I do apologise for this column being posted rather late in the day. The reason is that Tuesday has become a day in which I am particularly involved in leading some prayer in the church throughout the month of January. The church in which I worship has set aside the whole of the month for prayer and cancelled all its normal midweek meetings so that people may engage specifically in prayer. I have been leading a series of sessions called “Praying for the World”.
I haven’t mentioned this just to make an excuse, but in order to say to you how wonderfully refreshing it is to be part of an extended period in which prayer is the dominating activity. There is nothing quite so exhilarating or so strengthening, even though one is aware of constant spiritual opposition. I simply wanted to say that I do hope this year will not go very far before you or your church may become similarly involved.
Spirit of Prayer
This has not been a prayer month when anything “grandiose” has been attempted. No special, “big” meetings have been announced, and no “hype”. It is simply that the church and its different rooms are open every day for people to go into and pray in whatever way they wish and for however long they wish. The response has been remarkable with people showing a real appetite to seek the Lord. Various church activities are prayed for in corporate as well as personal manner, but the emphasis is on seeking the face of the Lord for Kingdom blessing in whatever way each person feels important. This is producing a powerful relaxedness. It has brought about a great release of the spirit of prayer which has resided in many church members for some years now.
My own particular burden is to seek God for the church that it might have increased understanding of the world, greater and deeper prayer for the world, and more people being called into world mission. I have had room to express my heart concern with others who have a similar concern. Other heart burdens, different and equally legitimate, have been similarly released. It gives a great sense of the body of Christ moving forward. It’s a great and satisfying feeling.
Prayer in the life of the church is, of course, the supremely important factor for future growth, effectiveness and spiritual quality. Many have said that the church ought always to be in revival as the norm. So indeed it should. Theoretically that is fine, but at the practical level the sustaining of a church in the full power and grace of the Spirit is utterly dependent upon the time we give to God, the time we spend in his presence and the eagerness of our hearts to be about his business and to be utterly godly and righteous.
I feel so blessed when I am part of a genuine prayer movement of prayer, and I simply wanted to encourage you to re-engage in such movement as we move into this new year. I anticipate that it will be a year of real difficulties, one calling for much grace, patience and faith.