Last weekend was the second of our twenty-four hour prayer times at Ebenezer. We began praying at 8.00am on Saturday and prayed pretty much (there was a small gap on Saturday evening) right through until 8.00am on Sunday. We had the hour slots listed at the back of the church and people volunteered to pray for a specified time with the Youth Group keen to pray through the night!
The number of folk prepared to pray was very encouraging and from the feedback that I have received, it seems that the twenty-four hours of prayer has been a precious time for many. To pray with others for a common purpose, is both inspiring and humbling and we should not be surprised when we feel so blessed after spending time with the Lord. It is my hope that this marks the ‘end of the beginning’ rather than simply ‘the end’ of our season of prayer and that prayer is given a higher priority for us as individuals, small groups and as a church.
It is all too easy to see the work of evangelism as a series of problems that require solutions and then to apply ourselves in bringing the solutions and problems together. This way of thinking misses the point. Evangelism is necessary because there is a deep spiritual need in our communities and many of the problems that we see are the symptoms of this deeper spiritual problem. There is not a quick fix that can sort things out; the problems we face should drive us to our knees as we intercede for our communities.
Prayer and action must go hand in hand and we will of course have to plan and seek to find practical solutions for some of the problems that we face. Salvation is a work of the Holy Spirit and whatever means we use to share the Good News of Jesus must surely be covered in prayer.
It is a great source of encouragement to hear of revivals in other parts of the world, in Africa, South America and Asia and while it is thrilling to hear of such blessing it must spur us on to pray for our own land. The need is great.
In 1904 there was a great move of the Holy Spirit in Wales. Christians at that time did not have access to the technological resources that we have today and in fact the only special measures that they seem to have taken was to have extremely long meetings. What made the meetings extraordinary is the fact the God saved 100,000 people. Wales is today in a similar state as it was prior to the 1904-5 revival. God can do it again; in fact he can do even more in our day. Let us be faithful in prayer as we ask the Lord to change our communities, to pour out his Spirit and bring salvation.