The call to Prayer.
There are things that won’t happen until we pray; and there are other things that don’t happen because we pray.
Just before Christmas 2017 in Sheffield, the Police and intelligence services averted terrorist activity that might have resulted in huge loss of life. On hearing the news I was immediately reminded that at the recent prayer day at our church some weeks before, a number of people had felt to pray for a protection over our city and for revelation and understanding for the intelligence services; that any plan set against the city would come to light.
As the people of God we have a responsibility in our city. We may not all get up in the morning and wear smart suits and operate from human positions of power; but in reality in the spiritual realm we all have the ability to walk in significant levels of power and authority.
Prayer is an engine room, not an add-on
This last weekend a friend of ours Aaron visited and spoke to our church. Formerly a drug dealer and part of a criminal gang, Aaron has had a dramatic conversion and is since leading many men with a similar background to faith in Jesus Christ. Being around Aaron is fun. The church he now leads is in revival. It’s simple – there is a level of kingdom power and authority in Aaron’s life.
Interestingly, Aaron and the men around him pray. They seem to pray all the time. Aaron really challenged our Deeper ministry school “You have to get it guys: Prayer is the engine room of your mission, don’t engage in a whole load of activity for God if it is not from the place of prayer.”
It was interesting chatting with Aaron because in his former life he had learnt to fight to get anywhere, and to defend himself using fists and weapons. He had a battle mentality and a gang member commitment. Today his battles are fought in the spiritual realm and Christ’s body the church is the gang he’d give his life for.
The battle you and I find ourselves in the middle of is very real; but commitment to the cause may be being challenged.
Hunger not Slumber
“I am awakening a Praying People” – Holy Spirit spoke to me in the middle of the night this week and as I look around me I see this call to prayer in others’ lives becoming real and tangible. This is very exciting.
We are all a “hungry” people – appetite is in our DNA since birth. The question is: what feeds us?
It is not a question of who is spiritually hungry and who is not. Spiritual hunger is a choice; it doesn’t just “happen” – sometimes it grows like a gift but if it is to be sustained over time it must be cultivated. We are all a “hungry” people – appetite is in our DNA since birth. The question is: what feeds us? Through the age-old holy habits such as solitude, scripture, fasting – our spiritual hunger grows. We learn to wake up and channel our hunger for God.
This is huge for us because most disciples don’t want to be spiritually “asleep”. But many have become dulled by the huge amount of distraction in our lives. Busyness is the greatest enemy to your spiritual life.
The good news is that hunger can be infectious – in fact it often is! Hang out with those on-fire for God and you will find it difficult to remain unchanged.
Waking up and getting specific
“What would you like me to do for you?” Jesus asked blind Bartimaus; the man answered and God responded. (Mark 10:46-52)
He would say the same to you today. There is something about getting specific and articulating our prayers out loud. How can you pray for your spouse, your child, your colleague, your neighbour, your city today?
How can you pray for the church? Heaven has a beautiful plan for our church – it is unfolding all the time. It far exceeds our expectations. No-one could have strategised for some of the things we have witnessed. But prayer and seeing God’s ways become reality is a partnership, and there is a call to faithfulness – will you play your part?
Do we pray to God?
You would presume so, but maybe not. The scripture tells us that Jesus Christ ever lives to make intercession for us. It also tells us Holy Spirit groans in prayer for us.
WOW! That revelation should WAKE US UP!
Two members of the Godhead pray for YOU all the time. So maybe we need to put down the idea of coming before God with a list of what we think or would like Him to do for us, and instead join in with our part in the prayers prayed through the Trinity.
Learning to pray with God rather than to God changes everything.
We are learning to pray from Him, in Him, through Him, to Him.
Worship really helps us to pray like this.
In 1 Thessalonians 5:6 we read: “So be on your guard, not asleep like the others. Stay alert and be clear headed.”
“Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus” v16-18
So basically a prayer life is a worship sandwich. We praise, we pray, we give thanks.
And through this we learn to listen and to partner in prayer.
This is a time for hunger, not slumber.