Anglican Morning Devotion for 2 March 2022 Anno Domini
a ministry of the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
“And he arose, and did eat and drink, and went in the strength of that meat forty days and forty nights unto Horeb the mount of God. 9And he came thither unto a cave, and lodged there; and, behold, the word of the LORD came to him, and he said unto him, What doest thou here, Elijah? 10And he said, I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: for the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away. 11And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD. And, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the LORD was not in the earthquake: 12And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.” (1 Kings 19:7-12; all scripture quoted is from the King James Version)
The mysteries of life itself have altogether escaped our most advanced scientific arts. Even if we could construct a single gnat, we would be helpless to make it live. The spark of life, and its origin, escapes the feeble works of man. Life comes from God alone, the Creator and Sustainer of life and the Author of every principle of Natural Law.
Several years ago, I attended a Church seminar in Tucson, Arizona, and was amazed at a Nurse Practitioner who attended many terminal patients. She said that the last sense that usually is lost at the moment of death is the sense of hearing. It is almost as if the Creator leaves the door open to hearing the Gospel until the very last moment. I have confirmed this point with other medical personnel. In another fairly recent medical study, I have learned that the traditional approach to declaring the moment of death may not be accurate. It seems that brain waves can be detected up to fifteen minutes after a patient is pronounced dead when the heart stops beating.*
The sense of hearing is a vitally important feature in the propagation of the Gospel: “How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? 15And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!” (Romans 10:14-15)
God does not usually speak in thunderous tones, but in a small, still voice, or even in silent Spirit. Like the deep of the ocean seas, there is a deep in the soul of man that can only be filled by a loving Father: “Deep calleth unto deep at the noise of thy waterspouts: all thy waves and thy billows are gone over me. 8Yet the LORD will command his lovingkindness in the daytime, and in the night his song shall be with me, and my prayer unto the God of my life.” (Psalms 42:7-8)
Would we hear the soft and whispering voice of the Lord, it will not be heard in the noise of the madding crowd, or the downtrodden alleys of commerce. It will be best heard in the closet of the heart even if on the fiery battlefield. Hearing the Voice of God may not be heard in prayer unless the petitioner’s heart is stayed on God. In prayer we must focus on God – not just in our asking, but in His answering. Communication is a two-way path. Too often we leave our laundry list of wants at the Throne of Mercy without politely waiting for a response from the King of Glory. The Spirit knows every nook and cranny of our hearts. He knows our needs, our failures, our weaknesses, and He knows the status of our spiritual standing with God the Father. The Spirit communicates with our spirit much like the Underground River communicates life to the distant pasturelands.
Perhaps we would be wise to remind ourselves of the simple counsel of the Lord on prayer:
“And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. 6But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. 7But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. 8Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.” (Matthew 6:5-8)
*Norton et al, 2017. Electroencephalographic Recordings During Withdrawal of Life-Sustaining Therapy Until 30 Minutes After Declaration of Death. Can J Neurol Sci. 44(2):139-145. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28231862