Making known God’s manifold wisdom

Our director of prayer mobilization was honored to be one of about 50 leaders from around the world who gathered in Cape Town for a global prayer summit. The goals were to seek the Lord to hear from Him corporately, develop stronger relationships between globally focused prayer leaders and ministries, and develop and build into common visionary prayer mobilization for the nations. Here is part of her report:

Original art by Vincent Lee
Original art by Vincent Lee. Photo not the best…

My friend (and Borderless guy) Vincent is an artist. In this piece, he combined beautiful elements from two different art traditions — Chinese calligraphy and European stained glass — to express universal truth, that the Creator has blessed us with righteousness through Christ.

For me, Vincent’s artwork points to what God is doing according to Ephesians 3:10 — “so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places” (ESV). The “manifold wisdom of God” is described by other translations as multi-faceted, having rich variety and in many forms.

God is an artist too and His masterpiece will feature the Church, beautifully bringing together people from all the cultures and traditions around the world into one family to express His manifold wisdom, really Himself, to all of creation, seen and unseen. To see the restored image of God reflected in a rich variety of forms will be utterly amazing.

The prayer summit showed glimpses of the Artist at work, putting His family together  — celebrating Passover with people from various countries, including Egypt; hearing South African brothers and sisters, Rainbow Nation, declare Psalm 24 together; standing to form an arrow from Cape Town to the world and proclaiming John 14:6 as one voice.

The prayer summit also showed through the challenges we faced in Cape Town that this work-in-progress really is something that only God can do. It’s not easy to get such a big, diverse family into the same room, much less to agree to do something together. We have not been made perfect yet and sometimes it is painfully obvious. But — praise the Lord — God’s grace is bigger than us as individuals and even all of us put together.

If we want to see the global Church united in seeking the Father’s face, I think we need to listen together more on a smaller scale. (I’m assuming here that we are already listening to God as individuals and that we have some idea of how to listen to God in groups such as our families and local churches. A huge assumption.) If we don’t, we are both rejecting the wisdom that God displays in others and withholding the wisdom God displays in us.

So find a brother or sister (or a group of brothers and sisters) who is different from you — perhaps by church tradition, prayer tradition, cultural background, geography and/or language. Get to know him or her (or them) better as you pray together from time to time. Ask God what He wants to tell you, plural.

Then we will see more of God’s gorgeous bigger picture. And so will everyone else.

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