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The Power of Corporate Prayer In Our TimesMarch 6, 2023
Our church prayer chain has been especially busy over the last six months. The illnesses have included cancer, pneumonia, covid, hospitalized children, strokes, and many other mental, spiritual, and physical crisis. In almost every situation we saw miraculous healings one after another. Most of our active congregation is on the prayer chain, and God has blessed us so many times. Jesus said, “Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven” (Matthew 18:19). Over and over again I find God’s healing mercies poured out on people when people pray together.
On the front of my prayer book are these words, “We pray because prayer opens up the floodgates of God’s infinite grace and power to flow toward the person in need. God can act without prayer, but God chooses to operate within the boundaries of human will and invitation. God allows us to participate in His work on earth with each prayer.”
Prayer is truly a mysterious and powerful part of our Christian faith. Though no explanation of prayer can be fully complete, I have always found the above words to be very helpful for me. When I am having trouble keeping up with my prayer life these words remind me that God wants to include me intimately in His great work around me, and that my actions and prayers matter.
In the last two weeks I have written about the two Kentucky revivals at Asbury and Barbourville. Everyone associated with those two revivals would probably agree that corporate prayer were the keys to experiencing the outpouring of God’s Holy Spirit. As the Spirit continued to move, they would then agree that continued prayer was what continued to open the flood gates of the Spirit’s mercy and power. In my prayers for a great revival over the last 25 years I believe God has shown me that when He sends another great awakening, which I believe will be soon, I have a job to help mobilize people to pray around the clock, every day.
My model is the Moravian Revival of 1727. Three hundred people experienced an outpouring of the Holy Spirit and started a prayer vigil that lasted over 100 years. The revival lasted until the prayer stopped and changed the church worldwide over that 100 years. Our country’s First Great Awakening was a part of that revival and it transformed our country to be able to fight and win the American Revolution.
When our lives seem to be in order it is easiest to pray, but then again it is also easiest not to pray. We can deceive ourselves into thinking we have it together, whatever “it” is for us. We need those good times in prayer where we familiar prayers of adoration, thanksgiving, confession, and intercession. We need to become experts at glorifying God. We need those quiet times when we learn to calm our minds and hearts and listen for God’s gentle whisper to our souls, so we can know God’s will for our lives. We need regular prayer, so we can work through those times when prayer is hard or even impossible. There are times we will walk through the desert. The more we pray the easier those dessert times in our lives will be.
Sport fans marveled at the poise both Super Bowl quarterbacks showed as they led their respective teams a few weeks ago. Patrick Mahomes and Jalen Hurts were so poised as they played the game of their lives. We cannot forget that before they got to that point, in the biggest football game of their lives, there were years of practice, practice, and more practice, so when the time came to shine they were able to do so.
I think prayer is like practice time in sports. The more we pray throughout our lives, the better we will become at hearing and finding God in our lives. It isn’t that God is ever absent or quiet, but it is we who allow the circumstances of life to distance us from the presence and voice of God.
People ask, “Why pray?” These are just a few of my answers. How would you answer this question? Are you a part of group prayer or a prayer chain? Have you ever been through a time when it was hard to pray? Have you ever been sick and not known what prayer to offer? Have you ever had financial turmoil and wondered if prayer could somehow help you pay the bills? Keep praying anyway. God will guide you to break through to have the greatest faith you have ever had! (To find out more about Al Earley or read previous articles see, www.lagrangepres.org).