom. God is so committed to the fulfillment of his purpose, that he promises to answer our requests for help in achieving them. He is so committed to his own success that he tells us exactly what to request. Thus he enlists our enthusiasm and energy, for we all want to play on a team that can’t lose. And, promising answers encourages our worship. When he answers our prayer, we will understand more clearly the extent of his goodness. Only the Creator of the universe, only the Creator of Israel, only the Creator of the Church, can do the regenerating work necessary to turn children of wrath into children of God. When he responds to our request to enlarge the Church, we see more clearly that he is the Source of Life, the Ever-Living One, and the Eternal God. So we worship more deeply than ever.
Eternal Father, strong to save, light the fire of love for your creation in my heart so I fulfill the condition and realize the promise. Amen.
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