Building People of Substance for Works of Power
OK, Friend, let’s do this!
Many years ago, in my desperation to stop drinking, I stumbled into a 12 Step meeting. At the end of the discussion, we all stood, held hands, and recited the Lord’s Prayer. Though I had not been in church for a very long time, it came pouring out of me with no effort at all. It was a moving moment: the sense of camaraderie, the unifying hope, and the realization that I was acknowledging the existence of a God I had left behind, all seemed comforting. After a few weeks, however, I found that this recitation became less and less significant. It became easy just to go through the motions while thinking about what I was going to do after the meeting, what had happened that day at work, or whether hamburger was on sale at the market. It had become ritual.
Matthew 6:7 warns us not to “use vain repetitions” when we pray. To do so is to be like the heathen. Our prayers are not rituals. They are so much more than that. James says that we have the same capacity for world-changing prayer that Elijah had, and that the prayer of the righteous “makes tremendous power available [dynamic in its working].” (James 5:16b) Our prayers are supposed to make the power of God available to impact the lives of broken humanity. It is supernatural, not ritual. Our gatherings are not just programs or performances, they are points of outbreak for the power of God. If they are not, then why not. What must we change to see power available?
1. Believe that you are righteous, and that your heart-felt, passionate prayer actually does something. How would your prayer life change if you really thought the Father was listening to you as He does Jesus? He is! John 16:23-28
2. Decide whether you want power or comfortable predictability. Jesus’s meetings sent them home astonished and saying, “we have seen strange things today.” Do you want that? Luke 5:26 / Mark 1:22.
3. Take responsibility for praying the power into your service. When your service is dull and powerless, don’t blame the preacher, the musicians, the cranky kids, or the lighting technician. You are responsible. Pray.
Somebody Said: Every mighty move of the Spirit of God has had its source in the prayer chamber.” – E.M. Bounds
Scripture Reading: Then you can make your requests directly to him in relation to this life I’ve revealed to you. I won’t continue making requests of the Father on your behalf. I won’t need to. Because you’ve gone out on a limb, committed yourselves to love and trust in me, believing I came directly from the Father, the Father loves you directly. (John 16:26-27 MSG)
God wants to move supernaturally in every service. He has, however, established a mechanism by which His power is made available. Part of that system is the heartfelt prayer of the saints. The sad truth is that most of the saints don’t want the power of God int heir services. They want to observe church, not be part of it. They want it to be predictable and mildly uplifting, not volatile and wildly convicting. They want it to be practical, helping them to succeed in the world, not ethereal, challenging them to come out of the world. They want to be able to invite their friends and business associates without fear of embarrassment, for their motives are carnal, not spiritual. Here’s the question: If you really believed that your prayers would make the power of God available for every service, would you pray?
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