Monday, August 16, 2010

Practicing a shout

A week or so ago, I had the privilege of meeting with some twenty or so church planters in the Western suburbs. I was asked to share on the subject of the Primitive Methodists and prayer, both subjects close to my heart.

For the Primitive Methodists, who were also known as “Ranters”, prayer was at the very core of the way they operated. For them, it was not an optional extra, but a central feature of their ministry. For them, prayer was the engine that powered the spaceship. So I took the opportunity to introduce the idea of dynamic prayer as practiced by the Ranters.

Their prayer meetings were passionate, zealous and loud. In these prayer meetings, new converts learned to become energetic workers for Christ. They learned how to wrestle in prayer for people to become Christians. They learned that their faith was more precious than gold. They learned to pray effectively, fervently and with the kind of prayer that prevailed.

There was one more aspect that often featured in a such a dynamic prayer meeting – the practice of a “shout”. The Ranters knew how to give praise to God in a loud voice. So in a quiet little street in the Western suburbs of Melbourne, we worshipped God with a loud shout, for around twenty minutes or more. We sensed the power of the Holy Spirit as we loudly declared God’s praises. It was a profound moment.

Now I am not saying that the power of the Holy Spirit is proportional to the increase in decibels. To be sure, we can experience God in quietness too. What I am doing is introducing a shout as a valid way of praising God.

There are times when a shout is appropriate. And I think it is more appropriate than we think. Indeed the Psalmist wrote “Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth” (Ps 100:1)