Often times when people sit down to write a blog post they are careful with their words, crafty with their writing, and hopeful that people may find what they are writing to be interesting. While I understand all of those things and understand not only the humanness in doing that, but also the practicality of it as well. Such carefulness in ones writing is birthed from a heart to serve people through the words one writes, this blog post however, is not going to be one constructed in such a fashion. I am just going to share what I feel the Lord is doing in my heart these days, be very raw about it, and trust that if He would use it to speak to you in any way that He will do so.
I feel a great many things in my heart as I write this. I see many people trying to do great things for the Lord Jesus Christ. Men planting churches…Christians reawakening to the importance of authentic Biblical community…Men and women of God talking about living and being on mission in every aspect of their lives…People reclaiming the FULL Gospel of Faith, Repentance and Forgiveness that has been hijacked by easy-believism, false teachers, and emergent relativism….People wanting justice for those who have been trafficked and fallen prey to sexual oppressors who have victimized and enslaved them…People who not only want to see the naked clothed and the hungry fed but do what they can to make it happen…And yes, even those who try their best to use the world of social media and the internet to impact people’s lives in some small way for eternity. And those who are doing these things right, have centered all of what they are trying to accomplish in the Gospel of Jesus Christ and its proclamation. I know this, because I strive to be one of them.
But with all these things that I see, all of these great things that I see and hear so many trying to do, there is one thing that I am not hearing about. There is one thing that I don’t see our generation put the emphasis on that those who have gone before us had in the past…And that is prayer. People are so busy planning and strategizing to do great things that they often leave very little time to spend in prayer. I too am guilty of this.
However, one of the greatest things I have learned as a Christian, was learning the importance of prayer. In 2008 I spent a few months in Romania and it was by far one of the greatest times for me as a Christian. And while I was there on mission and was involved in hands on ministry every single day that was not why I believe it was one of the greatest times for me spiritually. You see every Monday we would spend 5 to 7 hours in prayer. Sounds crazy right? And I thought and felt the same way about it. But through participating in it, I experienced the power in it and was able to put to death my selfish thoughts of setting aside that much time to pray as not being an effective use of time. We were not just bathing the weeks work ahead of us in prayer because we had no power in ourselves to accomplish anything, but we were spending time with our Lord…Intimacy with the One who created it…with the One who died so He could have it with us. It was through this prayer time that all the other great things that happened during my time there were spawned from. However, upon coming back home I fell back into my American way of doing things, and into old habits of living.
In early 2009 I was compelled to go on a very long and extended fast from food. During this time I again had great times of prayer and intimacy with Jesus. And it catapulted the first half of my year into what was looking like it would be the greatest year of my life. However, in September of that year, there was an event that occurred in my life that caused me to question and doubt the very intimacy I had been experiencing with God. It sent me into the world of question and doubt, making 2009 both the best and worst year of my life.
Since that time I have seen much of the world, have done many great things with the Lord, have had up and down times in my prayer life, have had times of extended fasts and deep times of seeking the Lord. I am passionate about our team spending time in extended prayer and bathing what we do in it. But still, it is not enough. I want more. I need more. I will not compare myself to others who do not see the priority in the prayer closet; who do not see the priority in HOURS spent on our faces in prayer.
I am a big fan of reading about men and women of God from the past…Those whom we would call heroes of the faith. I am very inclined to the lives and likes of the Reformers, The Puritans, Spurgeon, A.W. Tozer, Leonard Ravenhill, David Wilkerson, Amy Carmichael, Jim Elliot and George Whitefield just to name a few. And all of them, without exception, were people of immense and intense prayer.
I very much draw inspiration from reading books that these great people of God before me have written and the stories that are told about them. To be honest, I am a very motivated person and want to live a life of eternal legacy, and I am not ashamed to admit that or say it publicly on a blog. I would hope that any of my brothers and sisters in the Lord would not only encourage me in that, but be encouraged themselves to also desire that for their own lives. However, as I not only read about the power in prayer, but also have experienced it during my time in Romania in 2008 and my greatest times of ministry since then, I know ministry that is truly worthy of eternal legacy only flows out of great intimacy with the Lord Jesus.
I am done with pragmatism over prayer. I am done with preparation over prayer. I am done with methodology without prayer. I am done with people making excuses for lack of corporate prayer. I am done with the “let’s get prayer over with and get to more important stuff” attitude over prayer. I am done with powerless prayer. I am done with intellectualistic faith over prayer. I want to be a man of prayer, and a man who knows my Lord. I love Jesus and know Him, but I want more of Him. I want to grow in my love for the things He Loves and grow in my hatred for the things that He hates (Yes there are things God hates…read your Bible) This takes more than my knowing it because I have learned it to be true from reading my Bible…It takes more than me being made aware of it through experiencing a “touch from His Spirit” at a some random corporate gathering…It takes me knowing it because I know Him, and know Him deeply and intimately. It is only then, when I have grown in my love for Him and who He is, that I may live my life in a way that may be a glimpse of the legacies left by the great saints of the past. You too can pursue a life of eternal legacy, but that can only happen through knowing Him intimately through prayer.
I will just leave this blog post with some food for thought for you regarding prayer from the Word and from those who have gone before us.
“Whom have I in heaven but you? I desire you more than anything on earth. My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever” ~ Psalm 73:25-26
“To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing.” ~ Martin Luther
“As prayer without faith is but a beating of the air, so trust without prayer [is] but a presumptuous bravado. He that promises to give, and bids us trust His promises, commands us to pray, and expects obedience to his commands. He will give, but not without our asking.” ~ Thomas Lye (Puritan Preacher)
“We say we are too busy to pray. But the busier our Lord was, the more He prayed.” ~ The Kneeling Christian
“Prayer is where the action is.” ~ John Wesley
“If I fail to spend two hours in prayer each morning, the devil gets the victory through the day. I have so much business I cannot get on without spending three hours daily in prayer.” ~ Martin Luther
“By our attitude towards prayer we tell God that what was born in the Spirit we can finish in the flesh.” ~ Leonard Ravenhill
“The little estimate we put on prayer is evidence from the little time we give to it.” ~ E.M. Bounds
“I would rather teach one man to pray than ten men to preach.” ~ Charles Spurgeon
“The true church lives and moves and has its being in prayer.” Leonard Ravenhill
“The power of prayer can never be overrated. They who cannot serve God by preaching need not regret. If a man can but pray he can do anything. He who knows how to overcome with God in prayer has Heaven and earth at his disposal.” ~ Charles Spurgeon
“After much prayer, careful study and reliance on the Holy Spirit, I have concluded this about Christ’s intercession for us. Jesus died on the cross to purchase peace with God for me – and He is in heaven now to maintain that peace, for me and in me.” ~ David R. Wilkerson
“Every great movement of God can be traced to a kneeling figure.” ~ D. L. Moody
“I have felt the impact of your prayer in these past weeks. I am certain now that nothing has had a more powerful influence on this life of mine than your prayers.” ~ Jim Elliot
“A man who is intimate with God will never be intimidated by men.” ~ Leonard Ravenhill
“Whole days and WEEKS have I spent prostrate on the ground in silent or vocal prayer.” ~ George Whitefield