In this article I will address three foundational truths of prayer and the repercussions of those truths.
First, no Christ-follower’s spiritual life will rise to stay above the level of their personal prayer life.
Second, no church’s corporate prayer life will rise to stay above its members’ personal prayer lives.
Third, no church’s effectiveness will rise to stay above its corporate prayer life.
Effective prayer is different that merely praying at meals, praying for the sick, praying for God’s blessings, or praying for our needs and wants. Effective prayer is really spiritual warfare. Prayer makes the difference in the battle. In Exodus 17:8-16 there is a story of Joshua fighting the Amalekite army while Moses was praying with Aaron and Hur at the top of a hill over-looking the battle. When Moses held up his hands in prayer Joshua and the Israelites were winning. When Moses grew tired and dropped his hands the Amalekites were winning. So Aaron and Hur held up Moses’ arms so He could pray with his hands lifted.
In verse 13 it says, “So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword”. The word translated “sword: is the Hebrew word “peh”. It is can be translated “testimony, mouth, speech, command, edge (as in edge of a sword)”. Of the five ways “peh” can be translated, four of them have to do with speaking. Joshua did not win because of his men’s skill with their sword. He won because of the prayer of an old man standing on the hillside over-looking the battle. In Revelation 12:11, it says, “They overcame him (the enemy) by the blood of the Lamb (Jesus) and by the word of their testimony.”
Most churches are in decline, or at best plateau-ed due to the lack of authentic, heartfelt prayer from its members. Everyday 11 churches close their doors forever….nearly 4,000 churches per year. Don’t believe it? Look around at your community or even your county. How many churches do you know of that are truly growing and reaching unchurched & dechurched people? What is the average age of the members of our churches? If things do not change…where is the church headed over the next year, five years, or ten years?
I believe prayer changes things. Every documented revival in history had its origin in prayer. Satan uses laziness, complacency, apathy, a lack of discipline, etc….to cause the church to lay aside as a weapon. Prayer is a gift from God without substitute. It is the key to the unlimited resources of God. Satan does mind what we do as long as leave the power of Almighty God out of it. Prayer in the hand of faith, is the key to the immeasurable, unimaginable resources of God. Like Judson Cornwall stated, “Empty hearts, prayer-less spirits, tired bodies, undisciplined minds, unopened Bibles, and careless attitudes have ruined more worship services then all the demonic activity of Hell.