For some time, the Lord has been speaking to me about our future through a few verses of scripture in Judges 1:12-15, with the key phrase being:
“give me also springs of water.”
It is the story of Caleb’s daughter who has been given the dry Land of the Negev as her birthright. But the Land is barren due to its dryness, and she asks her father for a gracious blessing of springs of water to irrigate the whole Land.
This passage came as an answer to prayer for me. My prayer had been, "how do I pray for our churches? How should I pray for this land?" And this was his answer to me: pray, “Give me also springs of water”.
We know the potential of our nation to glorify God. But we also know that the living faith which grew, and spread in and from this nation, has significantly dried up in the past few generations. I believed the Lord was saying, "the Land can be fruitful again but it requires the refreshing flow of my Spirit to revive the church and to revive the nation".
All this is good news but there also came a rebuke as I pondered this passage over months. I began to think of what I had been praying for years. And I think you could describe it like this: “Lord give me a well for my field, give me a well to refresh Denny Baptist Church, give me a well to refresh Leven Baptist Church, give me a well to refresh Dumfries Baptist Church". Then it became "give me a well for the Baptist Union of Scotland". Maybe you have prayed in the same vein. But the Lord had to show me that praying that way was not asking for good gifts. A well is a container of water. Wells get protected by people who have them, restricting access by other people. Wells encourage selfishness, arrogance and pride. Look at how healthy my fields are! Look at what is happening in our fields! A well of water would not have been a good gift.
At Assembly we heard this as a call to prayer in our tri- jubilee year, a time for us to pray for every traditional denomination and every new church in Scotland.
We need to see the whole church irrigated by the move of his Spirit and the whole land of Scotland refreshed. We must not contain our vision of what God might do in this Land to our own fields and our ability to spread water by the bucketload from our well. The nation of Scotland does not need our buckets; it needs streams of water flowing in the north, in the south, in the east, in the west, as well as in the central lands.
My prayer is that our 150th year will be marked by a fresh and generous spirit of prayer amongst us, seeking blessing and refreshment in and from our nation.
Rev Alan Donaldson
Baptist Union of Scotland