Recently while looking for worship music on YouTube, I came across an old song that captured my spirit so intensely that I have been drawn to listen to it every morning, using it as a platform for my prayer time.
The song, “Sanctuary, Lord Prepare Me” has been a magnet inviting me to think about what it means to be a sanctuary. By definition, a sanctuary is a holy place devoted to God; a temple, an earthly sanctuary, an emblem of heaven. These twenty-one words woven together in two simple sentences, repeated again and again, drew me in.
“Lord prepare me to be a sanctuary, pure and holy, tried and true. With Thanksgiving I’ll be a living sacrifice for You.”
Imagine for a moment having Jesus so fully alive within you that onlookers would be attracted to that something different about you. To fellow Christians, they would identify Jesus reflected in and through you. To nonbelievers, a desire to have what you have would be stirred up.
In John 17:21 Jesus says “That they all may be one; as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be one in us”.
Isn’t this how Jesus invites us to live? How do we become a sanctuary? How do we position ourselves to love God so intimately that He is fully alive in us?
In part, I believe it is a question about focus. So what do we focus on right now, during this pandemic? Is it the uncertainty about the future that possesses our thinking, wondering what the new norm will be? How will we do ministry? Does fear about our financial future capture our waking moments and cause sleepless nights? Or, do we find ourselves praising and thanking God in all things? I ask myself regularly, am I trusting the Lord with a joyful heart knowing that it is through a thankful heart that my eyes are drawn to Jesus in trust and surrender.
Thanking Him doesn’t mean that we are happy or rejoicing in our current reality. It simply means that we are acknowledging that our God is in control and He promises as in Roman 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”
1Thess 5:18 says: “give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
Ephesians 5:20: “Always giving thanks to God the Father for everything” (NIV).
I understand the world looks different and the new norm is an uncomfortable place for many of us to live. Yet in the midst of this, there is an invitation to give thanks and, through that giving thanks, learn to trust. Embracing the challenge that Paul has put before us, I believe, will facilitate us becoming a sanctuary for the Lord. I pray that you will embrace thanksgiving and invite the living God to make you His sanctuary. We may not be able to see each other but we can worship as one body.
God Bless you
National Director, Connecting Streams