By Dave Butts
I love this statement from S.D. Gordon on the power of prayer: “The great people of the earth today are the people who pray! I do not mean those who talk about prayer; nor those who say they believe in prayer; nor those who explain prayer; but I mean those who actually take the time to pray. They have not time. It must be taken from something else. That something else is important, very important and pressing, but still, less important and pressing than prayer. There are people who put prayer first, and group the other items in life’s schedule around and after prayer. These are the people today who are doing the most for God in winning souls, in solving problems, in awakening churches, in supplying both men and money for mission posts, in keeping fresh and strong their lives far off in sacrificial service on the foreign field, where the thickest fighting is going on, and in keeping the old earth sweet a little while longer.”
I do not doubt that there is still spiritual power in the Church today. Lives are being transformed by the preaching of the Gospel. The Church is still being used by God today to make a difference. But, there is so much more that could be happening! When we look at the first believers in Jerusalem, the difference in levels of power is obvious. It comes down to a biblical principle written by the James, the brother of Jesus: “You do not have because you do not ask God” (James 4:2)
As we move toward the end of the age, the Church must face the fact that it is only through the power of God that we will be able to stand against the onslaught of ungodliness that will come against us. As important as our words are, by themselves they are and will be insufficient. The Apostle Paul was very concerned that those who heard him would not just hear words, but see the power of God at work. “My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power.” (I Cor.2:4) When the Church begins to pray, we will once again see that demonstration of the Spirit’s power. “God shapes the world by prayer. The more prayer there is in the world the better the world will be, the mightier the forces against evil …” E.M. Bounds
Adapted from Forgotten Power by David Butts, PrayerShop Publishing 2016.