PRAYER, PLANS, & PURPOSE
“Protect your people as they are traveling to and from church this morning.”
“Bless them, Father in all they do.”
“Pour out your Spirit this morning.”
“We cry out for revival!”
We hear these expressions or some form of them a lot in prayer, don’t we?
But we have to understand that some things we pray for we already have from the promises of the Word. We just need to meet the conditions. Other things we must learn to yield and flow with God’s plan and purpose for our lives and get His direction on. The same would apply to our church services and times of assembling.
For example, one preacher prepared a mother’s day sermon, but the Lord wanted to have a healing service. The preacher was wrestling with this thought. Well, the man could’ve prayed and prayed for God to anoint his message and the service, but God had another plan. His plan is already blessed and anointed. Our responsibility is to find His plan and flow with His plan.
Many prayers are wasted because we are not sensitive to what the Lord wants to do or even what or how to pray. We pray far too much with our own understanding and far too little with our spirits or in our prayer language of tongues. Sometimes it’s not more prayer we need, but more faith and learning to yield to the Holy Spirit. If all our prayers were fruitful we’d be having revival all over the world. Sadly, they’re not.
And it’s not how long our prayer chain is or how many people we can get to join us in prayer. Some 24/7 prayer movements have been nearly fruitless. Why? Because we don’t know how to pray as we ought (Romans 8:26) for results. We basically ignore the One called to help us pray effectively. Some of what Christians pray is unscriptural or the Word already gives us the answer. Jesus said all it takes 2 or 3 to get the job done (Matt 18:19). A husband and wife is enough to scatter every devil.
Worship can be the same. We sing too many songs like we are in a parade or we are conducting a concert. My old pastor use to call it 7-11 praise and worship. Sing the same 7 verses 11 times over. Haha! The familiarity of our programmed songs and music has dulled us. When the early Church came together they never knew what was going to happen. They were so open to the spontaneity and inspiration of the Spirit and eager to give out what they were receiving. Often they sang their own lyrics from their own heart, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. This is nearly a lost concept in the church today.
“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” (Colossians 3:16)
“How is it then, brethren? Whenever you come together, each of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification.” (1 Cor 14:26)
DIFFERENT PURPOSES FOR DIFFERENT MEETINGS
But not every meeting is to be like the one laid out in 1 Corinthians 14 above. In Acts 20 Paul preached long until a young man fell asleep near the window and fell out. The Word says he died but Paul raised him up. Apparently Paul had much to say and much knowledge to impart to the people to teach for so long, and power to go with it. Teaching is so vital to Christian growth. It’s what Jesus did the most. There is a time for that. If you’re having a teaching seminar, then teach. If you’re having a conference, define God’s purpose for that conference. You have to define the purpose of each meeting. If it’s a prayer meeting and you spend more time exhorting and talking than praying, then you’ve missed the purpose. If it’s an evangelistic meeting to reach sinners and you have a 1 Cor. 14 believers meeting then you’ve missed it.
In Acts 8 Philip preached an evangelistic campaign. The purpose was to have miracles and healings and save souls, and then get them all baptized with the Holy Ghost. Not every meeting or service is the same.
In 1 Cor. 14 it was mainly an assembly of believers. This is the purpose of our Holy Ghost Forums. It’s a 1 Cor. 14:26 format to teach and demonstrate the flow of the Holy Spirit by precept and example.
Stick with God’s purpose and you’ll see an increase in the glory and the anointing.
THINGS THAT KILL EFFECTUAL PRAYER
I’m appalled today at what passes for prayer. I’ve even been in fervent prayer meetings filled with passion and loud shouting, but most prayers were full of unbelief more than anything. They don’t know how to channel the power. What do I mean by that? I mean people pray around the world and say everything that comes into their minds. For instance, I was in a prayer meeting recently when several different people cried out for revival using different words and phrases — mostly cliches they heard others praying, which is common today. I call it learned behavior. But Charles Finney said that revival is no more of a miracle than a farmer preparing the ground, planting and watering the seed, and reaping a harvest. There are principles and conditions.
God’s new covenant plan is for believers to be continually filled with the Spirit, not to cry out for revival until they’re blue in the face. I know that will make the revival chasers mad, but it’s the truth. And I’m saying that as a revivalist myself and as a lifelong student of revival. But the higher way is for every believer to be continually filled with the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18-19).
We need to align ourselves with the Word of God and His instructions and conditions, not our own traditions. And believe me, Pentecostals and Charismatics have many of their own traditions, especially in these aforementioned areas.
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