Summary: A series on prayer. This is the second message in the series on prayer. It is about the things that secret burden and place of prayer.
The Secret Burden
Luke 11:1 KJV And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.
Matthew 6:6 KJV But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.
I. THE GREATEST DILEMMA OF THE CHURCH -- PRAYERLESSNESS
-The church at large is very anemic. There is life but little of the life-sustaining force that can help us to overcome sin, live in a state of commitment, love our brother, and hunger for revival.
-The church is anemic in the area of prayer. Busyness, carelessness, materialism, and all sorts of other excuses (but no real reasons) flit through our minds as to why that we cannot pray.
-Ultimately the reason for the lack of prayer is spiritual lethargy and laziness.
Leonard Ravenhill (While Revival Tarries, Chapter 2, Prayer Grasps Eternity) No man is greater than his prayer life. The pastor who is not praying is playing; the people who are not praying are straying. The pulpit can be a shop-window to display one’s talents; the prayer closet allows no showing off.
Poverty-stricken as the Church is today in many things, she is most stricken here, in the place of prayer. We have many organizers, but few agonizers; many players and payers, but few pray-ers; many singers, few clingers; many pastors, few wrestlers; many fears, few tears; much fashion, little passion; many interferers, few intercessors; many writers, but few fighters. Failing here, we fail everywhere.
-The crying need of my life and of yours is prayer!
-The following is an account that I received from __________ (a ministers forum) on the internet. While I have never met Brother ____________, some of his past writings have provided to be very beneficial for me:
Christmas was a revival for me... I spent 5 days in ___________. I truly believe it has changed my ministry.
It started when, with the banter of all of the family in and out of the house, I needed to find a place to pray in the mornings. I asked my father in law if he would like to go to his church pastored by __________ in __________, for prayer. I could not get away from the pushing in my spirit to steal away for some time with God. We went.
The Lord opened heaven to me on Saturday morning. It was definitely a bench-mark meeting with God. Sunday as well, and Monday, and Tuesday, and this morning. I am overwhelmed.
How the Lord is dealing with me about prayer. I walked into that church and they had a prayer log book... everyone is encouraged to come to the church some time during the day for prayer. The anointing I felt as I walked into the building was sweet and tangible. No sooner did I get to praying with my father-in-law that many others were there as well. Each time I went it was the same.
On Sunday morning I had the opportunity to pray with all the ministers. The place was thick with God. It was not that they had 24 hour prayer, because they do not, but they simply encourage everyone to pray at the church some time during the day. When the preaching went forth Sunday it was so basic... nothing fancy... and at least 10 people - not churchgoers - ran to the altar. The preacher was not interested in finishing his message.... he started laying on hands and God filled many with the Holy Ghost. The place was prepared by prayer.
Have we become an organization of preachers when we used to be an organization of prayer-ers? Have we fancied up our churches with good messages, meaty dishes, and wonderful thoughts from the Bible... but we have not spent time in prayer?
Is the church the House of Preaching? The House of Evangelism? The House of Youth? The House of Self-Help? Or is it primarily and most importantly THE HOUSE OF PRAYER???
My heart is convicted. Somehow, we must get our people to pray. We must teach them that true revival does not come from methods or certain SPEAKERS OR PREACHERS but it comes from God through prayer!
HAVE WE BEEN TEACHING OUR PEOPLE THAT RESULTS COME FROM PREACHING AND AN ALTAR CALL? OR SHOULD WE BE TEACHING THEM THAT RESULTS COME FROM PRAYER? The enemy has stolen rich, lengthened, powerful, war-raging, hell-dousing prayer from right under our noses! WE ARE NOT PEOPLE OF PRAYER. We have become dependent on our talent, our messages, our flesh, and our evangelism for church growth.
We preach about Azusa...yet we do not pray like Azusa. We preach about the day of Pentecost...but we forget the long hours of prayer it took for that baptism to envelope those people. We preach about revivals of yesteryear... but we do not pray like yesteryear, and wonder why we do not have the revivals of yesteryear.