Unless we are praying and spending time alone with God, we really can’t understand what it means to follow Christ. We are deceived by thinking that dynamic preaching, a good worship service, special music, great choruses and an outstanding church program are where it’s all at. But they’re not.
We see in the Bible that one of the strongest agendas God has is to get people all alone. For example, Jacob ran 20 years or more. Finally, when God got him alone, He could make him into Israel.
You see, when it is only God and you, you are more apt to face your pride and your sins. With everyone else we argue these things away and look wonderful and smile. But when we are all alone before God, we face ourselves, and the cleansing and purification will take place.
We become less phony the more we are with the Lord. I cannot tell you strongly enough that each of us must develop a very strong habit of prayer; otherwise, our Christian walk will greatly lack reality.
But this is only the first step in God’s agenda for each of our lives. The next step is for Him to show us the desperate faces of more than 2 billion people who are unreached with the Gospel. Each of them is created in the image of God with a soul that lives forever. Yet they are bound in the chains of sin and heading toward hell without knowing there is a name to call upon for salvation. God searches for those people who will stand in the gap on their behalf and intercede for their souls.
I am not talking about a little phrase we say at the dinner table: “Lord, please bless our food and our family, and save the poor heathens in Africa.” I am talking about entering into incredible spiritual warfare. This means going consciously into battle against the powers of darkness for the release and freedom of people who cannot help themselves and don’t have anyone else to fight for their deliverance.
It is basically the hardest, most agonizing and difficult job we can ever embrace—but the only one that guarantees absolute victory.
It is amazing how easily we can get people in the Body of Christ motivated to demonstrate, to wear T-shirts, to collect signatures or to raise money for a worthy cause. But it is the hardest thing to get them to pray for a world that is lost without Christ.
Why are our views and priorities so distorted? Why are we so easily distracted from the one thing that really would get the job done? The answer is because we are up against an enemy who knows what can hurt him the most! The devil is well aware that prayer is our most powerful weapon—it defeats him every time. With it, we touch heaven and cause the hand of God to move in a mighty way. Therefore, the devil would rather see us doing every other Christian activity instead.
At Gospel for Asia, both on the mission field and in the home office, we consistently experience that prayer is the quickest shortcut to victory. What would take us 50 years of struggles to accomplish, God can do in no time at all.
But how can you start, and what can you pray for? Just watch the news on TV or read the international page of a newspaper. Scribble on a piece of paper what is happening in Myanmar, Afghanistan, China and other nations. Start praying for the needs of these nations. Put up a world map in your house and get the book called Operation World by Patrick Johnstone, which gives you a lot of information on the spiritual conditions of each country. Take Gospel for Asia’s SEND! newsmagazine and other mission publications; go through them and make every article a matter of your intercession. Soon you will discover that 30 minutes, one hour or two hours will not be enough to even scratch the surface.
It is the incredible wisdom of our God to ordain prayer to be the most powerful weapon of the church. If He had chosen anything else—like preaching, singing, money or education—many of us could never participate in fighting the war.
But prayer doesn’t require any talent and can be done anywhere, anytime and by anyone. A housewife, a poor person, a child, a 90-year-old grandmother, an executive or a lonely believer in a nursing home all are able to change the world and help change the destiny of millions of people through prayer.
If the Lord has spoken to you today, please respond by doing just one thing: “Pray!”
Reflecting His Image © 1998, 2004 by KP Yohannan, the president and founder of Gospel for Asia. It was written with the intention of encouraging and edifying the Body of Christ. To learn more about Gospel for Asia or to receive additional free resources, visit Gospel for Asia’s website.