Headlines this morning state “At least 45 killed in Damascus suburb bombings, ISIS claims responsibility…” This is becoming a daily occurrence as ISIS, Al-Qaeda, Boko Haram, and other terrorist organizations wreak havoc across the globe.
And like clockwork, our reactionary, John Wayne nature rises up, wanting the CIA wet teams and Black Ops, Navy Seals, Green Berets, Mossad, MI6, etc. to blow them back into the Stone Age. Definitely the typical backlash of fear and self-preservation. But not for those who pledge allegiance to Christ who died for…ALL…and also gave us instruction on how to deal with danger.
The past few days, I’ve been praying in a chapel at the Catholic Church I attended while growing up. Interestingly, they have had a sacred space reserved for 24/7 prayer, spanning 18 years of virtually uninterrupted intercession and adoration of our Lord. A few years ago, they passed their millionth hour of prayer!
Now, my evangelical friends will question the validity of these prayers: laced with religion, errant doctrine, idolatry, who are they actually praying to…blah blah blah. While I definitely feel that God is being honored there, what are the critics doing to foster consistent, constant prayer, and to worship Almighty God and combat the ills of society?
This I know, God has given us the incredible but misunderstood and under-utilized gift of prayer. The 1st Century Church lived and breathed intimacy with God. That’s all they had, not the oversaturated Christian subculture we’re accustomed to.
In Acts 4, Peter and John return to the church to report what happened before the Sanhedrin and the possible dangers to come, “all the believers lifted their voices together in prayer to God” (v. 24). They didn’t cower in fear, but asked God
- for “great boldness in preaching”
- that He would act with “healing power, miraculous signs and wonders” be done to glorify Christ
The result? “They preached the word of God with boldness. All the believers were united in heart and mind.”
Scottish Bible College Director, Rees Howells, understood the need to mobilize God’s people in fervent prayer: “The world became our parish and we were led to be responsible to intercede for countries and nations.” There is not enough room here to depict the historical events that were altered by this band of believers lifting their voices up to heaven. They gathered, the Holy Spirit directed, and God intervened, even in the most specific of battles.
Mind you, these weren’t just requests in a bulletin or a line item at a weekly gathering. It was disruptive to their schedules, it was fervent, it was prevailing prayer. They were determined to see their world changed and were willing to seek God until.
So, ISIS? Let’s Pray
- That they would all have a mighty encounter with Christ and follow Him.
- For disruption, disunity, and dissension in their ranks and communication.
- That their efforts would result in failure: that bombs wouldn’t detonate, that weapons would misfire, timing would be off, etc.
- That they would be brought to justice but treated fairly.
- For physical, emotional, and spiritual healing for their victims.
People are in awe over a cloud that appeared over Portugal resembling the “Hand of God.” We freak out over natural occurrences but take for granted supernatural ones. If we could peer into the spiritual realm, we would see God’s Hand moving perpetually on behalf of His people.
Oversimplifying a global threat? I don’t think so when it comes to inviting the Creator of the world to come and take over, even in our lives.
RESOURCE: Rees Howells: Intercessor by Norman Grubb.