Now I’m going to say something harsh. If it offends you then join the club, because I was offended by it too – and then I confessed it to be true and began looking for a way to repent from it. Most of us do not believe that prayer works. In fact, we doubt that it does. We might say that we believe it, but we don’t. If we did, we’d be doing a lot more of it, and we’re not.
If we really thought that prayer had the power to change things, to change us, to change people, to change our circumstances, we’d be doing a lot of praying. Instead, I think that most of us believe that God is going to do whatever He’s going to do, and we’re going to have to just suck it up, and endure whatever He decides to do – and somehow, we’re supposed to get some joy out of that. Do you know what that is? It’s unbelief – and it’s rampant in the church.
Someone might say, “Wait a minute Rick. I pray every day.” And my response is. “But are you praying the way God instructs you to pray?” You’ve heard this before. Almost every verse about prayer in the New Testament is about corporate prayer – people in the church praying together. Only a very few verses are about praying by ourselves. So all that praying we say we’re doing by ourselves, and we’re still not following God’s specific instructions to us – and that’s disobedience. So very people few come to prayer meeting on Wednesday nights (or whatever day/time it’s scheduled) – far less than even 10% of the congregation, maybe less than 1%.
You say – but I can’t make it on Wednesday nights (or whatever day/time) – or I’m involved in another ministry. Fine, then what other day/time are you setting aside to regularly pray with others? God expects so much more from us, and somehow we’re surprised by that.
Paul says in Phil 1:19, “I’m counting on your prayers, church!” I’m counting on them because prayer changes things. It changes people. It changes hearts. It changes circumstances. Paul believes this biblical truth – that God does not move without the prayers of His people. He chooses not to. Rather He chooses to move in response to our praying.
Consider when Israel fought the Amalekites (Ex 17). When Moses lifted his hands in prayer, the Israelite’s were winning. When Moses lowered his arms and stopped praying, they were losing. God had all the power and could have destroyed the Amalekites with a word. However, He was teaching His people that He’s not going to move unless they’re praying. Why do we expect something different?
You want things to change – people to change – hearts to change? You have a choice. You either stop complaining, start believing, rearrange your schedule, and start praying regularly with others – or continue in your unbelief and watch things get worse and worse for you and the ones you love. You decide.