When our African brothers and sisters met in the lower level of our church in New York, you could literally hear them praying through the floor. When our Arabic brothers and sisters gathered for weekly prayer and worship, they prayed with hands high and spiritual energy to match it. I’ve prayed with Koreans who are notorious for the value they place on prayer.
All these people share one thing that invigorates them when they pray – desperation that God will answer their prayers.
I’ve been to some American churches that defy what I’m about to suggest. There are definitely exceptions, but as a whole, there is a stark contrast between the prayer that goes on in the Church in America and around much of the world.
Why is this?
Francis Chan, in Old Paths, New Power: Awakening Your Church through Prayer and the Ministry of the Word, a book written by Daniel Henderson, suggests the reason for this is because we Americans have options. We lean on good music or some other way to create “spiritual success” rather than God actually responding to the prayers of His children. We Americans often do something that makes us and the people in our church feel good whether God is involved in it or not.
In contrast, Chan suggests that much of the world, has an “all or nothing” mentality, much like Joshua marching around the walls of Jericho and blowing trumpets, Elijah calling down fire from heaven, or Paul preaching a simple Gospel message. In these moments, only God could deliver the result needed. All or nothing.
What should we do?
To pastors… leave time to pray in your services and then pray with and for your people. This past weekend, my pastor gave an invitation to come to the altar to receive prayer for healing. People were moved deeply. There was hardly a dry eye in the house. God met with us. I didn’t hear any speaking in tongues, or any really loud praying. It wasn’t overly emotional at all. But the prayer time was heartfelt, deeply personal and powerful. You could sense the holiness of God in His church at that moment. Our churches need this, brothers. Invite them to pray and then pray.
To everyone… pray. Pray for healing, reconciliation, revival and salvation – things America needs, things God cares deeply about and things we cannot fake. It’s all or nothing with these things.
In His Love,