Thursday, October 7, 2010

Prayer: Our Secret Weapon

Last week I had discussed the importance of prayer and its power to transform our lives and bring about revival. Incidentally, no revival ever took place that was not ignited first through persistent and heartfelt prayer. This week I wanted to take a look at what prayer accomplishes in the life of the believer.

As I had mentioned last week, prayer is our opportunity to commune directly with God. This relationship was made by possible by the birth, ministry, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Ephesians chapter six tells us that we war against principalities, powers, rulers of the darkness of this world and spiritual wickedness in high places and urges us to put on the whole armor of God daily. The armor has five pieces for defense and the Sword of the Spirit (the Word of God) as our only offensive weapon but I would also suggest that prayer is our secret weapon.

In his profound but little known work, The Weapon of Prayer, E.M. Bounds says, “The most efficient agents in disseminating the knowledge of God, in prosecuting His work upon the earth, and in standing as a breakwater against the billows of evil, have been praying church leaders. God depends upon them, employs them, and blesses them.”

Leonard Ravenhill argues that even Satan “would rather have us increase in Bible knowledge as long as we keep from prayer, which is the exercise of the instruction we have received through the Word. What use is deeper knowledge if we have shallower hearts? What use is greater standing with men if we have less standing with God? … What use is religious piety if we have soul carnality? ... Who can take comfort in social popularity if he is unknown in hell? Prayer takes care of all these spiritual maladjustments.”

I believe that prayer is as vital to the spiritual man as breathing is to the physical man. Prayer is the great divider of those that claim to be spiritual versus those whose hearts beat in unison with the Living God.

Prayer also safeguards us against our two worst enemies – pride and pity. God is always trying to get us to a place where we are balanced right between pride and pity. He wants us to recognize our self worth in Him and boast as the Apostle Paul did in Him alone. But He also wants us to acknowledge our sin before Him with a broken and contrite heart so in our humility He can exalt us.

It is unfeasible to strike this balance without a consistent prayer life. I would also suggest that it is impossible to have a successful prayer life if we are not committed to the Word as it is through God’s Word that we know His mind and are able to have confidence in Him that “if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.”

I think for many Christians our prayer life is lacking because we simply do not believe God. We have lost confidence that our prayers are moving angels into action. Perhaps part of the reason is because God does not allow us to see everything He is doing when we pray. I heard a preacher say once that if he had been Daniel praying for God’s revelation, the answer would have been delayed three years instead of three weeks. That is a very depressing statement, but alas, it may be a reality for many of us.

It is within our power to change. If we are dry spiritually than let us pray for the living water that Jesus promised is ours in Him; if we are feeling like we are just going through the motions of our faith than let us pray for renewed passion; if we no longer witness to others because we are fearful of their reaction than let us pray for boldness. God is still faithful. His chief desire is it to revive His people. He is at the door knocking. Prayer is the key.

To make my weak heart strong and brave,
Send the fire.
To live a dying world to save, send the fire.
Oh, see me on thy altar lay
My life, my all, this very day;
To crown the offering now I pray:
Send the fire!

-F. de L. Booth-Tucker

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