“Come and hear, all you who fear God, and I will tell what he has done for my soul. I cried to him with my mouth, and high praise was on my tongue. If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.  But truly God has listened; he has attended to the voice of my prayer. Blessed be God because he has not rejected my prayer or removed his steadfast love from me!” — Psalm 66:20-24

My wife and I have spent several years supporting the persecuted church around the world, and out of all the requests we hear from those who are imprisoned for their faith, this is always at the top of their list: “Please pray for us that we might endure.”

Stripped of all of their belongings, resources, little outside communication and many facing torture and death, they always relate how they were constantly buoyed up and encouraged upon learning that others are lifting them up in prayer to God daily. That knowledge and their own prayers, keeps them going.

We had the privilege of interviewing an older pastor from Ethiopia who spent several years in prison there for his faith while the country was under a Communist regime. He said at first they put him in with the general population but when the authorities learned that he and other Christians were witnessing to the other prisoners about Jesus, they decided to put all of the Christians together in their own cell block away from the others. He said that was great because then they were able to start a church on the inside and hold daily prayer meetings! He was released when the Communists were overthrown a year later. Prayer will do that!

Author Philip Yancey writes in his great book, Prayer, Does It Make Any Difference?, “If prayer stands as the place where God and human beings meet, then I must learn about prayer.” The church is the place where that learning should take place. It’s one of the most important steps in the discipleship process—and it’s indispensable.

Unfortunately and sadly, church prayer meetings and teachings on prayer are notably absent in many churches today, even though history tells us that every great awakening and revival of the church has started with prayer. One statistic said only 5% of churches hold a weekly corporate prayer meeting. The pastoral excuse is that people are busy and don’t have the time for an extra weekly meeting at the church. But if a church has not realized the importance of setting aside a designated time for prayer during the week, chances are that’s why it may be struggling and could be opening up the door for the enemy to come in and plant a spirit of disinterest in the people. Prayerless churches tend to lose their way when that happens. I pray yours is not in that number. — Maranatha!

“God is good all the time. All the time God is good!”

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