I'm concluding yesterday's blog post with part 2 of 'Prayer is....'These headings have been taken from Jason Mandryk's outstanding latest edition of 'Operation World.'
4/ An act of warfare:
We are pictured in the scriptures as soldiers in a battle when it comes to prayer. Somehow, in the plan of God, we have been given the task of engaging on behalf of the millions around the world in our generation who do not yet know Jesus Christ. Mandryk says, ‘The gates of hell will not prevail against the church, but they must be stormed!’ Ephesians 6 instructs us to train ourselves to pray in the Spirit on all occasions, armoured up and ready for action.
5/ An act of sacrifice:
Daniel’s prayers resulted in him being thrown to lions. Many around the world today take great risk, even for their lives, in meeting to pray together. My overriding concern is often whether I will miss all or part of a Champions league football game on the TV if I go to the midweek prayer meeting – this attitude couldn’t possibly be further from the kind of attitude of sacrifice that is expected from true followers of Jesus. A people who pray will learn to turn aside from the insignificant, from busyness, even at times from legitimate concerns, in order to seek God’s face in prayer.
6/ An act of labour:
Prayer is hard work. It’s not unlike preparing to go out on a hard run, where we invent any excuse not to get started. There are sometimes moments in prayer where we may have to battle on, to keep going.
It’s no mistake that the word ‘labour’ takes us to the birthing room. This is the arena which best displays for us the work involved in prayer. The sheer effort of will, the pain and the groaning, yet the rewards which follow.
Jesus is our supreme example, sweating blood in the garden as He agonised for us. Later we read that ‘for the joy set before Him, He endured the cross.’ Any mother who has endured the terror of labour pains later remembers only the joy of a new slippery wet bundle in her arms. There are rewards for those who will persist in prayer, those who will give to God not just a prayer meeting, but their nights or their early mornings.
7/ An act of love :
Mandryk says again, ‘It’s impossible to be passionate about prayer if you are not already passionate about Him.’ Our intercession for friends and neighbours in our towns, to the unreached peoples around the globe is ultimately an act motivated by deep love for Jesus. Love for Jesus, and overflowing compassion for those He has made for relationship with Him. Against this backdrop of the love of Christ in our prayers, every empty agenda of mere church growth or increased numbers which sometimes underpins our praying, falls away.
Recommended Reading : Operation World - Jason Mandryk. The future of the global church - Patrick Johnstone