If It's Worth It, It's Worth It
It's time for a meeting with God
How much time do you spend in prayer? Do you find it hard to concentrate in prayer for more than a few minutes at a time? It is said of John Wesley that he arose each morning at 4:00 a.m. and spent the next four hours in prayer. He would begin his day of service to the Lord at 8:00 a.m., but that was preceded by hours of private, personal prayer to God.
You would be hard pressed to find many prayer warriors like that today. I know this though. That initial four hours of prayer was the secret to John Wesley's power. Every great Christian from Moses down to the present day owed their spiritual success to deep prayer lives. I would also like to point out that Moses was no different than you and me. If he could have the power of God on his life, so can you and I, but the path is hard. It is a path to be stepped out on our knees. A wise man once said, :you cannot fall when you're on your knees."
In preparation for The Great American Fast, my church held an all-night prayer meeting. We long to see the presence of God manifested in our nation once again. If it is worth having, it is worth any sacrifice that might be involved. An all-night prayer meeting was something new for many of the people, but it was a tremendous blessing. For six hours in the middle of the night we prayed and praised God. Think it was boring? - think again. It was definitely worth it.
The time went too quickly. Still we met with God. His presence was evident and for those who had never experienced a time of all night prayer before, it was a wonderful blessing.
The night began at 10:00 p.m. The added blessing for me was that only three of our people did not attend. It was nearly 100% attended. I was truly thankful for the way God worked in our church right from the beginning.
We opened with a time of praise focusing on God's person, not ourselves. Individuals were encouraged to thank God for who He is. Things like a powerful God, an all-loving God, an unchanging God were mentioned. After each praise, the participant was able to request a favorite hymn to sing.
Before we got into serious prayer the video, The Revival Hymn, was shown. This is a very powerful video using sermon excerpts from powerful men of God from the past. Among others, Leonard Ravenhill, A. W. Tozer, and Duncan Campbell were featured.Their heart-cry for revival and brokenness led us into the next session of the evening. Now serious prayer would begin.
The first prayer session of the night focused on us as individuals. We spread out in the church and on the grounds to seek God alone. it was a time of confession and cleansing which was needed by all. Our church is located by a stream, and it was so peaceful to stand beside the stream at 1:00 o'clock in the morning and talk with God as I also listened to the calming waters trickle down its mountain path. Once we were right with God, we were ready to continue.
Next we took time to focus on church needs. As we gathered together in a group we lifted our petitions to the Lord for lost family and friends, church growth, the town, and many other things. It was a blessed time as one by one we prayed the burdens of our heart fully expecting God to work. There is power in prayer. Jesus said in Matthew 18:20, "For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them."It was wonderful to be in God's house with God's people having Him in our midst.
We are told in Leviticus 26:8, " And five of you shall chase an hundred, and an hundred of you shall put ten thousand to flight: and your enemies shall fall before you by the sword." It was just as wonderful knowing that He heard us and that He already was acting on our behalf.
After a time of praying for our church and ministry needs we took a short break and enjoyed a snack and some fellowship - back to our knees.
The next session of prayer was geared toward The Great American Fast. Some of you know about the Fast that will be taking place this weekend. We focused on the speakers; protection from the evil one, that the prayer times would be powerful, etc.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with The Great American Fast, the Fast is a yearly, nation-wide prayer effort seeking the presence of God on behalf of our nation. It takes place the first weekend in September of each year. You can learn more about it at www.thegreatamericanfast.org.
Although we spent time praying for TGAF that night, it blessed my heart to receive an email from a member of TGAF expressing the burden of their heart. I believe it sums up the spirit of TGAF and would like to share part of it with you.
". . . Ezekiel 36 "I do not do this for your sake, O house of Israel, but for My holy name's sake which you have profaned among the nations." He says throughout the chapter that He is working for the sake of making His name great, not for us . . . . Surely we are on the brink of something big. Whatever is to be or not to be, we must pray that God's name is exalted and that our repentance and return to God do just that . . . .
"Lord God, this is a pivotal time in our nation. And we the Church, . . We are your Bride, yet we have tarnished your name. We have left our passion for you. We've become lukewarm. You are ready, perhaps, to spew us out of your mouth. God bring us low, and exalt yourself, your great name above all the earth. Exalt yourself in our hearts. I pray the Church would fall down off the throne of their own lives, and bow at your feet. Lord however you move in this season in America, whether judgment or not, may we feel the anguish of our sin, and the anguished burden for the lost, and know with every fiber of our being, that we need to be utterly dependent, faithful and obedient to you. And I pray that it would be done, willingly, fearfully, joyfully,tearfully, prayerfully, even when it hurts. Even when it really hurts bad . . . ."
We closed out the night at 4:00 a.m. by praying for each other. Each one was asked how we could best pray for them. Then as the Spirit led we prayed for each one in attendance. It truly was a powerful time. Even as I write this, I am afraid some may misunderstand. The power was not in ourselves, but in the God of Heaven. It is not about a group of people meeting to pray, but it is about the God of the group of people. He is real. He is present. He is working, and will continue to work as we seek Him only for His purposes and glory. If it's worth it, it's worth it - and it is!
Now it is your turn. Go to your pastor and organize an all-night prayer meeting at your church. You are the pastor - set the saints to praying and watch what God will do!
Have you ever attended an all-night prayer meeting?
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