Because of prayer
The prayer of a person living right with God is something powerful to be reckoned with.” (James 5:16, The Message )
“The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” (James 5:16, NKJV)
Recently, one of our prayer partners wrote to express concern about the drifting of our world from our traditional and “godly” roots to secularism, Darwinism, and godlessness. “God is slowly being taken out of pretty much every public arena.”
Each year, it seems that the state of the world worsens. The entertainment industry is sinking to new lows. Current interpretations of the law and newspaper articles seem to present unrelenting attacks on morals, ethics and Christian values.
Why pray, anyway?
A recent USA Today headline read: “Evangelical label is gaining a negative tone.” Public opinion polls in England and the United States show that the term is seen as negative, extremist and linked to the ‘hard right,’ rather than referring to believers seeking to save the lost and serve all in need.
In addition, a recent poll on AOL revealed that 32 percent thought organized religion should have more influence in the US, 52 percent less and only 16 percent the same.
So why should we be surprised at what we read or see on TV that shows a decline in what once were unquestioned values?
How should we be affected? What is our response? One must remember that while the media represents itself as being neutral and unbiased, a review of the column inches and media time given to the support of religion is way out of balance. Some individual reporters do have a deep faith, but that doesn’t sell newspapers or media time. Controversy sells newspapers.
The moderate Christian is not controversial, so is not heard as often as the extremist. I keep wondering where these extremist, narrow-minded, bigoted Christians are? Most of the people I know are quietly living their faith, and loving God. But then, believers are often the “silent majority.”
Evil gets “good press.” The silent majority needs to realize that what we stand for and how we live will never sell newspapers or much TV time. While we don’t hear much about how God is answering the faithful, fervent prayers of his people, he is! God is doing powerful things in the lives of hurting and troubled people.
Corps have prayer cells and prayer chains, quietly bringing before God the problems of people. ARCs are seeing life-changing miracles take place in hardened ex-prisoners who are becoming transformed by the grace of God into gentle, grateful followers of Jesus.
In the last few years, a prayer ministry has been quietly growing around the world. It’s called 24/7. The thrilling story of the movement is in the book Red Moon Rising by Pete Greig and Dave Roberts. It traces the beginnings of how small groups of people began to pray and huge changes began to take place.
Some trace the fall of Communism to diplomacy or other reasons. Most media ignore the fact that the East German church began to mobilize prayers for peace, and in 1989 a prayer rally in Leipzig attracted 300,000 people. One communist official admitted to a journalist: “We were prepared for every eventuality, but not for candles and not for prayers.” Ever hear about this reason for the fall of Communism? Neither did I!
24/7 started with a group of young people gathering in odd and unusual places—like church basements, warehouses, and empty buildings—to pray. They started the movement because they were tired of their cold and lifeless churches and wanted to pray for a New Testament revival, 24 hours a day, for a week—hence 24/7. Young people from the fringes came in: addicts, alcoholics, and other wanderers from the mainstream of society. None of them would call themselves “righteous” but their prayers are having a powerful effect on themselves and others.
The ministry has grown to be, as one writer says, “One of the most out-of-control God-things, anywhere on the planet at the moment.”
In his devotional book, Hope for each Day, Billy Graham reminds readers, “Even when times are bleak and the world scorns God, he still works through the prayers of his people. Pray for revival in your nation and around the world.”