By Dave Butts
God is doing a new thing today. If you want to be “in” on what God is doing, you must begin praying with greater passion and intensity. If you want purpose and meaning to life, and if you want your life to really count for God and to make a difference in this world…PRAY! Prayer is what God is calling His people to do today as a part of His plan for this world.
God is moving all things toward completion. I don’t pretend to know when or how or any of the details that people often get so excited about. But I do know the key to the completion of God’s purposes on this planet. It is evangelism. And the key to evangelism is prayer. Let me show this to you through the words of Scripture:
Jesus said, “And this Gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all nations, and then the end will come” (Matthew 24:14). The Gospel is going to be preached to all nations…Jesus said so. If Jesus said it, I firmly believe it will happen. Sometime after the Gospel has been preached to the whole world, the end of all things will come. Evangelism is tied to the second coming of Christ. Without delving into issues of dates and times, the question for us today is, “Do we want to be a part of the fulfillment of Jesus’ words?”
Jesus ties together prayer and evangelism in Matthew 9:37-38: “Then He said to His disciples, ‘ The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into His harvest field.’” The instruction of Jesus to His disciples regarding reaching the lost is that it begins with prayer. There is certainly more to do after we have prayed. But evangelism will never be truly effective apart from the biblical beginning place of prayer.
The Apostle Paul continues this teaching in his first letter to Timothy: “I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone – for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:1-4). Notice that Paul urges that prayers be lifted up, because God wants everyone saved. Prayer and evangelism are brought together in a powerful way and linked to the very purposes of God.
Not to be left out, the Apostle John shows us in his unique way that prayer and evangelism are inextricably connected. There are two passages of Scripture in Revelation that you may not have noticed before that are exciting in their presentation of prayer and evangelism: “Each one has a harp and they are holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints” (Revelation 5:8). “Another angel, who had a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense to offer, with the prayers of all the saints, on the golden altar before the throne. The smoke of the incense, together with the prayers of the saints, went up before God from the angel’s hand” (Revelation 8:3-4).
After each of these incidents, in which the collected prayers of God’s people are poured out before God, angels are loosed upon the earth to cause events intended to bring people to repentance and salvation. God uses the prayers of His people to bring about the establishment of Christ’s Kingdom.
The second passage in Revelation comes in the midst of a half an hour of silence. Author Walter Wink explains the connection well: “Heaven itself falls silent. The heavenly hosts and celestial spheres suspend their ceaseless singing so that the prayers of the saints on earth can be heard. The seven angels of destiny cannot blow the signal of the next times to be until an eighth angel gathers these prayers…and mingles them with incense upon the altar. Silently they rise to the nostrils of God. Human beings have intervened in the heavenly liturgy. The uninterrupted flow of consequences is dammed for a moment. New alternatives become feasible. The unexpected becomes suddenly possible, because God’s people on earth have invoked heaven, the home of the possibles, and have been heard. What happens next, happens because people prayed. The message is clear: history belongs to the intercessors.”
Dick Eastman said it this way: “God’s ultimate purpose for mankind, the completion of Christ’s bride and the establishing of His eternal Kingdom on earth will result only from the release of the prayers of God’s saints.”
Graham Kendrick and Chris Robinson wrote the hymn, All Heaven Waits. See if their words call to your heart and stir within you a passion to be a person of prayer:
“All heaven waits with bated breath for saints on earth to pray,
Majestic angels ready stand with swords of fiery blade.
Astounding power awaits a word from God’s resplendent throne.
But God awaits our prayer of faith that cries, “Your will be done.”
PRAYER, PEACE, and the PRESENCE of GOD by David Butts
As believers, we are supposed to walk in the peace of Christ, yet we all have stressful issues and circumstances that rob us of this peace. Subtitled “A 30-Day Journey to Experience the Shalom of Jesus,” Prayer, Peace and the Presence of God powerfully encourages the reader on how to hold onto that peace in any circumstance.
The author, David Butts, started writing this book and 10 days into it he got word that he was in stage 4 with a rare form of lymphoma. God allowed him to live, in a greater way, what he is challenging readers to do in Prayer, Peace and the Presence of God.
His 30-day devotional will encourage, inspire and challenge you that you, too, can experience and walk in the peace of Jesus no matter what circumstances you are walking through.
A daily devotional on prayer. Each devotional includes an inspiring and challenging message on prayer, a prayer to pray and several scripture-based prayer points. Here is a note from one of our thousands of subscribers from all over the world: “Thank you for your faithfulness in service to the Kingdom of God!! These devotionals make a difference in my life as the Holy Spirit speaks to my heart!” – Diane H.
Each week we will email you some short tips and a resource to encourage and challenge you to go deeper in prayer.
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