“You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men. And He said to them, “You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to establish your tradition!” – Mark 7:8-9
Jesus, thank You for rebuking leaders who cling to their preferred traditions. Thank You, Lord, for not being neutral about the strongholds in our hearts and churches. We are so helped to realize that You have never endorsed business-as-usual in the Kingdom. It is humbling and hopeful to know that You care so much for the hearts of Your sheep that You are willing to stoutly confront rulers who would dare to allow their preferences and policies to take precedent over Your purposes. We do not wish to lead like the Pharisees did. You rebuked them to their faces for exchanging holy worship of the Father for unholy clutching and clinging to their hollow and legalistic modes of religion. You pointed out the smudges of their fingerprints on things that were meant to remain holy. Is there any of that smudge in my own heart? Amongst the flock that I help lead is there the residue of religion?
Help us, Jesus, to be free from it. Help us be willing to endure being misunderstood by modern Pharisees if that is what is needed in order for us to be free. Help us topple denominational strongholds here in the American church. Help us to be lovingly bold enough to no longer quibble over pet doctrines and generational preferences of worship and ministry. Holy Spirit, please do not give up on local assemblies who do not truly see their need for You. Please forgive all of us for speaking words about You in our theology while rarely stopping to discern whether or not You are actually leading our services. Come in Your power, Holy Spirit! Awaken us from our Kingdom napping and send Your alarm to rouse us. Come, Lord Jesus, with a 21st century version of that whip that You once used to clean out the Father’s house from those practices which dishonored Him. We need You – and today we feel it deeply! Rescue all these local churches from thoughtless routine, vacuous songs, manipulative offerings and sermons that are dead on arrival.
We cannot do church today, Father. We need You to move swiftly and strongly for us. We actually require Your own assistance if there is any hope of feeling Your pleasure in our hearts. Please come today. Your omnipresence is not enough. We cry to You for Your presiding presence. We want to experience You on Your throne.
Please come and topple our trends and our traditions. We want no waxed fruit in picturesque bowls -we want the real thing. Unleash what You have designed for all of us. Speak, O Lord! Move decisively among Your unwitting people. Do not leave us unto ourselves – snap the shackles!
Every. Last. One. Of Them.