A Call to Prayer
Now that I am fully transitioned into Atlanta, I have been attending Dawn Service / Early Morning Prayer / Morning Worship / Whateverelseotherpeoplecallit every day. This service basically begins at 6am as a traditional service (a couple of hymns, a time of intercession, a message from the head pastor) and then moves to a time of open, individual prayer from 6:30-7:30am. Although attending this service is required of me as part of my job description, I have been loving it so much. More & more, I have been realizing what a blessing it has been being "forced" to pray for an hour a day ... and my respect for the body of first-generation Korean believers has, likewise, continued to increase.
I am the first to admit, prayer does not come "naturally" to me. It isn't the first thing I think about doing when I wake up & it isn't the last thing I think about before going to bed. Even as a pastor & missionary, my prayer life was severely lacking.
It can be so easy to be caught up in the success & grandeur of today's millennial church that we become too busy to pray.
On one end of the spectrum, we have extremely intellectual, biblical messages that convict us to the core. On the other we have powerful prophetic words that pierce through our souls like a hot knife through butter. &, of course, throughout the entire spectrum, we have mind-blowingly amazing worship. Yet, as I sat in the morning prayer meeting, asking God what He'd like me to pray for, all I kept hearing was, "Pray that the young church would be awakened to the importance of prayer."
I am reminded of a quote by Leonard Ravenhill in his book, Why Revival Tarries (that's right... brace yourself):
"No man is greater than his prayer life. The pastor who is not praying is playing; the people who are not praying are straying. We have many organizers, but few agonizers; many players and payers, few pray-ers; many singers, few clingers; lots of pastors, few wrestlers; many fears, few tears; much fashion, little passion; many interferers, few intercessors; many writers, but few fighters. Failing here, we fail everywhere."
The call to prayer is a universal one.
The bible does not only command pastors, missionaries, teachers, elders to pray. Although a solid prayer life is certainly a quality all leaders in the church much possess, the call to pray is for the entire body of believers; all who call themselves "Christian" Everyone becomes busy - as they should - with whatever God may have called them to be it ministry or a "secular" job. But if there is something God has been reminding me these days, it's that it is dangerous to become busy with our hands without first being busy on our knees.
In this day & age, we are bombarded with a billion perspectives regarding a million issues. With such a reality, one should not be surprised if taking the time to gain God's perspective has become something more difficult & less practiced. Yet something that has never changed with the passing of time has been God's promise to respond if His people would humble themselves & go before Him in prayer.
Although I wouldn't say that my life has been drastically transformed (yet) because of my new rhythm of prayer, I can confidently testify that it does make a difference. My spirit hasn't felt so alive as it does now. There is a newfound joy in reading His Word & certain Scriptures have been coming to mind more often as I pray. I feel so much closer to God & yet so much more desperate to draw closer still. Finally it is so much easier, of course, to focus on being intentional in the daily where, when, & why of my calling when I begin the day by giving God time & attention to speak into my life.
I could only imagine what would happen if (and look forward to the day when) the Church across the board prioritizes prayer above all things - above programs .. above attraction .. above being RIGHT - and comes together in unity. Until that day, I'd just like to encourage you all ... make prayer a priority in your life. Practice quieting yourself before the One who knows all & sees all for 30 minutes, an hour a day & see if & how it begins to shift your life. Pastors, teach your church to pray. Parents, teach your children to pray. Together, starting on our knees, let's see His Kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven.
"For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge - that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen." [Ephesians 3:14-21, NIV]