A Korean pastor took us out for lunch one Sunday and we
commented on the strength of the church here. It was therefore a shock to hear
that their church history only goes back approximately 100-150 years or so. When
I asked the pastor why, he said that Christianity had had very little influence
here before the war which had practically decimated South Korea. However, in
desperation, the Koreans turned to the missionaries and asked what they should
do about rebuilding from the devastation. Their reply was -– "pray."
And pray they did. It is not for nothing that the Korean
church is called the 'praying church'. The other night, a Korean OM
representative stood up at prayer night and said that we would all now pray
Korean style for the Christians struggling in North Korea. He mentioned that if
we could hear our neighbours praying, then that wasn't Korean style. He wasn't
talking about being quiet either. He was saying that if we were praying softly
enough to distinguish the words of our neighbour's prayer, then we weren't
fervent enough! (The highest prayer on the Korean lips is, "Lord, please
reunite South Korea and North Korea". South Korea has been so blessed by the
Lord and yet all they can think of is when can they share the blessing with the
North Koreans! How incredible!)
Church growth doesn't particularly interest me as my
particular bent is more towards individual relationship with the Lord but
another day, we were taken on a tour through Yonggi Cho's church. It is the
largest in the world with a membership of 750,000. After our tour party had been
welcomed, our guide took us up to a video room with a large screen t.v. and
showed us a history of the church. Again, the factor that came through
consistently was prayer. When Pastor Cho was young, he had tuberculosis and
through prayer, God healed him. As he started to spend hours on his knees each
day, things started to happen in his life. People began to be healed through his
prayers and the church started to grow in leaps and bounds. He still spends
hours each day on his knees.
When we went to a service there later on in the week, it was
quite amazing to watch the people as they literally flowed into the main
sanctuary for the day's third service which we were attending. There was quite
a bit of noise and I thought that many people must be catching up on the week's
happenings but when I looked over the balcony, this was not the case. In every
direction, people were sitting in their seats praying quietly. Some of them were
'rocking' back and forth like the Jewish people who pray outside the Wailing
Wall in Jerusalem, but although I scanned the great audience intently, I saw few
people who were talking to their neighbours. To me, the atmosphere was noisy but
controlled, calm but with great anticipation, and joyful but holy. The climax
came when they finished the service with the congregation singing the 'Lord's
Prayer'. It would be difficult to adequately describe the way a heart can
swell in praise when one hears thousands of voices singing this wonderful piece
of music in 'one accord', as the old King James Version describes it.
What does prayer do and why does it have this kind of power?
As far as I know, prayer is simply 'talking with God'. The power that it
generates would appear to be a bonus from this communication. A parent whose
child obviously adores spending time with him/her, will make great efforts to
provide whatever is necessary to bring that same child great joy and the
advantages of life. God is no exception to the rule! He didn't portray Himself
in the Bible as Father for nothing.
Last night, my eldest daughter, Gemma, came to me in great
excitement and told me that a few days ago, she had said to the Lord, "Father,
You always answer my parent's prayers, would you please answer this one for
me?" and proceeded to make her request known. Yesterday, in an unusual way,
God answered her request and she was thrilled to see His love for her in action.
What continues to amaze me is how powerful such a small thing
can be. A simple request to God and time spent with Him enjoying His presence,
brings the peace that passes all understanding, simply because of the assurance
that God has undertaken to answer our prayers and requests. Philippians 4:6-7 says "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer
and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace
of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in
God answers prayer.
Leave a Reply
You must be logged in to post a comment.