This past weekend I had the opportunity of hearing Richard Owen Roberts speak concerning the possibility of revival in today’s church. His prescribed text centered on 2 Chonicles 7:14 “[I]f my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” Without going into detail about his lengthy exposition of this verse (and the surrounding passage), Roberts suggested that unless and until the church begins to focus on prayer—real, genuine, core-driven prayer—we might as well not bother to expect revival. Revival, he said, doesn’t come because we schedule meetings, nor when we perform a certain ritual. In fact, historically, revival springs from simple people in obscure places that have removed themselves from the equation and focused on God through prayer.

            Jim Cymbala gives an extended illustration of the truth of this assertion in his whirlwind success book Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire (Zondervan, 1997). In his book he chronicles the effect of prayer on Brooklyn Tabernacle Church where he is pastor and where the church went from death’s door to excitement and growing—because of a renewed sense and practice of prayer.

            Again I encountered the necessity of prayer for Christ-followers who are seeking to impact His world through their lives and churches in the opening chapters of Ed Stetzer’s new book Comeback Churches. Stetzer along with co-author Mike Dodson says, “Church leaders get entirely too busy, and prayer is often what is neglected.” Do not, they insist, wait until you have time to pray, but make time to pray.

            Why is prayer so important? I believe that B. B. McKinney expressed it well:

 Prayer Changes Things 

When the dark shadows come over you,

Bringing troubles you never know,

Trust in the Savior and pray it thro’,

For prayer changes things.

 

Prayer will bring peace when the days are long,

Turn your sighing into a song,

It will bring victory over wrong,

For prayer changes things.

 

Pray for the wanderer at your door,

Pray for lost ones the wide world o’er;

Jesus will save them forevermore,

For prayer changes things.

 

Pray and take courage thro’ weal or woe,

In life’s battles on earth below;

Pray with a faith that will not let go,

For prayer changes things.

 

(Chorus)

Prayer changes things,

Prayer changes things,

When the world is cold and blue,

Trust in Jesus, pray it through,

Victory will come to you,

For prayer changes things.

Advertisements