prayer

History Belongs to the Intercessors, Part 1: Our Need for Prayer

10 March 2023

4.6 MINS

Prayer is essential for God’s will to be done, His kingdom to be established on earth as it is in Heaven.

Behind the greatest evangelist of the Second Great Awakening — Charles Finney — knelt a man of intercession: Daniel Nash.

Finney, through his passionate appeals for people to come to God, saw hundreds of thousands of conversions happen all over New York and beyond in the early 1800s. Unknown to most, this move of God contained a secret weapon. Nash.

Weeks in advance of an outreach by Finney, intercessor Nash — along with Abel Clary — would come, praying within the community, crying out and asking God for His intervention in the hearts of men.

Nash had been a burned-out pastor. But through prayer during an illness, he found personal revival with God. And through prayer, would go on to fuel a national revival.

History belongs to the intercessors — we are the ones who are really stirring up national revival and change.

A Nation in Crisis

We are now in 2022 — a long time past the days of Charles Finney and Daniel Nash. But our nation is in more need now than even then.

It has been 246 years since 1776 when our republic was born. The founders of this republic gave us a gift, and we have a responsibility to protect it and keep it.

In 4 short years, America will be 250 years old — the only democratic republic in history that has survived this long.

This is a pivotal moment, and we all know as Christians with discernment that America is at a crisis point. Will we make it to America’s 250th birthday?

When we think about America right now — the decay in our educational systems, media, entertainment, government, business ethics, and more, we must look ourselves straight in the face and realise that we, as believers in Jesus, are not having the greatest impact on our culture.

Why is that?

National Prayerlessness

I believe the root of this failure is our individual loss of a daily connection with God.

We don’t pray. We don’t spend time with Jesus.

We have many weaknesses in the modern Western Church, but none is as glaring as our national prayerlessness.

If we are honest, the last few years have been an eye-opener within the Church. We have been exposed by fear and unbelief and have seen our personal tendencies to run to anything but God in the middle of a national crisis.

If God doesn’t awaken the Church in this hour in history, we are in trouble.

And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. (Romans 13:11)

Back to the Basics

Prayer. It is the first spiritual discipline that we all think we know and understand — but really, few of us do.

If we truly understood prayer and realised the value of it, we would prioritise it in our lives and in our local churches. Unfortunately, in our modern Western church culture, our prayer meetings are the smallest gathering on our weekly or even monthly calendars. They are obviously not sexy or entertaining enough.

A woman told me the other day that she is a member of a church with over 3,000 members and their weekly prayer meeting has only two people attending it.

Let’s take a moment to think about prayer in our local churches.

Does your church have a corporate prayer meeting? How often is the prayer meeting? How many people come to it?

Just those questions alone are exposing to the modern church. But when we pile on thinking about the reality of our own devotional lives, we can all see the weakness.

Prayerlessness is rooted in a key problem: We don’t really believe prayer works. 

If we really believed in prayer, the effectiveness of prayer would absolutely change everything in our lives. Our calendars, our priorities, and our goals. Everything!

E.M. Bounds — the famous 19th century Methodist Episcopal pastor — said this:

God shapes the world by prayer. The more praying there is in the world the better the world will be, the mightier the forces against evil… The prayers of God’s saints are the capital stock of heaven by which God carries on His great work upon earth. God conditions the very life and prosperity of His cause on prayer.

Prayer is a Real Commodity

Have you thought about prayer being a commodity of Heaven before? It is tangible and real.

Let’s read this:

Now when He (the Lamb) had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. (Revelation 5:8)

Look at this powerful picture of the golden bowls full of incense — holding the real tangible prayers of the saints.

When we pray, God hears us, and He collects those prayers. This is an incredible picture of prayer that is something that we can get our heads around.

Prayer is a real commodity.

Just like we go to the bank and deposit a check — prayer is a deposit. Just like we look at our investments on our phones and buy and sell stock — prayer is a stock purchase. Just like we invest in our marriage by spending time with our spouse — prayer is an investment in relationship.

If the world is going to see revival — and better yet, another Great Awakening — we need to cry out to God. We need to ask Him to grow faith in our hearts to believe that when we talk to Him, He hears us. And that when we petition Him, it changes hearts and lives.

This is what the world needs in this hour of history.

The world needs a praying Church.

Prayer is Action — Not Just a Spiritual Buzzword

This is my personal mandate from the Lord for this season: “Go find the awakening church and plug them into simple habits of prayer, voting, and engagement.”

When our little team of politically active Christians started Christians Engaged a few years ago, we identified three areas of weakness in the American church that we felt called to strengthen:

  1. Habitual prayer for our cities, states, and nation including our elected officials.
  2. A call for believers to vote in every election and to vote biblical values, and
  3. Encouragement for Christians to engage in our culture and take action to be “salt and light” in every space of influence.

Prayer wasn’t just a spiritual buzzword that we picked to talk about something spiritual. No, prayer is the only thing that really matters!

What the World Needs Most

In reality, prayer is the only thing that can change our nation.

Hearts are only open to God through prayer. Cities are truly impacted through prayer. Systems can only be reformed by people of wisdom who are covered in prayer.

What does the world need in this important moment in history?

The world needs YOU! Your participation. Your heart. Your care. Your prayers. Your votes. Your engagement in the culture.

Your intercession.

What is an intercessor? We answer that in Part Two of our History Belongs to the Intercessors series.

___

Originally published at The Stream. Photo by Eduardo Dutra.

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One Comment

  1. Stan 10 March 2023 at 10:58 am - Reply

    I love it

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