As expected, Star Wars Episode 7: The Force Awakens generated a media frenzy, finally picking up the action 3 decades after Return of the Jedi. All the hype didn’t leave fans disappointed as they braved the cold for midnight showings, even viewing the blockbuster multiple times.
For others, it could be the deluge of superhero films being released this year: Deadpool, Batman vs. Superman, Captain America: Civil War, Xmen: Apocalypse, Dr. Strange, etc. I personally can’t wait til Jason Bourne is released 🙂 On the Christian Front, films like God’s Not Dead 2 and events like Winter Jam get people stoked, crowding into arenas and auditoriums. Then there’s the Super Bowl, the Academy Awards, Walking Dead, and free burrito day at Chipotle that arrest people’s attention amidst pandemonium.
Now imagine…if God’s people could just summon up an equal amount of passion about…prayer meetings.
Think on that one for a second.
Watching the news for 10 minutes should be enough to stir the average believer to their knees:
- The continued threats of global terrorism at the hands of ISIS, Boko Haram, Al Qaeda, among others
- The war zone that Chicago has become. As of this past weekend, 677 shootings, 141 resulting in death
- Corruption at all levels: government, universities, sports
- Disease, famine, poverty, human trafficking, wars, crime…
- Immorality, greed, selfishness, pride, godlessness
And for some reason, we think that problems will be solved through the ballot boxes or through inflammatory Facebook statuses. Have we become so enthralled by technology, so softened by our conveniences, and so detached because of our entitlement? Have we forgotten our divine call to PRAY?
“This much is sure in all churches, forgetting party labels; the smallest meeting numerically is the prayer-meeting. If weak in prayer we are weak everywhere.” ~ Leonard Ravenhill
Prayer is our highest individual privilege but it’s also our highest corporate responsibility and mandate. Prayer is not an event. It’s a reflection of our relationship with God and the world…or lack thereof. A Week of Prayer is good. Stations of the Cross are good. The National Day of Prayer is good. But what is it that’s going to bring about the heaven born revival that we talk about, but so sparsely fight for? Healing in our land? Miracles so amazing that would confound the hardest skeptics? Peace among nations? Social ills in our communities being addressed? People being reached and discipled? Healthy growth in our churches? The Word being preached without compromise?
God’s people coming together in consistent, constant, and fervent corporate prayer!
- It brings unity to the Body! “Nothing tends more to cement the hearts of Christians than praying together. Never do they love one another so well as when they witness the outpouring of each other’s hearts in prayer.” ~ Charles Finney
- It invites God’s Presence! “When God’s people praise Him, He brings a big chair and sits there.” ~ (Japanese translation of Psalm 22:3, Dick Eastman)
- It moves God’s Hand! “We must begin to believe that God, in the mystery of prayer, has entrusted us with a force that can move the Heavenly world, and can bring its power down to earth.” ~ Andrew Murray
- It keeps us desperate for God! “Is air important to you? Prayer is like breathing. It brings life to the church. We cannot live without it.” ~ Ludgero Morais — “Since the days of Pentecost, has the whole church ever put aside every other work and waited upon Him for ten days, that the Spirit’s power might be manifested? We give too much attention to method and machinery and resources, and too little to the source of power.” Hudson Taylor
- It puts God’s agenda first! Prayer lays hold of God’s plan and becomes the link between His will and its accomplishment on earth. Amazing things happen, and we are given the privilege of being the channels of the Holy Spirit’s prayer. ~ Elisabeth Elliot
- It sets the stage for the supernatural! “There has never been a spiritual awakening in any country or locality that did not begin in united prayer.” ~ A.T. Pierson
Not to be mistaken for an endorsement, but former First Lady, Hillary Clinton once said, “If you don’t vote, you don’t get to complain.” Similarly, if we don’t pray, do we really have the right to raise our voices in any other way? Do we really, really believe that God alone can bring the solution? Or do we just use Him to back up our skewed perspectives? Who is more to blame: the world for being world, or the Church for not praying?
“To get nations back on their feet, we must first get down on our knees” ~ Billy Graham
“If Bible Christianity is to survive the present world upheaval, we shall need to have a fresh revelation of the greatness and the beauty of Jesus…. He alone can raise our cold hearts to rapture and restore again the art of true worship.” — A.W. Tozer