A challenging word from Evangelist Michael Gott on the importance of intercessory prayer. For a printable PDF version of this document click here. The Prayers of the Upright
THE PRAYERS OF THE UPRIGHT
The Revised English Bible phrases Proverbs 15:8 wonderfully, “… the prayers of the upright win his favor.” That is now what I fall back on: your heart is “upright” so your prayers “win his favor” and we win the victory with God-honoring music and Biblical preaching.
One can build a strong case for the fact that effective evangelism hangs on the anointed preaching of God’s Word; but He has made the powerful preaching of His Word directly related to the fervent prayers of His people. This simply underlines the awesome place of militant intercessory prayer in the grand purpose of God in every generation. It would seem the triumph of evangelism based on the preaching of God’s Word does not come without this kind of passionate praying. It is easy to see this for it is clearly laid out in the New Testament related to the spread of the gospel.
“Pray all the time. Ask God for anything in line with the Holy Spirit’s wishes. Plead with him … Pray for me, too, and ask God to give me the right words as I boldly tell others about the Lord …” (Ephesians 6:18-19, Living Bible)
“Don’t be weary in prayer; keep at it … Don’t forget to pray for us too, that God will give us many chances to preach the Good News of Christ …” (Colossians 4:2-3, Living Bible)
“I ask you to pray for us. Pray first that the Lord’s message will spread rapidly and triumph wherever it goes, winning converts everywhere …” (II Thessalonians 3:1-2, Living Bible)
All these verses of Scripture show us the awesome place prayer has related to effective evangelism. I take this to mean that God is saying to us that He does not expect the gospel will succeed, as He desires, without our fervent prayer—mighty, prevailing prayer.
We have a mission—we are on the earth to resist the forces of darkness and to totally rout them! Prayer is our weapon to see that it happens—we are at war! Now, here, in my opinion, the whole matter is won or lost. There—in the “war room” of prayer. Please read on carefully. God’s people today need to learn the spirit of “militancy” in prayer. Prayer is spiritual battle—it is striking the winning blow against Satan’s forces. Luther called prayer “the mightiest of all weapons.” Do we see prayer as a mighty weapon today? — I fear not! I often quote E. M. Bounds, “Prayer can do anything that God can do.” Pray and enter the battlefield.
The Scotsman Thomas Chalmers, whose church I once passed daily while living in Scotland, masterfully said, “Prayer does not enable us to do a greater work for God. Prayer is the greater work for God.” Prayer is direct confrontation on the frontlines!
To pray for souls to be saved and have no program of evangelism is to boldly mock God. But to do evangelism without prayer is to blindly rob God of His glory and to confer it to ourselves.
Prayer is a frontal attack against the kingdom of darkness. But without the element of spiritual warfare and spirit of militancy we have not really learned true prayer! Dare I say it?—I must—real prayer is all-out spiritual warfare. Therefore, there is too much tame, lame praying today. We must see it that way and intensely pray.
There is no winning without warfare, there is no triumph without travail, and there is no conquest without collision! The battle is won on our knees. I am reminded of an article called “What’s Holding Up World Evangelization?” written in the late 80’s by Jim Reapsome. His insights reveal all I am trying to now say, “Where is the church’s concept of militancy, of a mighty army willing to suffer, moving ahead with exultant determination to take the world by storm? Where is the risk-taking, the launching out on God alone?” We must pray with a militant mind-set and do evangelism as if we were going to war! Spurgeon said, “I have never won an inch of the way to heaven without fighting for it.” Billy Graham joins the chorus declaring, “Jesus invited us not to a picnic but to a pilgrimage; not to a frolic but to a fight.” So that gives me greater boldness to say—our praying is too tame! Let’s win on our knees!
Kneel and see billions in the world blinded spiritually by the devil. Get angry! See Satan filled with rage, inflicting pain on the people of God. Don’t take it lying down! See the demons of darkness let loose from hell’s trapdoor to inflict horrible devastation in the world. Take up the weapon—prayer—and strike a blow for God!
The greatest need for this moment in time is a wartime mentality in prayer. Wage war against the devil! There is an amazing list of words thought of by Patrick Johnstone in his book Operation World. He says our praying should be “outward-looking, Satan-shaking, captive-releasing, kingdom-taking, revival-giving, Christ-glorifying power channels for God.” I do envision God’s people crying out to Him “day and night” as God awakens us to the conflict before us and the war waged all around us. May we wholeheartedly believe in the awesome power of prayer and how strategic it is to reach people with the message of Jesus as the only Savior of lost mankind.