Tuesday, November 05, 2013

A Call to Prayer, by Jim Venable

“Prayer is the primary work of God’s people.
“We believe that nothing of lasting value can be done unless it is bathed in prayer. So passionate was his belief that prayer undergirds all ministry, Alliance founder A. B. Simpson was compelled to create a prayer league to focus on the world’s evangelization. He believed that the Prayer Alliance would “prove to be the mightiest force in the spread of missions;” that force still drives The Alliance today.” 

The words above are taken directly from the CMA core values. What an amazing legacy to have inherited. Our spiritual inheritance regarding prayer is built on the foundation made up of not only the practice of the man, but on the Spirit-birthed reality that God is mysteriously energized and released to act by the fervent prayers of a sanctified people.

On the other hand, these words present me personally with the daunting challenge to bathe in prayer everything that is worthy of “lasting value.” I know these words should be found in my list of personal core values. But before I affirm that notion, I must carefully consider what that would mean. If I am truly a Follower of the Way and am moving, as the words of the old Petra song declare, to a place “Beyond Belief,” does an examination of my life support that prayer is one of my personal core practices? If you looked at my life would there be sufficient evidence to convict me of prayerfulness?

Perhaps you have felt yourself wrestling with this same dilemma- you value prayer, and you desire to pray, but in practice, you don't pray all that much! What should we do? I know I am at a loss as how to reconcile the desire of wanting to see God reform His Church and vitalize His people with the delight of knowing that is the very thing He is doing. I know it can be done because there are those who breathe Spirit-Filled, God-Agreeing, Jesus-Pleasing, Scripture- Based prayers.

Many of us may have the desire to pray, but never experience the delight of prayer. It may be that we haven’t engaged in the discipline of prayer that empowers us to bridge the gap from desire to delight. Repetitive practice is the only way I know to discipline myself in any arena. I don’t believe prayer is any different. While there is not a “perfect” way to pray, I believe the following adage still applies:
“Practice does not make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect.”  (Vince Lombardi)

Prayer is perfected as we obey the commands of scripture to:
“Pray without ceasing” (I Thess. 5:17),            
“In everything give thanks (prayer)” (I Thess. 5:18),        
“Everything with breath, praise (prayer) the Lord” (Ps. 150:6),
Petition, intercede, supplicate in prayer (Phil. 4:6, I Tim. 2:1)

A “Call to Prayer,” held in Colorado Springs on August 30/31, not only modeled what a time to practice prayer could look like, but issued an unstated, but spiritually implied challenge to engage congregations in ongoing, family times of corporate prayer. As a result the first of several places and times to “practice” focused prayer is being offered during a 24-hour prayer event scheduled for November 15/16.

The local event will be kicked off with a Prayer Gathering to be held in the EHA Main Hall at 6:30pm on Friday evening and will culminate with the Saturday Evening Service, November 16.

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