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Wednesday: Prayer 7:30pm  

My father and I, would often talk about his early days as a Christian, leader and preacher. 

He came to Christ, during communism, from a life of sin and violence. After a dramatic and miraculous conversion, the elders of the small church he had started to attend approached him and said: “we see in you the spiritual gifts of a leader and we want you to join us for some training." 

For most of us, this would mean some sort of theological training. But no, that was not their plan. 

How would you “train” a young man, who clearly displays spiritual gifts for leadership? “Meet us on top of the hill which overlooks the town”, they said to my father. “We meet every morning at 6.00 am, before going to work, and we are going to pray.” 

This was their strategy and training method: if you want to lead you must learn to pray. If you want to preach, you must learn to pray. 

This reminds me of the disciples of Jesus. The Lord was about to entrust the church to the apostles. There was no church manual, no seminars for preaching and no Bible colleges.

Now, don’t get me wrong. All these things are good and useful. They play a part in our formation but we must put first things first. 

The apostles asked: Lord, teach us to pray! (Luke 11: 1) Somehow, the apostles connected the dots: John the Baptist prays. His disciples pray. Jesus prays. He often goes away early in the morning, sometimes all night. All He does is pray to the Father. Then, He comes down among all these people with needs. He preaches, but not like the pharisees. He speaks with power and mighty miracles take place. I’m pretty sure they thought that prayer has something to do with it all. 

The disciples must have understood a vital truth which I believe we have lost today: Prayer means power and power changes the way we preach. Do you see it? 

Those elders, who are not with the Lord, understood this connection. Because of them, my father’s life and ministry has been marked by prayer. It’s been all about private and public prayer. 

He prays on his own with tears and groanings. We, his children, have witnessed this quite often. He never had much theological training, but he has known the power of God through the most difficult period of church history in Romania: communism. Thanks to this kind of thinking and prioritising, I had grown up in a church where the prayer meeting lasted for a few hours, with everyone on their knees. Things are not the same today. Mostly, because we have lost this connection between prayer, power and preaching. Our theology and thirst for intellectual knowledge has replaced our intimacy with God. 

That is why we must learn again to stay close to God and guard our prayer life. Learn to pray and you will have power to preach. Seek to be in the prayer meeting  and you will love the church. Pray and the Holy Spirit will reveal truth to you, from God’s Word. Pray and you will have wisdom and understanding. 

Prayer also equips you to do the work of an evangelist. It is only in prayer, you become more and more burdened for lost souls. If you want to have a united church, then get the church to pray. 

This, I must say, challenges the way we view training for preaching and ministry. I know men who have fallen in love with the pulpit, but not in love with God. 

Have a look at the book of Acts. It was in a prayer meeting, where 120 prayed, that the Holy Spirit came and baptised the church with power. Then the early church went forward, on their knees. Every time the world, sin or opposition tried to destroy it, the church had victory because of prayer. Yes, there was suffering. Yes, some of them died. But the church had power. Throughout the book of Acts, churches are planted and disciples receive the Holy Spirit during prayer times. 

Prayer, power and preaching are all connected. This demands our response. It’s quite simple. If you desire the pulpit, join us in prayer. Then you will be qualified to preach! 

Tags: Prayer Preaching Power Teaching

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