That prayer meeting in the local church tends to be poorly attended is an understatement. Every local church I have been associated with over the past 35 years affirms this to be true. That’s unfortunate because nothing is more powerful than the people of God coming together to pray.
To grasp the importance of prayer in the life of Christians, we have only to look at the public life of Jesus. Sometimes, He prayed all night long. He did not pray merely as some religious activity. Jesus prayed because He had to pray.
Yes, I know He was God manifested in the flesh. But Jesus did not minister as God while on earth. He ministered as a servant of God in human flesh. And when you are a servant of God in human flesh you have to pray. Prayer was a vital key to the victorious life Jesus lived while on earth in human flesh.
If that was true about Him, how much more true should that be for us?
In Luke’s record of the gospel, he records an event when Jesus was praying before being apprehended. “And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him” (Luke 22:43). Now we know God does not need to be strengthened. But again, Jesus ministered as a servant while on earth. Accordingly, He became physically weak at times. It was through prayer that He received the needed strength from heaven. This instance is a clear example of the importance of prayer during the public ministry of Jesus.
As I mentioned earlier, sometimes Jesus prayed all night long (see Luke 6:12, for example). I believe one of the reasons He prayed so long was because He loved being in the presence of His heavenly Father. Another reason has to do with the magnitude of His mission. God sent Him to be the Savior of the world. The fate of the world was upon Him. I’m saying that the greater our divinely appointed mission, the more devoted to prayer we need to be. As Jesus puts it, to the one much is given, much is required.
The devil understood the implications of Jesus’ mission. Satan’s goal was to smite the Shepherd so the sheep would be forever lost. The same is true about those of us whom God has called to be shepherds to His people today. It is imperative that we understand and appreciate the importance of prayer if we want to effectively accomplish what God has called us to do.
As a young Christian, I used to hear some church folks say “much prayer, much power; little prayer, little power; no prayer, no power.” Of course, that’s overstating the point, but you get the point. Prayer ushers us in the presence of God. And in His presence, supernatural things happen to us, through us, and for us. As Jesus did on earth, let us embrace the amazing power of passionate communion with God through prayer.
Frank King is pastor of the English-speaking congregation at the Hinesville Korean Full Gospel Church, 758 Tupelo Trail, Hinesville, GA, 31313.