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THE HERALD

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Rev. Stephen Snodgrass

January- Feb 2011ssnodgrass

Prayer- The Church's Need

Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
(1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)

When asked by a doctoral student at Princeton, “what is there left in the world for original dissertation research?” Albert Einstein replied, “Find out about prayer. Somebody must find out about prayer.”

In a day when, the church is seeking for greater glory for itself; bigger buildings, programs that surpass that of the governments, nicer budgets, friendlier staff, more eloquent speakers, more comfortable settings, we are missing the commission that God has called us to. To be a called-out people, to be a God-fearing people, to be a Bible-teaching people…to be a praying people.

 

Over the past few months, it has been a growing concern that the church is losing its vision of prayer. The traditional mid-week prayer services have been replaced with programs that border more on social content rather than a spiritual emphasis. Long gone are the men’s prayer meetings on Sunday morning. The prayer rooms that once rang out the cries of God’s people before a service, seeking God’s Presence, conviction of sinners and anointment of the minister, are now silent. The volume of prayer that could be heard outside the church when we would pray collectively, is now replaced by the lone leader as we sit in silence.

The question that we must ask ourselves is this: Are we better? Are we seeing God work in bigger and better ways? Are we having better revivals? Are more souls being brought into the Kingdom? I believe if the church as a whole were to answer these questions honestly we will come to sad conclusions.

Who is the John Hyde of today? Dr. J. Wilber Chapman recalls preaching in Hereford, England. For days there was a signal absence of power and conviction of sin. “But when John Hyde came there, God came to town,” said Chapman. God and Hyde walked together. As a result, when Chapman made the appeal on the first night after Hyde was in that town, fifty men came to Christ. Chapman begged Hyde, “Pray for me.” Into a room these two men went; Hyde turned the key in the door, turned his face up to God, then turned the fountains of his great heart open. Chapman adds, “I felt the hot tears running down my face. I knew I was with God. With upturned face, down which the tears were streaming, John Hyde said two words: ‘Oh God!’ For five minutes at least, he was still again, and then when knew he was talking with God, his arm went around my shoulder, and there came up from the depth of his heart such petitions for men as I have never before heard. I rose from my knees to know what real prayer was.”

Pastors, it is your call and duty to lead your flock in the place of prayer. In 1750, Thomas Manton wrote, “Like priest, like people; O ye ministers of the Word, consider well that you are the first sheets from the king’s press. Others are printed after your copy. If the first sheet be well set, a thousand more are stamped with ease. See, then, that the power of religion prevail over your own hearts, lest you not only lose your own souls but cause the ruin of others.”

Sunday School leaders, it is your call and duty to teach those under your care about prayer. To pray without ceasing. Reminding those under our charge that we are solely dependent upon our Heavenly Father for every breath and everyday strength.

Parents, lead by example in the place of prayer. Tell your children of the times of old, when God’s power was motivated by the prayers of His people. Tell them of the all-night prayer meetings when God came and sinners were convicted. Let them know that it is possible today and then led by example.

If we are to have a spiritual awakening, it will be brought about by the prayers of God’s people. If our churches are to bear fruit, it will be because of prayer. It will take more than whispering a prayer in the morning, noon and evening to keep our heart in tune. That makes for a good singing, but what we need today is earnest, fervent, effectual praying. So, child of God, join with me, as call up God to heal our land, revive our vision and save our children. My heart cries to see God move as has He did in the past. I’ve had a taste of the Glory and no substitute will do for me. This kind only comes by prayer and fasting. May God help us to be a people of prayer.

Past Articles

Special Article-Feb 2011
Nov./Dec 2010
Sept/October 2010
July/August 2010
May/June 2010
Mar/April 2010
Feburary 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009