Becoming a Prayer Force
Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me (Rev. 3:20, ESV).
Do you understand the context of this verse? That is, “Who was it originally spoken to?”
It was written to a church, as in the church of Laodicea. This is one of seven churches described in the book of Revelation as recipients of either praise or condemnation from Jesus Christ. Remember, in this discourse, Jesus was objecting to the Laodicean church’s “self-sufficiency” and to their lukewarmness as a church.
Often, this verse has been used as a call to salvation, such as in seeking to bring someone to Christ. Instead, in the above context, this verse was spoken to a lukewarm church.
Is this the condition in which the church in America has fallen?
A newly released survey from the Pew Research Center indicates that Christianity quite possibly will fall below half of the U.S. population in the next fifty years (2070) based upon trends over the past thirty years. Currently, about 64-percent of American adults identify as a “Christian.”
Of course, this report is not a prediction, although it is based upon solid information collected throughout the years leading up to 2020.
Seeing prayer as the key to unlocking a relationship with God in the Christian life.
I attended a Praying Life seminar last month. It opened my eyes to several truths about prayer. First, prayer is hard. It’s hard for both the professional and the beginner; it’s hard for the experienced pray-er, and equally hard for the novice and the beginner.
Can we just agree that prayer is hard work?
Second, prayer is primary in having a relationship with God. Prayer is a two-way communication between us and God. Walking in relationship with God helps me to get to know him, to know his heart for me, his heart for others, and his heart for the church. Did you know that the only method through which we truly have been given to speak to God … is through our prayers? Prayer allows me an opportunity to know God more closely.
Third, prayer is the connection towards starting revival. Do you want revival? It does not happen apart from prayer. Revival, in most cases, starts with as little as one person being “sold out” to God. We must humble ourselves in prayer, leading to confession, as we then wait on God to move. We don’t make revival happen – God does! Through our prayers, God is able to conform us back into His image.
Fourth, if we want to see revival happen, it has to start within the church.
Primary to the church is the leader – the pastor. Do you pray for your pastor? Pray that your pastor and all of the ministers in your community will humble themselves and seek the face of God. Pray that we can stand as one together in Christ. If we are satisfied with small visions, little kingdoms, and pleasing people then we have gotten what we deserve. But God wants us to experience so much more.
I am praying with a small group of pastors each week. Judgment might start at the house of God (1 Pe. 4:17), but it will come down even heavier on the spiritual leaders, the pastors (Jas. 3:1), so … people like me.
Bob Allums, our speaker at the Praying Life seminar, himself a former pastor, said that prayerlessness in the church is like walking through life as an orphan. It is rooted in unbelief. He believes that 90-95-percent of the church does not pray. Due to prayerlessness, our lives are often lived in fear, anxiety, joylessness, and spiritual lethargy.
Ever visit a dying or dead church?
The root cause often is a lack of fervent, compassionate prayer. If, there is no fire on the altar, then the incense will not burn. And if Satan can stop you from praying, he wins. Every church needs vibrant, healthy prayer movements.
Back to the scriptural verse for this devotion: If Jesus truly is standing outside our church knocking on the door (and asking to come in and dine with us), then I have one question for you to consider . . . are you going to answer the door? How? Invite him in through prayer as a child of God. Tell him that you have a place already prepared for him to come in. Eat together the food of your labor in deeply committed prayer. Do life together with the Father (God) asking him if you can join in his story. Walk humbly before God and give him your best. Confess any sin that comes to mind.
I went to the Praying Life seminar, and I was thinking that the others in attendance would become our church prayer team. After going, I learned that EVERYONE in our church is on the prayer ministry team! But I cannot train you up through a sermon series or another Bible Studies on prayer to become a prayer warrior. The absolute best method to aid your whole church prayer team is through praying. Simple method? You might say so, but as the saying goes, “Practice makes perfect!”
So, please join the prayer team everyday by praying to your Father as his very own children. Start your day and end your day with prayer, and continue to pray throughout the day.
Lord, teach us in this generation to pray just as you have taught your first disciples. May we approach the Father as sons and daughters, asking to join the prayer force through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Rev. James Conley
Pastor, First Baptist Church of Delta
Western Slope Ministry and Mission Facilitator
American Baptist Churches of the Rocky Mountains