The ‘call to prayer’ resonated from the local mosque. It was 6.12pm on my watch as I watched with interest as the locals, without question, query or comment, unravelled their prayer-mats and, looking eastward, prostrated themselves. I was impressed by their devotion. Then the Spirit of God quietly whispered to me: Whilst the sailors called upon their gods, Jonah slept! The thought came like an arrow piercing my heart. The storm raged, it should have been Jonah praying, calling upon his God, but the man of God was asleep.
Is it not strange that there are people ‘in the world’ concerned enough to pray, and the church is not? Often, understanding something of ‘the need’ around them, the world outside calls upon God, and we are either not aware of the need, or choose to ignore it!
General Douglas MacArthur used to say that there are no atheists in fox holes. Many times the world gets alarmed while the church sleeps. Though many of us would deny we are asleep.
I fell asleep last evening, listening to Handel. I didn’t know that I was asleep until I awoke and, glancing at my watch, realized that an hour had passed-by I couldn’t account for. Whilst we sleep, we don’t know we sleep. The storm rages, the world prays, the church sleeps; and we don’t know it! No wonder the Apostle Paul felt compelled to write the 1st century church in Ephesus, saying:
“… it is light that makes everything visible. This is why it is said: “Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days of evil.” (Ephesians 5:14—16)
I find it interesting—Jonah was awakened by the ship’s captain. (Jonah 1:6)
I wonder if it is going to be the world that will be the source of our awakening? God knows, something or someone must do it!