The Scripture speaks of the people of God discerning the time of their visitation. By that it means the time when God begins to move in a distinctive way – when it’s time for Joshua to enter the Promised Land; when it’s time for the rebuilding of Jerusalem after its destruction; and when it’s time for Jesus to come. John the Baptist proclaims, Prepare the way of the Lord.
I don’t hear much talk about prayer coming from other corners. I hear talk about new ideas, new podcasts, new blogs, new TEDtalks, new songs, new books, new pastors, new members, new building, new churches, new programs, but I don’t hear the sound of new prayer. I don’t think I’m unaware, and I am not saying prayer isn’t taking place at all. But, what I am not sensing is the urgency of prayer; I am not sensing prayer as the moving force to break chains and strongholds.
It’s natural to lose our edge in prayer. While it is relatively easy to maintain a good, solid personal prayer life or devotional, it takes a certain watching to keep our edge in prayer as the church. By this I mean having a personal devotional prayer life, while essential, is not the whole picture of prayer. What is also needed is an urgent conviction that the church is meant to go forward as a group in doing the will and purpose of God. And this comes by the people of God praying together and praying for God to move us forward.
Above everything else in the Christian life is prayer. Prayer is our lifeline, our communion, a tangible expression of our faith and of our relationship with God as our Father and provider, of Jesus as our Savior, our deliverer, and of the Holy Spirit as our Counselor, our guide, our motivator, our strength. The Christian life is never meant to ‘go it alone’. We are on a journey together with God into His will in the earth. Prayer is the first step for new direction, new empowering, new refreshing, new faith, new vision, and new opportunities. Prayer is the animating element of the Christian life. Beloved, now is the time for prayer!
Prayer has always been a part of our history and DNA at Christian Fellowship. We have prophecies about prayer that have shaped our course and identity:
‘You are to be a house of praise, prayer, giving, and war.’ This prophetic teaching was given at the beginning of our church. It set our DNA in place. It gave us a certain mentality that prayer was what we were to do as a people gathered together.
Here is another:
‘The Lord is going to call you into times to gather before Him in your weakness. It is not about gathering before Him in your overflowing i.e. We are the most anointed this or that. No, in your weakness and brokenness, confidence in His kindness (again I say) confidence in his kindness – that is what He is calling you to.
‘And the Lord says, ‘No, it is not all about how psyched up you can get in a prayer meeting…Beloved there are times to gather. There are times for solemn assemblies. There is the wisdom of fasting and prayer…the intensity doesn’t produce the breakthrough. God produces the breakthrough. God doesn’t do it unrelated to us…He woos us. We come in our lethargy. We come in our discouragement and we gather and we press in together and think, You know this doesn’t feel like much. The Lord says, ‘It doesn’t have to. It is my way.’ Intimacy is established in the process.
Isaiah 56:6-8 – ‘…Even them I will bring to My house of prayer…For My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations.’
These prophecies the Lord has spoken over our church over a span of 30 years from various individuals who have come into our setting and sensing something in the Spirit spoke it out for all of us to hear.
Isaiah 62 says: ‘I have set watchmen on your walls, O Jerusalem, who shall never hold their peace day or night. You who make mention of the Lord, do not keep silent, and give Him no rest till He establishes and till He makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth.’
The watchmen are us. We have been called by God to give Him no rest in our watching – which is our prayers. This is part of our calling, God’s will, our DNA as a church. We are to be those who know the value, power, and refreshing of prayer. We don’t have to come psyched up, or energized, or feeling anything, but we are being called in this season to come. We are being called to be before the Lord in waiting and watching prayer. We are being called to be before the Lord so that He may give us the renewing of faith, the refreshing of the Spirit, the re-energizing of direction.