After twenty-four years of following Jesus Christ, I am still amazed by his sovereignty. When he determines to issue a message to his Bride, he sees to it that the message is articulated by the right man at the right time, and that the message reaches all for whom it was intended. Nothing stops him from accomplishing his purposes.
As I shared last week, I have been re-reading the classic little book on prayer entitled, The Kneeling Christian (Zondervan, Grand Rapids: 1971). It was written by an anonymous author “by request, and with much hesitancy” (7) and it was first published in England. Some years later, not long after brothers P. J. and Bernard Zondervan founded the Zondervan Publishing Company, P. J. stumbled across the work as he made a sales call in Seattle, Washington. The bookseller there had been blessed by the book and therefore commended it to Mr. Zondervan who in turn secured the rights to distribute it in the United States.
However, due to the devastating effects of World War II upon England, the publisher was no longer able to print the book and thus Mr. Zondervan secured the rights to print and publish it. Between the years 1945 and 1971, Zondervan executed twenty-four printings and sold over 100,000 copies. This is how a little book by an unknown author came to have such a massive impact on the body of Christ both in England and the United States.
This story is not primarily about an author and his publishers. Rather, it is about a sovereign God and his Bride. When God chooses to speak to his Beloved nothing stops him from doing so, not even a great world war! As Isaiah declares in 55:10-11, “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.”
The message of this little book is as clear as it is profound: learn the joy of secret prayer. It is not a book designed to inform our minds about prayer so much as to inspire the practice of prayer. Therefore, we would best honor the God who issued the decree by joining our author in saying, “Lord, teach us to pray.”
Rejoicing with you in the God who calls us to pray,Pastor Charlie