Many words, few voices.

As your desire for information increased this week, most likely too did the number of words you consumed. Perhaps two, three or even four times the amount of words that you normally would hear. Words, upon words, compounded by more words.

For many of us, the words we heard made us scramble for safety and stockpile basic goods in the name of scarcity. Smart. Common sense. Important.

But for all the words spoken, did you find comfort? Or complete peace? Did you hear from heaven? Were the ways of God made clear to you? Have you made sense of it all?

You see, there is a shortage felt much more than the current scarcity of basic goods. A rare thing that cannot be easily found, even in times of plenty or peace. And when, in times past, this has been found on the earth, it has, "conquered kingdoms, administered justice, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, quenched the raging of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, gained strength in weakness, became mighty in battle, and put foreign armies to flight."

What is it? It is men and women who speak more than words, they carry a voice.

A voice which is known more before God than before men. A voice that speaks with so great authority we do not question their credentials. It needs not to raise its volume in tenor, nor ramble on in length, to cut to our very core with even a handful of words.

This voice cannot be purchased nor bartered for. It will not be found on a store shelf and no degree or diploma can award it as a well-earned and deserved gift. No, this voice is born only in anguish.

Anguish.

"When Jesus saw her crying, and the Jews who had come with her crying, He was deeply moved [groaned in the spirit] and greatly troubled." John 11:33

Anguish. Groaning.

And just two verses later, "Jesus wept."

Anguish. Groaning. Weeping.

John Knox, the great Scottish Reformer, is known for a single prayer which led him through untold dangers and threats on his life, "Give me Scotland, or I die!"

After his exile from Scotland and upon his return it was said, "John Knox could put more life into his hearers than six hundred trumpets; but he did not palm off glittering generalities and pious cant. If his voice was worth six hundred trumpets, it was because there were six hundred trumpets sounding through his soul.

What was never heard on land or sea and what came down from the kingdom above he heard and gave to the men of the kingdom beneath. He was here on business for his king and knew that, 'the king's business requireth haste." -The Homiletic Review, Volume 67, 1914

A voice worth six hundred trumpets!

So powerful was this voice that even his rival, Mary, Queen of Scots is said to have declared, "I fear the prayer of John Knox more than all the assembled armies of Europe."

Our words so often clamouring, noisy, ineffective - yet here was one whose voice shook a nation and made a queen tremble.

"My speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but with a demonstration of the Spirit's power." 1 Corinthians 2:4

We know these verses and perhaps we've even heard these stories, but do we yet scramble in haste to obtain a voice like this? Are we driven in desperation to get alone with God?

The book, "The Hidden Life of Prayer," by David M'Intyre, contains this story:

"In the days of the Commonwealth, one of the early Quakers, 'a servant of the Lord, but a stranger outwardly,' came into an assembly of serious people who had met for worship. 'After some time of waiting on the Lord in spirit, he had an opportunity to speak. All became silent. He said by way of exhortation, 'Keep the Lord's watch.' These words, being spoken in the power of God had its active influence upon most of the meeting. Some felt great dread and fear upon their spirits...After a little time he spoke again, saying, 'What I say to you, I say to all. Watch.' Then he was silent again a little time, but the whole meeting, being sensible that this man was under some extraordinary spirit and power, were all pondering what manner of teaching this should be.

His was such a voice that most of the hearers had never heard before. It carried such great authority with it that it was unavoidable for them to be subject to the power.'" (Harvey, The Rise of the Quakers, pp.73-74)

We want the authority of this voice, but are we content to be strangers before men?

A voice like this comes with anguish, groaning, burden, sometimes isolation, and always much weeping. "Remembering that night and day for three years I never stopped warning each one of you with tears." Acts 20:31

David Wilkerson poses the question this way, "Whatever happened to anguish in the house of God...Where are the Sunday School teachers that weep over kids they know are not hearing and are going to hell?"

We have many words, but few voices like this. We have crowds who will scramble for safety and stockpile in scarcity, but few who get alone with God and weep in anguish over a lost and dying world.

Jesus rebuked the experts in the law this way, "You have taken away the key to knowledge. You did not enter in yourselves." Luke 11:52

I desire to be a man who prays...

Will you join me in prayer this week? God, help us be those who enter in. Draw us in and speak Your words to us this week. Thank you for Your Son, who allows us to come near. I pray, draw us closer still. Help us to have an even greater fascination with You and a love and passion for Your words above all others. Burden us with anguish, tears, weeping. Show us your heart for a broken and dying world. To You be all the glory, amen.

How can I join you in prayer? Reply to this letter and let me know what you're praying for so I can join with you.

-Derek