Ronald Dunn wrote, “The Book of Acts is filled with prayer meetings; every forward thrust the first church made was immersed with prayer.
Take another look at the church at Pentecost. They prayed ten days and preached ten minutes and three thousand souls were saved. Today we pray ten minutes and preach ten days and are ecstatic if anyone is saved.” His words, though cutting, are true. I wonder if the barrier between the church today and God-sent revival is not an enemy who wishes to keep us in the darkness of sin, but a neglectful church that does not want to do the hard work of intercessory prayer?
I’m afraid we have become prayer-phobic. We are afraid of what might be required of us if we truly pray. We are afraid of what it might cost us if we are awakened in the middle of the night and are called to pray for a missionary couple in a Muslim country. We are afraid of what it might mean to our comfort zone and our predictable religious experience.
In your life, personally, how have you advanced in prayers in recent days or months? Would you say your prayer life is much the same as it was… or worse than a year ago? We are losing the culture around us, not because we lack churches, or sermons, or Christian music. We are losing the culture around us because we have lost our desire, our focus, our willingness to pray.
In an old booklet entitled “The Warfare of Prayer,” Brother Andrew wrote “God invites us to influence our community, our nation, and the world…to literally impact history while we’re on our knees.” I wonder, sometimes, if we truly believe we can do that. Often our prayers become automatic, rote statements of things we may or may not believe. They become “vain repetitions,” according to Jesus, that really don’t reach the heart of God. I have often said if our prayer life bores us, it probably bores God too!
I wonder what would happen in a community…in OUR community….if one church woke up to the potential, the power, the possibility of prayer?
How would life around us change… homes would be healed, children delivered from abuse, families reconciled, crime reduced, the lost saved… as darkness is pushed back by the prayers of God’s people?
“Every forward thrust the first church made was accompanied by a movement of prayer.” And why would we not believe the same is possible…
“The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” (James 5:16b)
FOR REFLECTION: How could your prayers today bring change in the community and culture around you? What are you asking God to do toward that end?