Written by: Nico Bougas
Article source: JOY! Magazine

Drummond’s Bar began construction on an expansion of their building to increase their business. In response, the local Baptist church started a campaign to block the bar from expanding with petitions and prayers. Work progressed right up until the week before the grand reopening, when lightning struck the bar and it burnt to the ground.

After the bar burnt to the ground as a result of the lightning strike, the church folks were rather smug in their outlook, bragging about “the power of prayer”. Then the bar owner sued the church on the grounds that the church “was ultimately responsible for the demise of his building, either through direct or indirect actions or means.”

The judge’s response
In its reply to the court, the church vehemently denied all responsibility or any connection to the building’s demise. The judge read through the plaintiff’s complaint and the defendant’s reply, and at the opening hearing he commented, “I don’t know how I’m going to decide this, but it appears from the paperwork that we have a bar owner who believes in the power of prayer and an entire church congregation that now does not.”

The power of prayer
We can smile at the judges’ witty conclusion, but sadly Bible-believing Christians are often guilty of neglecting the power and effectiveness of prayer. We can all talk about prayer, sing about prayer, and be inspired by great stories about answers to prayer. But when it we get down to the actual practice of prayer, we are some distance away from the real deal. Why is it that despite Christians acknowledging the importance of prayer as the centrepiece of our faith, we still pray so little? Why is it that the church prayer meeting, if we have one, is the worst attended meeting in the church programme?

Christians are often guilty of neglecting the power and effectiveness of prayer.

Inadequate praying?
Perhaps you feel inadequate and incapable of praying powerful prayers. We need to remember that the power of prayer is not dependent on us as the pray-er, but on God who hears us and is able to do immeasurably more than we can ask or think.

Perhaps we do pray, but our prayers are just repetitive phrases centring on our immediate circle, “us four and no more.” We are then no better than the priests of Baal in their competition with Elijah when they called on the name of Baal from morning until noon, shouting, “O Baal, answer us!” But there was no sound, and no one answered as they leapt around the altar they had made. As Jesus said, “When you pray, don’t babble on and on as the Gentiles do. They think their prayers are answered merely by repeating their words again and again” – Matt 6:7

The church needs to pray
What the Christian church needs today is not bigger and better methods. It does not need more advanced techniques and superstar personalities. It needs men and women of prayer. People that know how to pour their hearts out to God and are fully reliant on Him to do immeasurably more than we can ask or think.
“The one concern of the devil is to keep Christians from praying. He fears nothing from prayerless studies, prayerless work, and prayerless religion. He laughs at our toil, mocks at our wisdom, but trembles when we pray.” – Samuel Chadwick, former Principal of Cliff College.

Nico Bougas is the International Director of Development of Hellenic Ministries. Email him on Nico@bougas.info, visit hellenicministries.com

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