Summary: The 2nd in a series of building revival. This concerns importance of persistent prayer - in a life and in a church.
Thank you, Lesley, for addressing us on such an important and Godly topic as prayer. And I thank you for being open enough to the Lord to have Him lay this upon your heart, and then your loving Him enough to act upon it.
Last week, I talked about our need to focus on church growth through revival in the church. I related the strength found in revival to a rope, and suggested that a rope is strong because it is made up of different strands, all woven together.
The strands that make the rope are all different, and some are not as strong as others, yet when the rope is pulled tight and put under a lot of pressure, the strands press against one another, and in effect, they reinforce each other so that all become stronger. Individual Christians and churches alike are all pulled closer to one another and strengthened by each other when we are pulled tight and put under pressure. Throughout history, the most church growth has been seen during times of extreme pressure against Christians and against the Christian church.
Again, the four needed elements, or strands, of revival are:
· Fasting, and
· Entering Communion
Even though I mentioned each of these strands last week, I spoke mainly about the strand of giving. Today, I would like to cover the strand of prayer.
We are all used to the word ‘prayer’, and most of us do pray. But many of us do not really understand prayer. Prayer is simply the most powerful weapon a Christian has; but it is also the least used weapon we have.
Jesus wants His kingdom to grow. The best place to get that continual growth is from within the local church. And, if a church is to grow, it must prepare to grow. This preparation begins with prayer. Persistent prayer is the foundation of all Christian growth, whether it be in the individual or the church.
Fervent and persistent prayer has always been of utmost importance to God’s people.
It talks about the disciples in Acts 1:14;
‘All these were continually united in prayer, along with the women, including Mary, the mother of Jesus, and His brothers.’
They were “continually in prayer”. These men knew the importance of prayer and they devoted themselves to it.
We are reminded in 1 THESSALONIANS 5:17 to –
George Barna is an expert on church administration. Just a couple of years ago, he was in Little Rock, AR., addressing a church leadership seminar. This is what he said.
“The call to prayer was the battle cry of the early congregation: it rallied the troops. These people understood the power of prayer. They actively and consistently included prayer in their services, in their events, their meetings and their personal ministries.”
It is my most fervent hope that 2006 proves to be a year where avid, in-depth prayer finds home in this church; that we come to know the need for prayer and the power found in prayer.
He also said, “culture reinvents itself every 5 to 8 years, while the church reinvents itself ever 35 to 40 years. Therefore the church is at least 75 to 80 years behind culture all the time.”