7 October 2019
I am a real James Bond fan and know that ‘shaken not stirred’ is the correct way he likes his martini. However, it is ‘shaken and stirred’ that has been buzzing through my mind since our last prayer meeting at Hope.
As we started the new series ‘Acts 29: the Church for Today’ we considered in the prayer meeting how much the Early Church, the Acts 1-28 Church, prayed. It’s there in pretty much every chapter. Peppering the book we see the Word of God spreading and God moving through the miraculous, signs and wonders.
In Acts 4 we read:
“After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.” (Acts 4:31)
They had just had a challenge from the rulers of the time and the believers prayed for boldness (v29), not for protection. They prayed for God to further his kingdom for the sake of others (v30), not for their own sake. Luke, the author, then concludes that part of the narrative with the fact that the place that they had gathered was shaken, there was a filling with the Holy Spirit and they spoke with boldness.
I love how God answers their prayer (v30) for signs and wonders by shaking the building and they left that place stirred up to take the opportunities to be bold in sharing the Good News. The people of Jesus were shaken and stirred. They prayed and encountered God and their lives were different as a result.
Shaken not stirred
As I reflected on this verse I wondered if there are times that we really feel a move of God in our meetings, in our times of praise and worship…as if the place is shaking and the kingdom of heaven is tangibly close, but then afterwards our lives return to normal.
There is a moment, but no lasting stirring of the heart. No lasting moment or movement from that place of encounter.
Segmenting our spiritual lives we jump onto the conveyor belt of life and continue with the 9-to-5. I realised that too often I have been guilty of this. Growing up I wanted at times to be like Bond, but as a follower of Jesus I want to be shaken and stirred, encountering the mightiness of God and having my life stirred irreversibly by his Spirit.
Stirred and shaken
As I continued to pray through these verses and reflections, God led me to re-read the book of Haggai, where we read this:
“So the Lord stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua son of Jozadak, the high priest, and the spirit of the whole remnant of the people.” (Haggai 1:14)
God stirs the spirit of the leaders, the priests and the people. This is to be our prayer as a church. Stir us up God! Stir our spirits. Fill us afresh with your Spirit. Move in your power and enable our hearts to be continuously in line with yours. We pray that we will have a fresh and continued encounter with His Holy Spirit, and through him stirring us we, like the early church as well as his people returning from exile, join him in his kingdom building ministry.
Later in the Haggai (2:6-7) we read God promising his people that He will shake the heavens and the earth, shake all nations and pour out his glory. Shake this place, this country, Lord God, and pour out your glory.
May we and this place be shaken and stirred!