Even a casual look at the Christian world reveals that we are going through one of the most difficult phase of the modern times. It seems the ‘perilous times’ Paul predicted are seen everywhere. 2Tim 3:1. There is an apparent effort by the evil forces to weaken, defeat and discredit the Church of Jesus Christ.
Open atrocities, perverted teachings and counterfeit Christians etc makes the local congregation weak and vulnerable. Along with that, the carnality of believers and the subsequent fallen spiritual standard leave many local churches paralyzed and unproductive. Yes, it’s difficult times indeed.
Of course, it may not be the state of every local assembly, but look at the overall state of the church worldwide. Commitment to the Lord and His word is diminishing by day. Self-interest and sectarianism is rampant. The government is enacting new laws that adversely affect believers. Even the media is biased. What shall we do at this juncture? If we are really concerned about the body of Christ and His glory, we shall be compelled to do something.
The response of the early church is an example. When they faced opposition and threatening from the authorities we see them they pray together. Act 4: 21 – 24. Later when Herod imprisoned Apostle Peter, soon after the killing of James, we see the church praying earnestly for his deliverance. Act 12:5. Yes, this is what we need to today.
Throughout the scripture we see God’s people coming on their knees at difficult, challenging times. Abraham pleaded for the safety of Lot and Sodom. Leaders like Moses, Joshua Samuel, Ezra and Nehemiah all brought the people of God on their knees. It was those sessions of prayers that changed the difficult situations they were going through. Cf. Exo 17: 8 –13; Neh 1; 4; 8:1 etc.
Just imagine the prayer meetings held by the Jewish community under the leadership of Mordecai in the book of Esther. It was a life or death situation. Cf. Esther 3:13; 4:16. How wonderful it is to notice, the living God who does not ignore the tears of His people, saved the Jews from death and destruction in a miraculous manner.
Beloved, let us lift up our eyes and see what’s happening around us. We may be safe and secured with all the comfort of this world. But consider the body of Christ, the Church as a whole. How can we just close the eyes when our brethren are suffering one way or other? How can we ignore the danger being faced by Christians across the world?
The need of the hour is nothing else but earnest prayers of God’s people. Definitely, when saints stand on their knees sincerely and in unity, as per the promises of the scriptures we can see the hand of God moving mightily.
United & Sacrificial
Word of God commands His people to pray at any circumstances, especially when life is perilous and difficult. 2Chro 7:14; Matt 7: 7 – 11; 18:19. Seeing the helpless state of people the Lord commands His people to pray. Cf. Matt 9:38; Jn 4:35. Even He spoke of prayer and fasting for serious situations. Matt 17:21. Yes, true prayer is a serious issue, it’s costly and sacrificial. No wonder Paul attributed the fervent prayers of Epaphras as a ‘labour’. Col 4:12.
Yes, that’s what we need to do today; serious, specific, sacrificial and united prayers. In fact, God delights to hear us pray. Our prayers reach the presence of God as an offering. Reve 8:4. More than anything else, the quality time that we spend before the Lord in prayer will change us for better. That’s what true prayer does; change and transformation in every area beginning from our own life.
That is the reason why our enemy fear our prayers. Even if we don’t fully understand the value of prayer, devil does! Someone has well said, ‘he laughs at our toil, mocks at our wisdom, and trembles when we pray’. No wonder devil makes every effort to hinder our prayers. Even he hinders answers to our prayers. Cf. Dan 10: 12, 13. For 20 days satanic agent withstood the angel who brought Daniel an answer to his prayers.
It’s a common factor we can notice in most churches; very few people attend prayer meetings. The enemy has successfully kept people busy in various other things, even spiritual ‘activities’ that they hardly find time for prayer.
Extra effort needed
That’s why we need to make extra effort for prayer. Let us examine our prayer life individually as well as collectively. Let us not simply listen to the whisperings of devil and find excuses to skip serious and specific supplication for the saints in trouble.
It’s time to pray earnestly for our one another, the suffering Christians and the young generation. If we are still complacent and careless, the consequences will be beyond imagination. Yes, pray or perish silently!
NEED PRAYER WARRIORS IN THE CHURCHES
Bro. M. L. Francis, Chennai
The scope of united prayer in a local body of Christ has clearly been demonstrated in the Book of Acts. Right from the beginning of the formation of the Christian Church by the Holy Spirit, the believers had been engaged in active ministry of prayer both by the individuals as well as by the congregation. (Acts 2:42; 3:1; 4:24,31; 6:4; 9:11; 10:9; 12:5,12; 13:3)
The early Christians not only perceived the power and result of prayer but also practiced it as an integral part of their lives. As a result the Church became powerful and lively ready to confront any challenge from the enemy.
One of the reasons for the coldness in the area of prayer is, I believe, that believers are not properly led to the understanding that the prayer is the important ministry of the church