(courtesy of: http://scripture-for-today.blogspot.com)
“What the Church needs to-day is not more machinery or better, not new organizations or more and novel methods, but men whom the Holy Ghost can use — men of prayer, men mighty in prayer. The Holy Ghost does not flow through methods, but through men. He does not come on machinery, but on men. He does not anoint plans, but men — men of prayer.” – E.M. Bounds
Prayer! So simple, yet so powerful! An unrestrained access to stand before the throne of the Holy King and talk with Him. To come before the Creator of the world and hear Him speak to you. An agreement with the Divine! It’s you and I saying “Father Let your will be done on earth as it is in heaven”. Much different than the laundry list of wishes we would like to have God do in our lives and so much deeper than us bowing our heads before a meal.
When Jesus walked on this earth, His life was so powerful and impactful not because of his Divinity, but because of His Prayer life! He was fully man and fully God (Colossians 2:9), yet His life was filled with so much prayer.
“But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” – Luke 5:16(NIV)
“One day Jesus was praying in a certain place.” – Luke 11:1(NIV)
“Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed” – Mark 1: 35(NIV)
“After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone” – Matthew 14:23(NIV)
“One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God” – Luke 6:12(NIV)
“He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, 42 “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” 43 An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. 44 And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground” – Luke 22:41-44 (NIV)
“During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission” – Hebrews 5:7(NIV)
After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed:
“Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you.”- John 17:1(NIV)
Read John 17 in its entirety, the whole chapter is a powerful prayer! As Corey Russell(IHOP) puts it is God talking to God by God. God the Son, talking to God the Father by God the Holy Spirit!
I hope this shows you that we need to pray, if you didn’t know already! If Jesus prayed this often, shouldn’t we make prayer part of our daily walk as well?! Shouldn’t it be given more thought and time in our church services than just before and after a sermon?! Shouldn’t we free up time in our “busy” schedule to pause, be still and commune with our Father?!
Let’s face it; we do not know how to pray! And if we do, we are often discouraged easily and give up prayer when we don’t hear/see God move immediately. But take a look at Simeon and Anna in Luke 2. They waited for the messiah for a loooong time and they were in constant prayer.
“Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him.” – Luke 2:25 (NIV)
Simeon was devout and was in the Temple when Joseph and Mary brought baby Jesus for his dedication.
“There was also a prophet, Anna, the daughter of Penuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying.” – Luke 2:36-37(NIV)
Although, the text is not clear for how long Anna waited on God in prayer we can estimate the range based on the times & culture. The Greek text suggests that “she was a widow of eighty four years”. It could mean that she was 84 years old, or that she had been a widow for 84 years. Some scholars consider the latter to be the more likely option. On this option she could not have married younger than about age 14, and so she would have been at least 14+7+84 = 105 years old. On the other option she would have been 14+7+63 = 84 years old. So, she potentially was in the temple worshiping God night and day, fasting and praying between 63 to 84 years. Get that? 6 to 8 decades of constant worship & prayer, being in the temple day in and day out?! Whoa! How is that for some perspective?
Have you prayed that long for the salvation of your families, friends, city, and nation? I’m not talking about a prayer you uttered once or maybe for a season when you felt an urgency. I am asking if you were faithful and found at the prayer altar, offering incenses of prayer and worship daily for that long to God. I know I haven’t! (Well I’m not that old yet, so that’s a mathematical impossibility but you get my point :))
“They were also to stand every morning to thank and praise the LORD. They were to do the same in the evening and whenever burnt offerings were presented to the LORD on the Sabbaths, at the New Moon feasts and at the appointed festivals. They were to serve before the LORD regularly in the proper number and in the way prescribed for them.” – 1 chronicles 23:30-31
The pages on this blog will not be enough, if I were to write the entire how, whys and the impact and power of prayer. Many wiser and better versed scholars have authored thousands of books on the topic. One such book that has impacted me immensely is “Secrets of the secret place” by Bob Sorge. Get it! It will wreck you!
However, I would like to share with you what Jesus said when the disciples asked him to teach them how to pray in Matthew 6, Jesus gave them a few key principles for an open heaven!
We’ll continue with those principles in part 2 next week, stay tuned!