As well as getting to know the city and meeting people from the church, we have also spent time in prayer and worship here in Thessaloniki, and there is a song written by Worship Central we sung recently called ‘Spirit Break Out’. It’s a passionate song about God’s presence ‘breaking out’ and I love it for two reasons. Firstly because it reminds me of the words in the Lord’s prayer, which I have found myself praying more and more recently, as it is part of the 24-7 Prayer daily rhythm. And I love the song secondly because of its big, gutsy words of bold intercession; asking for God’s kingdom to come, for heaven to come down, for revival. However, I often overlook the second line of the chorus. Not that I don’t sing it of course, but I can ignore the depth of truth that is revealed in it:
‘Break our walls down’.
In my desire for heaven to be revealed here on earth, I miss the fact that I am walking around in the exact same place I am asking God to change, and the effects of the breaking out of the Spirit might well involve my own heart and soul. I find it too easy to separate ‘Spirit break out’ from ‘break [my] walls down’. It’s cool to sing about revival but it becomes uncomfortable when I realise that God wants to change me too. I want to see hungry people fed and cared for across the world but surely it’s not my responsibility? Can’t someone else do that? I may cry out day and night for God to change my nation, but the real change won’t happen until I realise that it starts with myself. I need God to break down my walls of apathy and complacency and to remind me of his character, that he is loving, gracious, and just.
I hope now when I sing that song I will remember that heaven coming to earth begins with me. It means being humble and repentant, and letting God break down the barriers in my heart. It means being generous to those around me. It means seeking justice for people who have been treated unfairly. It means feeding those who are hungry, and giving shelter to those who have none. And these are not just ideas and theories. We are confronted with these issues every day here, and we have to ask ourselves, how will we respond? There are many people begging on the street for food and money, and the homeless sleep in places around the university campus. The gypsy community outside the city live in run-down houses and are dismissed by everyone. Even for those leaving university with a good education, there is little hope of getting a decent job.
So today, once again, my prayer is this:
Our Father, let your kingdom come.
Your Spirit break out, come break our walls down.
Your Spirit break out, heaven come down.