Prayer is very close to my heart and I've felt the Holy Spirit prompt me, to write something on it to stir your heart. When ever I read about revival, it has always been preceded by intense prayer.
There was this time in history, in the early 19th century , in Wales, where a handful of men sought God in a barn ,plus a couple of elderly women who prayed in their home earnestly for God to touch their nation. From this came an amazing revival ,people began to fall down in the streets and cry out to God. The police station was surrounded with people seeking prayer because of conviction of sin. It's told that the donkeys in the mine were confused as they were so used to abuse and bad language ,they didn't know how to follow orders when spoken to by converted men. The local pubs and the gambling houses shut down because of little patronage .
Even earlier in America in 1857, God spoke to a man about starting a lunch time prayer meeting in New York City which grew in momentum so much so, that many people had to stand in the street outside as there wasn't enough room. These noonday prayer meetings were started in Philadelphia and other cities and in Philadelphia it was said, that three thousand people gathered for those lunchtime meetings and in Chicago over two thousand were in attendance day by day.
This was in the time of Charles Finney’s meetings and one day a man from Omaha, Nebraska arose and said " on my journey East I have found a continuous prayer meeting all the way. We call it a two thousand miles prayer meeting because that's the distance between Omaha and Boston."
Rev John Shearer in his book on " Old time revivals " said "In answer to the church's united cry, ascending from all parts of the land , the Spirit of God in a very quiet way, suddenly moved throughout the whole of the United States ,renewed the church's life, and awakened in the community around it a great thirst for God. When the church awoke to the full consciousness of the miracle , it found that from East and West and from North and South, the whole land was alive with daily prayer meetings. It was during these prayer meetings that the great majority of conversions, of all ages, took place. The Divine fire appeared in the most unlikely quarters."
C H Spurgeon commented on this great move of the Spirit. "In the city of New York at this present time, there is not one single hour of the day where Christians are not gathered for prayer. One church opens it doors from 5 am till 6 am, and another church from 6-7 and so on through the day and people would come and pray on the way to work or as they were able. What is most marvelous, at high noon from twelve to one, in the heart of New York City, business men and women came and prayed with many hundreds in the street not able to get in. "
The prayer meeting became one of the institutions of the city. When people visited New York they visited the prayer meetings not the theatre! On returning to their homes similar meetings were set up and the same displays of Grace were seen all over the country.
What ever happened to today's church? Jesus said my Fathers house shall be called a "house of prayer for all Nations " Mark 12v17. As I travel from country to country, I see very little desire for Gods people to come together in prayer. Surely today ,more than ever ,there is a desperate need for prayer everywhere you look. Paul writes to Timothy chapter 2 verse 1, Therefore I exhort first of all , that supplications, prayers, intercessions and giving of thanks be made for all men, verse 2 for Kings and all who are in authority ,that we may lead a quiet and peaceful life in all godliness and reverence. v3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
When we look at our nation Australia do we not see the need to intercede? There's an old saying " charity begins at home " so let's start here and cry out to God for our own nation first. Of course we need to pray for the Middle East and African nations, Israel and many others but God has placed us here (wherever that is) so start here! Moses was a great leader and his prayer on behalf of his people is a good example for us.
I'm a great believer in corporate prayer, because the bible says when two or three are gathered together in My name I am there in the midst of you. Also when two or three agree concerning any one thing it shall be done for them by My Father in heaven. Matthew ch 18 v 19 & 20.
2 Chronicles ch 7 v 14 is another great promise from God but look at the conditions we need to fulfill. Nothing comes without a price and today that is the problem too few, want to pay any price to follow God. We are so consumed with our own desires not with His. God forgive us all ,for the sin of prayerlessness and help us to repent and cry before the porch and the altar for the souls of men. Joel ch 2-17. verse 12 says " Now therefore " says the Lord " turn to me with ALL your heart, with fasting, with weeping and with mourning." So rend your heart and not your garments; return to the Lord your God , For He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and of great kindness and He relents from doing harm.
This year lets make it a priority to be in more prayer meetings , even combined ones across our cities humbling ourselves before God and standing in the gap for our nation and it's leaders.
Daphne Hay. Gold Coast Australia.