Take a look through history and you will see that great moments in the church started with great moments in prayer. Without fail the moments in our past that were highlighted with the move of God were fueled by men and women who had incredible prayer lives.
It is no secret one of my heroes of faith is E.M. Bounds who was relatively unknown in his own time. He lived in the south during the Civil War and was captured twice as a prisoner of war. Following the war he spent the rest of his life in service to the church. It is his life of prayer that pulls me to read his works and always walk away challenged to be a better man. For to him prayer was a natural as breathing air.
(Who wouldn’t like Bounds? Look at that awesome beard!)
The prayers of God’s saints are the capital stock in heaven by which Christ carries on His great work upon the earth. Great throes and mighty convulsions in the world have come about as a result of these prayers. The earth is changed, revolutionized; angels move on more powerful, more rapid wings; and God’s policy is shaped when the prayers of His people are more numerous and more efficient. -E.M. Bounds, The Force that Shapes the World
Isn’t it the case that we mostly pray out of obligation rather than joy? We pray religiously over our food, the kids at night and definitely don’t forget the offering on Sunday (glad I didn’t forget that one). When was the last time you were driven into intimate prayer just…. well just because. Because you wanted to dine with Him, because you just wanted to know Him better or because you want to see Him move in great revival. And boy do we need revival.
Dr. A.T. Pierson once said, “There has never been a spiritual awakening in any country or locality that did not begin in united prayer.” (more on that next time)
God shapes the world by prayer. The more praying there is in the world, the better the world will be and mightier the forces against evil everywhere. Prayer, in one phase of its operation, is a disinfectant and a preventive. It purifies the air; it destroys the contagion of evil. -E.M. Bounds, The Force that Shapes the World
While in college I spent a summer serving a church in North Carolina. I don’t remember much about that summer, but one thing sticks close in my mind still. I would walk into the pastors cramped, dated and overly-stuffed office always noticing one thing. Right behind his desk stuck to one of the dusty shelves was a hand made sign that simply read…
PRAYER CHANGES THINGS
As simple as that sounds it impacted me deeply. I do know that the Lord has used that simple sign to confirm in me what is most important in this treacherous journey of faith. It is my constant intimacy with God in prayer that will in affect create the greatest moments of my life. And if I believe that prayer makes history, my intimacy with God will in affect create the greatest moments in the lives of others as well.