The church is weak. Especially in the West where we consider ourselves more advanced. It lacks the power that the early church did. It has become religious. It seems to me we spend more time condemning sin and sinners than we do loving them. In many ways we have become the new Pharisees. Oh we say we are Christians, but where is the love? Where is the power? We have become a self righteous lot and turn more people away from Christ than to Him. I think we are a lot like the church of Laodicea in the book of Revelation. Not all churches are like this. There are some that are really on the move and have the heart of God.
“Write this letter to the angel of the church in Laodicea. This is the message from the one who is the Amen—the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s new creation:
“I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish that you were one or the other! But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth! You say, ‘I am rich. I have everything I want. I don’t need a thing!’ And you don’t realize that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked. So I advise you to buy gold from me—gold that has been purified by fire. Then you will be rich. Also buy white garments from me so you will not be shamed by your nakedness, and ointment for your eyes so you will be able to see. I correct and discipline everyone I love. So be diligent and turn from your indifference.
“Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends. Those who are victorious will sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat with my Father on his throne.
“Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches.” Revelation 3:14-22 (NLT)
Why is the church this way? We don’t pray. The prayer meetings of many of our churches consist of senior citizens, mostly women. We are so busy with so many other things that our prayer, if we pray at all, consists of a few minutes over breakfast or as we lay our heads down on our pillows at the end of the day. Then when the enemy robs from us and so many things go wrong we wonder why. Oh we are zealous for many things of the Lord, but when it comes to prayer and our relationship with our God, we are lukewarm at best. Sad to say many are downright cold. I can talk like this because I am just as guilty. It seems some days that prayer just doesn’t seem to have a very high priority and I put it off as well. Not all are like this. If you do take the time to pray and cultivate your relationship with God I commend you. You are in the minority and one of the faithful few.
There is a supernatural power in prayer. Take a look at many of those down through history who took the time to pray. The power of God was upon them and they did great deeds that could not be accomplished in the flesh. One of them was Daniel. A man who did not have the Holy Spirit dwelling in him as we do. He would pray faithfully three times a day. This man was able to interpret dreams and signs. He became an advisor to Kings and had visitations from angels, was given prophetic visions, and was also protected supernaturally from death.
The Apostle Paul recognized the power he had through prayer and mentions it 22 times in his epistles. A pivotal passage in the teaching of the apostle concerning prayer is: "Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;" (Phil. 4:4-6).
Jesus is our perfect example. Even though He was God incarnate, He still needed fellowship with the Father. He often went off by himself to pray. If He considered it important. Why don’t we?
I have seen great servants come into our church full of power because they would spend much time in prayer. The presence of God was very tangible in their meetings and because they took that time with God all except those with hardest of hearts were affected.
When I my wife developed mental illness I became desperate and like Daniel would pray three times a day for an hour each time. The supernatural would flow around me. I could hear God’s voice so clearly and had no doubt about the path I should take. My children began to see angels in our apartment. He also protected us supernaturally when our lives were in danger from violence. I know first hand the power that is there.
What the Church needs to-day is not more machinery or better, not new organizations or more and novel methods, but men whom the Holy Ghost can use — men of prayer, men mighty in prayer. The Holy Ghost does not flow through methods, but through men. He does not come on machinery, but on men. He does not anoint plans, but men — men of prayer. – E. M. Bounds
That is what we need, men and women of prayer. In spending time with God you get to know Him and become like Him. You cannot remain the same when you take the time to pray. It changes you. You see things more clearly and enter into the realm of the supernatural. Love flows from you naturally for those around you. You start to lose attachments to the things of this world. God and your relationship will become so much more important to you than anything else. You will begin to see God move supernaturally on your behalf and of those you have prayed for. As well the temptation to sin will have less of a sway over you.
We cannot afford to not pray. All great revivals in the church came about not by accident but because people chose to pray. The enemy will give you all kinds of excuses why you can’t take that time. Your flesh will cry out against it. You will battle fatigue and interruptions. It won’t be easy, but if you persevere the rewards are great. You will come to enjoy your prayer time and look forward to sitting at Jesus feet each day and you’ll also find that God will arrange your day in such a way that all you needed to do will be accomplished.
The eyes of the Lord search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. 2 Chronicles 16:9 (NLT)
God is looking for those who will spend time with Him. Those who will put aside the business of the day and make Him the priority. Will you be one of them? Will you make the time? Do you want to see the church once again rise up with the power it should have? It’s up to you. Pray!