Over the past few months, there has been a consistent theme that has continued to resonate in my heart: the need for prayer. Now, I'm not saying we do not pray at all. Of course we do. However, the Lord has revealed in my own life the lack of commitment to pray. Yes, of course I pray everyday, and especially when there is a crisis. However, God is calling me to a deeper level of commitment to pray. As I've listened to His voice regarding prayer, He's shown me that this is a nationwide problem among His people.
This is how prayer usually looks in churches in America: We pray a few minutes before we have a bible study or meeting so that God will bless what we're doing. We pray for God to bless our food. We pray for God to bless our day and help us. We pray for God to bless the tithes and offering. We put together a prayer team(people committed to pray) in order to pray through issues for an event that we may be hosting, we have prayer chains where people submit prayer requests and a few people read and pray through them. We plan, organize, strategize, evangelize, preach, teach, and then we "bathe" everything in prayer. It sounds good in theory, but the reality is: prayer is not a priority. How do I know? Plan a prayer meeting and see how many show up.
Please don't get me wrong. None of the things mentioned above are wrong. They are all good things. I just believe God wants to move us beyond our dependence on technology, finances, our natural talents and abilities. He wants to move us beyond our good ideas, and strategies. He wants to move us beyond good methods. He wants us to join Him in His work, and He wants to reveal the Greatness of His Glory to us and through us. The fact is: inspite of all of the good ideas, methods, technology and money, families are falling apart. Marriages are being torn apart. Children who've grown up in homes committed to the Lord, are walking away in total rebellion. Our nation is a wreck and the church is divided.
I know that I sound like the bearer of bad news. I know that ALL isn't bad. God is moving and that is so exciting.
I'm praying that as you read this, the Spirit will bring to your mind the many families, who are struggling right now. I pray that the Spirit will open your eyes to the Spiritual Battle going on all around you, and even in your own home. Make no mistake. We're in a battle! And battles require weapons--not cool brochures, programs, talented speakers, statistical data--weapons! I hope I sound like an alarmist, because my hope is to wake you from your slumber, your comfortable stance. If we really saw the battle that is raging, we would know that our only hope is to get on our knees in order to call on the God who will fight our battles. The battle that rages in America is a subtle one, but no less urgent than it is in any other place in the world.
The schemes of the enemy in America look so different here than it does in communist China and Korea, in Muslim countries, or in other places where the enemy's attacks are upfront and overt. There is no mistaking the enemy in many places in the world. Christians recognize the enemy's attacks right away, and they get on their knees to call on the God of heaven. He is their only source of hope. Here in America, the enemy is so sophisticated. He sneaks in so subtly, and by the time we realize he's there, everything has blown to pieces. Of course we don't recognize it because when we start seeing the problems, we try to fix it on our own. I'm so guilty of this. I run out and get a book that will fix the problem or go to a workshop. I get on the internet to research the problem or go to the doctor so he or she can "fix" it. I talk to friends who have similar problems. Of course, the problem keeps growing and of course I keep trying to fix it. (Sometimes I try to hide the problem, which is just as bad) Then I get busy doing "stuff" and forget about the problem for a while. And finally I get to a place of desperation where I have run out of resources. That's often the time when I desperately call out to God.
I'm not suggesting that we stop doing everything else, and only pray. (Although that might not be a bad idea for a short season.) I am suggesting that we seek the face of God and that we make that our main priority. If we accomplish less of our to do list and pray more, I believe we will be more effective. Why? But it is God who causes us to bear much fruit, not our ideas, etc. Also, I believe we will be more in tune to the voice of the Lord. He will show us what He desires us to do. We'll be joining His work, rather than asking Him to join us in our work. (Makes a big difference)
If God's people make praying and worshiping God the priority over EVERY other activity, I believe we are going to see God do some amazing things in America. My prayer is that prayer meetings will be "standing room only". If we have time to go to another Biblestudy, meeting or training, why don't we have time to pray along with other members of the body? My prayer is that families will regularly pray together. We will begin to see the ONENESS that Jesus prayed for His body. (That is a miracle that my heart longs to see.) We will see more of His beauty and power in our lives. We will be filled with His power, to do His work like we've never experienced before. And many will be come to know this God that we love and serve with our whole hearts. It is His Spirit that woos people to Himself. I'm so thankful that God doesn't require me to have elegant or convincing words so that people will come to Himself.
A Case Study: The early church
AC 2:42 They(the 3000 new believers) devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.
 Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles.  All the believers were together and had everything in common.  Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need.  Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts,  praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
Bow before the throne of Heaven. Enter into His presence with thanksgiving and praise. Call out His name. Marvel in His Holiness. Bathe in His love. Breathe in His sweetness. Thank Him for all He has done and all that He is. Seek His forgiveness. Allow Him to cleanse you and draw you closer to Himself. Quietly listen. Listen. Wait. Wait. Let the Spirit Speak to you. Let Him show you how to pray. Lay aside your agenda. Surrender. Humble yourself before Him. Thank Him. Lay your requests before His throne and walk away lighter, fresher, empowered, fully satisfied and ready to do His will.
Holy Spirit show us how to live a life in continual communion with you. Teach us how to pray. Open our eyes that we may see that it is urgent to pursue you. We desperately need you-- more than we realize or than we are willing to admit. Our families are at stake. Give us a willing heart to give up something we hold dear in order to pursue you. Holy Spirit reveal the truth. Amen
COL 4:2 Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.