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Kingdom Advancing Prayerby Duane Mabee on June 17, 2021
“There has never been a spiritual awakening in any country or
locality that did not begin in united prayer.” A. T. Pierson
Prayer is the lifeline of our spiritual lives both individually and corporately. Jim Cymbala claims that all of Brooklyn Tabernacle’s ministry effectiveness is a direct result of consistent, united prayer. He isn’t alone. Christian leaders throughout history have pointed to prayer as the key, if not the only reason for their ministry success. Daniel Henderson wrote that C. H. Spurgeon was once asked why his ministries were so successful. In response, he simply walked the visitor to the sanctuary, opened the door, and let him watch the participants praying that night. Nothing more needed to be said.
But not just any type of prayer will result in revival and ministry effectiveness. The book of James gives some conditions for prayer to be effective. James 1:5-8 says that prayer must be “in faith”. We must believe that God will appropriately respond to our requests. It seems odd that anyone would pray if they don’t believe God will answer, but it happens all the time.
Prayer must also come from unified, humble people and be centered on God’s will, (James 4:1-9). James 4:3 says, “you don’t get [what you pray for] because your motives are all wrong – you want only what will give you pleasure,” (NLT). The Message is even more blunt – “You’re spoiled children, each wanting your own way.” It would be eye opening if we were brave enough to classify all our prayer requests as “those primarily focused on advancing God’s kingdom” vs. “those primarily focused on increasing our comfort or the comfort of our friends and family.”
Jesus said that when we pray with a view toward impressing other people, our prayer won’t have any significant or lasting impact. In fact, the only thing we will get in response will be the “joy” of knowing that people are impressed with us.
If we want to see a spiritual awakening, if we want our ministries to have effective and eternal impact, we will need to humbly unite in prayer that is focused on advancing Christ’s kingdom in real and powerful ways. We will need to become desperate to see Christ glorified in our city, our churches, our families and our individual lives. Jonathan Edwards understood that revival is always linked to concerted, united, passionate prayer. That’s the way God intends it to be. As a result, one of the devil’s primary strategies is to keep Christians from praying together in meaningful, united, and kingdom focused ways. So, we need agree to pray together in ways that disrupt the devil’s strategy.