Most of us are not accustomed to praying for any length of time. At best we are sporadic and distracted. At worst we feel like we are failures when it comes to praying. We are about as good as non-believers in prayer in that we can throw up a few ‘Hail Mary’ type prayers and hope God catches it in the end zone. But why is that? Why does Christians praying not look much different than unbelievers praying? What was it that caused the Book of Acts church to devote itself to prayer, and is it possible for you to find this kind of zeal and devotion to prayer?
Here are 6 things you can anticipate during this 31 days of prayer:
- This is likely a once in a lifetime experience, take advantage of it.
- An hour will not seem like enough time
- Failure comes before peace.
- Prayer will become the desire of your heart.
- Do not be surprised if some unholy spiritual things get stirred-up.
- You will have a story to tell to others.
It is not likely that you will get another chance in your lifetime to devote 31 consecutive days of prayer with others. Your participation will cause you to reference this occasion as a time when God did a deeper work in your heart.
In the beginning 10 minutes may feel like a long time for prayer. After 20 days 60 minutes will not seem long enough for prayer. You will have turned a corner that you thought was impossible.
All of us hate the idea of failure. We would rather not even attempt a thing than fail it. But in prayer we are not engaging in a pass/fail dynamic, rather we are entering into a flesh/spirit dynamic. Our flesh will always fail (it cannot do otherwise) but our spirit will become stronger. We will not take credit for this. We will say, ‘It is not me it is the Holy Spirit at work in me.’
Do not diminish any portion of the hour you are setting aside to be with the Lord. Every minute of it He takes into His arms. Because God is relational to His core, He desires with fervent love that we spend time with Him. He will cause us to have that same desire.
It is abundantly clear that wherever Jesus went – and after His Ascension wherever the Church went – things got stirred-up in the spiritual realm. Satan, who is real, still desires to hold onto whatever he has stolen. Prayer has this way of stirring up the ‘principalities and powers and spiritual forces of darkness in the heavenly realm’. This is why the Apostle Paul says pray. He meant to take back from those strongholds what is rightfully God’s. We are called to do the same thing. We cannot, however, do any of that in our own effort. We need the power of God. That’s what prayer gives us – His power and authority.
Out of this experience you will know God more. You will be able to speak of Him with greater familiarity. You will have encounters and conversations that will amaze you and you will begin to make the connection between the encounter and the time you spent waiting on God. God really does mean to lavish us with good gifts. We are not working for those gifts because we pray, rather we are learning how to receive those gifts through being with Him.
’Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus.’ – Acts 4:13