The Praying Church: What If...
- Sunday, January 08, 2012
Two Take-Home Truths
Let me summarize the teaching this way:
1. No one ever outgrows the need for prayer.
Most of us find it hard to say “Pray for me” because that seems like a sign of weakness. And it is! But that’s why we need prayer in the first place. If we were strong, we could do it all ourselves. Here is the real truth about you and me . . .
We aren’t that strong.
We aren’t that smart.
We aren’t that clever.
We aren’t that wise.
We aren’t that brave.
That’s why we need others to pray for us. No one is so strong that he is beyond the need of prayer. No one is so rich in blessings that he does not need someone to pray for him. As the old spiritual says, “It’s me, it’s me, O Lord, standing in the need of prayer.” Sometimes we do not ask for prayer because we are overly concerned about our image. Our pride keeps us silent even in desperate moments. We want to keep up the image that we are in control, that we can handle our problems, that we are self-sufficient. After all, if people hear us asking for prayer, what will they think?
If they love us, they will think we need some prayer, and they will pray for us.
Sometimes we do not ask for prayer because we are overly concerned about our image.
Who is the greatest Christian of all time? I nominate the Apostle Paul. Who knew the gospel better? No one. Who preached it more fearlessly? No one. Yet he wanted the Ephesians to pray for him. Was Paul a failure? Not at all. He wrote a great part of the New Testament and opened Europe to the gospel. Yet he wasn’t afraid to admit his need. It is a mark of the right kind of humility when someone says, “Pray for me.”
2. No one ever outgrows the need to pray for others.
Someone you know needs your prayers right now. In the army of the Lord, every soldier needs help. Someone needs hope, someone needs patience, someone needs courage, someone needs love, someone needs determination, someone needs insight, someone needs strength, and someone needs guidance.
Someone will be wounded unless you pray.
Someone will give up unless you pray.
Someone will be deceived unless you pray.
Someone will yield to temptation unless you pray.
Someone will make a foolish choice unless you pray.
Someone will grow faint unless you pray.
Someone will collapse under the load unless you pray.
Someone will go AWOL unless you pray.
There is always more than enough to pray about if only we would open our eyes and look around.
So let me return to the question I posed earlier. What would happen in our churches if everyone in the congregation was prayed for every day? What would it do for our worship? Our outreach? Our relationships? Our faith? Our vision for the future? Our leadership?
There is always more than enough to pray about if only we would open our eyes and look around. If we all started praying for each other every day, we wouldn’t be the same, would we?
I wonder if it could ever happen. I’m not thinking about another organization or some big program or another meeting to attend or reports to fill out. Those things are well and good and have their place, but that’s not what is on my mind.
Remember that Jesus said . . . “My house shall be called a house of prayer.” Wouldn’t it be wonderful if that were true of your church? My church? Every church?
- Think of the word that would spread. “Those people really know how to pray.”
- Think of the love that would grow.
- Think of the lives that would change.
- Think of the miracles God would do.
- Think of the excitement on Sunday morning.
We would get up early and come to church eagerly, waiting to see what God was going to do. We would sing with new gusto and pray with new fervency and listen with new expectation. And who knows? Someone might just hang around and get saved.
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