“History belongs to the intercessors. You can shape your generation through prayer. You can influence the course of history.” -Nicky Gumbel
I believe this statement is true. How about you?
I have experienced prayers transformative power time and time again, changing my heart, my circumstances, and that of those I have earnestly prayed for (my kids, friends, ministry partners, church, Concentric, etc).
This morning in my quiet time my attention was caught by this simple verse… “So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him.” Acts 12:5 NIV
In Ancient Greek culture the word ektenōs (translated here as ‘earnestly’) was used to describe a horse being made to run at full gallop. It describes the taut muscles of tenacious and enduring effort like that of an athlete in the most important competition of his or her life. Here “earnestly” is in the imperfect tense implying that the church was praying not as a one-off, but for a considerable duration of time. They were strenuously persevering in prayer.
When I visited Hagia Sofia last December I reread some of Saint John Chrysostom’s sermons (349–407). He once said, “Prayer… is the root, the fountain, the mother of a thousand blessings… The potency of prayer has subdued the strength of fire, it has bridled the rage of lions… extinguished wars, appeased the elements, expelled demons, burst the chains of death, expanded the gates of heaven, assuaged diseases… rescued cities from destruction… and arrested the progress of the thunderbolt.” (I like that! He had a way with words. I guess that’s why he’s been called the golden mouth.)
Obviously, the power to alter reality is not in us or our prayers. Instead it’s in the one who receives our petitions. Prayers of this kind reflect our humble and oftentimes desperate acknowledgement that we cannot do life alone. We were not created to live independently. We need our transcendent Father to interrupt and invade our daily lives. We need Him like the deer who pants for water and the plant that longs for the morning sun to give her warmth.
New Testament scholarly, John Stott said, “This chapter opens with James dead, Peter in prison and Herod triumphing; it closes with Herod dead, Peter free and the word of God triumphing.”
Where do you or those you care for need earnest prayer today?
Let’s join together in earnestness and watch God transform our world!
“But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” -Matthew 6:6
“Jesus-centric disciplemaking to the nations”