By Bruce Terry
Lately, I have been drawn to give more of my time in prayer. It’s not that I haven’t been praying. Just like you, I would think we all have a time to connect with the Lord. But I think the Lord is drawing me back to a much deeper call of prayer and intercession, where I give even more time in prayer and hopefully lead our church body into a deeper prayer effort.
So for a while I have been reading and mediating on how effective we are with the kind of prayer that is needed for the world we live in today and I’ve come to realize a very hard truth. Even with all the changes we have made to become “relevant” and more accessible to our culture and communities, our culture is changing us more than we are changing our culture. It is doing everything in it’s power to force itself on us to conform and change to it’s image.
I believe for the church to be effective in this culture — or any culture — we must commit to a whole new level of prayer.
Personally, I’m convinced that it’s not going to come with great messages, worship sets and how good we look. If that was all we needed, we wouldn’t have this problem. I’m certainly not opposed to having relevant worship sets, great messages and big churches because everything we do for the Lord should always be our best offering to Him. But that is not enough to change the hearts of the world around us.
I believe for us to have a chance to affect and bring change to our culture it will come through big moves of prayer for big moves of God in our nation. From what I know, and maybe that’s not a lot, every great move of God was founded on a powerful and fruitful prayer movement. Our nation is addicted to so many things and unfortunately the church, to a great extent, is much like the culture in which we live.
I like this verse....
I Timothy 2:1
“First of all, then, I urge that requests, prayers, intercession, and thanksgiving be made in behalf of all people,” ...
When Paul wrote this there was an urgency for the new church to pray. I believe if Paul was here today he would speak to us with that same urgency.
Let’s look at each of these components:
Lets’ start with “Prayer.”
Prayer - GK proseuche, Basically a wonderful time of communion and worship with God. This can truly be the most enjoyable time of our day. I don’t know about you, but I can’t live without it!
“But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.” NLT
“Request” or “Supplication.”
Request- Greek deesis - means a petition or request. It could also mean “to beg.” Yes, you heard that right! There is an intensity that comes with this form of prayer. When was the last time we begged God in some of our requests? Recently I begged God to move in a certain situation. I was almost sick over it but it was necessary for me at the time. We have to humble ourselves. Sometimes we need to be begging for more of God!
Greek eucharistia - a prayer with the attitude of thanksgiving. As I’m sure many of you have experienced, there is a spiritual release in us when we pray this way. It just brings us back to that place where God is in control. It’s so freeing to get past our flesh, especially when we don’t “feel like” thanking God. In reality, that’s the most important time of all to give thanks!
This is the type of prayer where we have to sacrifice ourselves and time the most. The Greek word, enteuxis, is a prayer time with a set meeting time, place and purpose and means to mediate and stand in for another. It is a free flowing, bold prayer with child like confidence. When was the last you had an appointment with God to stand in the gap for someone else who is suffering? We need large doses of people to stand in the gap for our nation and our churches. To me, this is where the Holy Spirit partners with us in big way. Using our prayer language is so valuable because as you know we can pray in the Spirit even when we don’t really know how to pray.
In closing, In closing we see the impact that is promised in the rest of the chapter that comes from the prayer that we are urged to engage in!
Rev. Bruce Terry GAN Presbyterian