“Prayer does not fit us for the greater work; prayer is the greater work.” Oswald Chambers
“Thus saith the LORD of hosts; it shall yet come to pass that there shall come people, and the inhabitants of many cities: And the inhabitants of one city shall go to another, saying, Let us go speedily to pray before the LORD and to seek the LORD of hosts: I will go also” (Zechariah 8:20, 21).
“Your mission, if you choose to accept it…” was a pivotal line in every episode of the old television show, Mission Impossible. Jim Phelps was given the specifics of that week’s top secret undertaking and the recorded voice gave him an implied choice in the matter.
The Church of God of Prophecy has a mission. Do you know what it is? “Empowered by the Holy Spirit, through prayer, we will plant churches and equip leaders to carry out the biblical mandate to make genuine disciples of all the people of the world, to the glory of Christ our Lord, head of the church.” That is our mission statement. We each have a part to play in carrying it out. Some are planting churches and making disciples, but all are called to prayer.
Jesus said, “Men ought to keep on praying and not give up” (Luke 18:1). We ought to pray. But too often we don’t. F. B Meyer said, “The greatest tragedy of life is not unanswered prayer, but unoffered prayer.” And those who do pray, often give up too soon. Jesus knows we are prone to discouragement when the answers to our prayers are not immediate. He followed His “don’t give up” instruction in Luke with this story:
Jesus said, “In a certain city lived a judge who didn’t respect God or worry about what men thought. There was a widow in that city who repeatedly came to him, saying, ‘I have been treated unfairly by someone and I want you to make it right.’ He did nothing for a while; but later on, he said to himself, ‘I don’t care what God or anybody else thinks, but this widow keeps on bothering me so I will punish the guy who mistreated her. Otherwise, she will nag and nag me until it wears me out.’ Then the Lord said, “Did you hear what that crooked judge said? Don’t you think a good and loving God will intervene for His own children when they are crying out day and night to Him? You think He takes too long? I assure you, He will help them quickly.”
Charles Spurgeon had something to say about that kind of persistent prayer: “Faith uses pleas. Those who merely say a prayer, do not to pray at all, for they forget to argue with God; but those who prevail bring forth their reasons and their strong arguments.” We must keep on praying and not give up.
How important is it that we pray? Think about this: The Temple, God’s house in the Old Testament, was built following extremely specific instructions. In verse after verse, chapter after chapter, God communicated the exact dimensions, furnishings, colors, and fabrics to be used in the Temple. God’s house was important to Him. And constructing God’s house precisely as He directed was important to David and Solomon and all of Israel. In the New Testament, Jesus gives the only instructions describing His house. He said, “My house is the house of prayer.” More than purple drapes and gold chords, pillars and candlesticks, God’s house must be adorned with the beauty and splendor of fervent prayer. Prayer is important to God. Prayer must be important to us.
“Teach us to pray, Lord,” the disciples requested. Oh, that we would passionately desire to effectively pray for the rule of God in our lives and in the world! Let us provoke each other to the good work of prayer. Zechariah 8:21 prophesies that people will one day say to each other, “Come on! Let’s all go now to pray. I’m going!” Let us all commit ourselves to a lifestyle of unceasing, fervent, militant intercession; praying in agreement with Jesus. “To pray in Jesus’ name means to pray in His spirit, in His compassion, in His love, in His outrage, in His concern. In other words, it means to pray a prayer Jesus would pray” (Kenneth L. Wilson). Jesus prayed, “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, in earth as it is in heaven.” Are we praying in Jesus’ name? Nineteenth century clergyman and poet, Richard C. Trench said, “Prayer is not getting man’s will done in heaven, but getting God’s will done on earth. It is not overcoming God’s reluctance, but laying hold of God’s willingness.”
And so, we commit ourselves to a revival of prayer. We must avail ourselves of as much instruction as possible and find many opportunities to pray, until our churches are known as houses of prayer and all of us, people of prayer. We will pray until the work of the Holy Spirit is evident in salvations, miracles, healings, and deliverances; where supernatural ministry is manifested so that it spills over into the community. We will pray until the signs follow us (see Mark 16:17, 18).
Miracles happen when God’s people pray. A woman I know very well shared this story with me: “When the children were little, my husband started a new job. It was days before he would get paid and there was no food in the house. I did the only thing I knew to do. I prayed. ‘These babies need milk, Lord. We’re depending on You.’ Before I got up from praying, there was a knock at the door. Standing there was Eunice Moore from church. ‘I don’t even know if you need these, but the Lord told me to bring you groceries and a gallon of milk.’ God heard me and sent her to help us!”
I know personally about the miracle-working power of prayer. Prayer saved my life. In January 2010, I was dying. Doctors called my family in and told them I had no chance living through the night. My husband, mother, and friends who were in the room immediately began praying. Then each of them got busy calling other people—some knew me, some did not—to pray. I lived! I was healed by God and have worked, preached, and lived a happy life since that miracle. Thank God people prayed.
We must pray! For ourselves, for others, and for revival in the nations. Throughout history, when God was up to something, He preceded it with a call to prayer. D.L Moody said, “Every great movement of God can be traced to a kneeling figure.” The Welsh Revival, the campaigns of Jonathan Edwards, Azusa Street, the Shearer Schoolhouse revival and many momentous outpourings interspersed through the centuries came about because earnest people gathered for concerts of prayer. A world-wide prayer movement is, once again, saturating Christianity. We must move where God is moving. We must communicate a sense of urgency and charge into this end-time prayer movement. Bible prophecy has already told us a great harvest is to come. We will only be ready if we are praying.
James 5:16 tells us “The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.” 1 Thessalonians 5:17 instructs, “Pray without ceasing.” 1 Timothy 2:8 is clear. “Everyone, everywhere should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling.”
We have a mission. And we have a choice. We must choose to accept it.
-Marsha Robinson, Cleveland, Tennessee
As published in the January 2018 issue of the White Wing Messenger