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Who prays for you and your church?

Courtesy Pixabay
Courtesy Pixabay

John Wesley (1703-1791) was a traveling preacher and founder of the Methodist Church. Wesley said, “Give me one hundred preachers who fear nothing but sin and desire nothing but God, and I care not a straw whether they be clergymen or laymen; such alone will shake the gates of Hell and set up the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth. God does nothing but in answer to prayer.”

John Wesley spent two hours daily in prayer. He began at four in the morning. One who knew him well wrote, “He thought prayer to be more his business than anything else, and I have seen him come out of his closet with a serenity of face next to shining.” The Protestant reformer Martin Luther (1483-1546) said that if he did not spend the first three hours of his morning in prayer, he would not have enough time in the day to complete the tasks that needed to be done.

The American author and Methodist pastor E.M. Bounds (1835-1913) wrote, “The Church is looking for better methods; God is looking for better men.” “What the Church needs today 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 upon machinery but on men. He does not anoint plans, but men — men of prayer.”

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And the same thing of course is true for women of prayer. Millions of women and men experience the power of the Holy Spirit every day as they devote much concentrated time to prayer. With that in mind, who is praying for you on a daily basis? And who are you praying for every day? 

The Apostle Paul wrote, “Be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints. Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the Gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should” (Ephesians 6:18-20). 

E.M. Bounds wrote, “Spiritual work is taxing work, and men are loath to do it. Praying, true praying, costs an outlay of serious attention and time, which flesh and blood do not relish.” 

We desperately need the blood of Jesus to wash away our sins, and we desperately need the power of the Holy Spirit to energize and direct our prayer life. We must be filled with the Holy Spirit in order to persist in prayer and not give up. And this filling is something we can receive continually as we yield ourselves to the Lord and pursue God's will with our thoughts, words, and deeds.

Jesus said, “If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in Heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!” (Luke 11:13). We must cooperate with the Holy Spirit in our life of Christian discipleship if we are going to flow in His power. You and I possess no real power for prayer unless the Holy Spirit gives it to us. Jesus told His disciples: “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you and you will be my witnesses...” (Acts 1:8).

This is why we begin every worship service in our church by praying these words together: “Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me; Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me; Melt me, mold me, fill me, use me; Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me.” And then we sing that verse once more right before the message. 

You see, we must remain under the fountain moment by moment, hour by hour. Apart from this supernatural power from the Holy Spirit, we can easily slide into habits and patterns that are in the flesh rather than in the Spirit. “Come Holy Spirit” can become the continual cry of our heart and the persistent desire of our soul. This fervent longing is a prerequisite to living a Spirit-filled life. 

The Christian life is definitely fluid. As the American evangelist D.L. Moody (1837-1899) said, “We are leaky vessels and we need to be filled up every day.” Moody also stated, “I believe firmly that the moment our hearts are emptied of pride and selfishness and ambition and everything that is contrary to God’s Law, the Holy Spirit will fill every corner of our hearts. But if we are full of pride and conceit and ambition and the world, there is no room for the Spirit of God. We must be emptied before we can be filled.” 

Paul wrote, “Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18). I addressed this topic in more detail in my 2012 CP op-ed, “How to Be a Spirit-Filled Christian.”

Are there people who pray regularly for your spiritual growth and protection? And are you and others in your congregation praying daily for your church, your pastor, and the work that God wants to accomplish through all of you? As E.M. Bounds wrote: “Nothing is done without prayer for the simple reason that it leaves God out of the account.” Scripture declares: “You do not have, because you do not ask God” (James 4:2).

The following prayer would be a great place to start. In fact, you might even feel led to pray it every day as you enter into a time of thanksgiving and prayer to the Lord: 

“Thank you, Lord, for your loving kindness toward me, and for answering all of my prayers according to your perfect plan. Wash away my sins Jesus with your precious blood. I turn away from sin and I surrender my heart and life to you Lord Jesus. Empower me Holy Spirit with a fire and passion for prayer, and the faith to believe that you will answer every prayer according to your perfect will and purposes. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”

Dan Delzell is the pastor of Redeemer Lutheran Church in Papillion, Nebraska. 

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