by Graham Wells
Graham is based in Atlanta, Georgia where he serves as prayer coordinator for OM USA.
Having been arrested by the authorities in a Middle Eastern country for witnessing and passing out some scriptures, I learned early on in my missionary life about desperate prayer. Being threatened with expulsion from the country, I cried out in desperation in the men’s bathroom (“toilet” to non-Americans!) for God to give me wisdom in getting out of this situation. And as clear as anything God gave me the words to use and I was able to stay and fulfill my commitment in the country. The Bible shows us that David had instances of desperate prayer, as well as Hannah when praying for a son.
Joy Dawson asks the question, “Why Desperate Prayer?” and answers it:
• Because the world’s unreached multitudes are in desperate need.
• Because hell is desperately real. Hell is desperate people, eternally trapped, with no hope of relief.
• Our desperate cries to God on their behalf powerfully influence the lost to make the right choices. Heaven is then more populated and Hell less.
• Desperate people pray with intensity and are not self-conscious.
As we pray for the issues on our campuses, in our cities and nations, ask God to give a burden so that as we pray we are not just uttering words but our heart’s cry, and we feel the pain and see the lostness and hopelessless of those without Christ. And it rises up in a desperate cry for God to act.
Rhonda Hughey writes, “The key of holy desperation for the presence and ministry of Jesus is required in order for us to move out of our complacent, satisfied existence. Desperation is the underlying fuel that ignites our hearts for unity, prayer, worship, and repentance. If we aren’t longing for Jesus, our ministry activities will be routine and hollow. There is certainly no shortage of ideas, plans, methods, books, teachings, programs, and activities in the church; what we are suffering from is a drought of desperation for God!”
Worship is an essential part of keeping the flame burning through prayer. The more we worship God, the bigger God becomes in our understanding, resulting in a greater faith to believe He will accomplish His purposes through us.
With music, without music, with great voices or voices like mine, we can still declare the greatness of God through worship. The ancient Fathers used to worship by singing and reading through the Psalms in eight-hour cycles.
In Rev. 8:1-6, we see the prayers of all the saints (a picture of intercession) being released with much incense (a picture of worship) at the throne. Both joined together help to keep the fire going on the altar. According to Dick Eastman, “Worship-saturated intercession will be a key to the last great harvest on earth.”
5. Intimacy and Devotion
Misty Edwards, one of the most amazing worship leaders, sings, “I’m not going to talk about You like you’re not in the room, gonna talk right to You, gonna sing right at You.” The beauty of prayer is that we are talking to a real person who is right in the room with us. This God that we adore loves us, delights in us, spins over us, and sings over us. We can’t do better than David when he says in Psalm 84:10, “One day spent in your house, this beautiful place of worship, beats thousands spent on Greek island beaches.” (or choose your own favorite destination!) (from The Message)
Lou Engle writes:
“Today the call of God to the church is to cultivate a heart of unwavering devotion. He wants us to love Him first and foremost, with all of our hearts. When your heart is conquered by the One who is fascinating, then no other captivation will satisfy.
You will refuse to dwell anywhere but in this position of waiting on Him. You will pursue Him alone, not allowing yourself to be distracted by anything less. Your hunger will be fixed on a single source. There will be no going back to what used to bring satisfaction. Secondary pleasures will fade away.”
It really is about intimacy. “This is the main purpose of prayer,” says Bill Johnson.
“I want to encourage you to embrace a life of extravagant devotion to God, without any regard to cost. I want to encourage it not only because you will have the greatest reward you can have at the end of your life, but because it is an incredibly enjoyable way of life. If prayer is not enjoyable, it’s not sustainable,” states Mike Bickle.
A few years ago I ran the London Marathon. After the halfway point, you come into an area called Docklands. It’s an industrial wasteland, and there is no encouragement from spectators. The fun and excitement of the start is gone, the key sights of London where people are cheering you on in the thousands is all behind you. It’s all quiet, no sounds except your running shoes on the concrete, no talking. This is where the discipline of training pays off. This section is six miles long, boring, tiring, there’s nothing to look at to keep your mind away from the pain! You can only look ahead to the 20-mile mark and the crowds again thronging the streets for encouragement. There will always be seasons where prayer is hard, tiredness creeps in, discouragement can be close by. This is when we just keep going, we keep engaged and we trust not our feelings and circumstances but our faith and the truth of His word. We are encouraged not to grow weary in well doing, because as we press on and in, we will see the results of our praying.
“The level of a spiritual victory for your city is directly affected by two spiritual conditions: the intensity of your desire and the size of your faith. God wants to see if you want the minimum or the maximum. Do you want institutional survival–or citywide revival?” writes John Dawson.
During that evening with the villagers on the Thai-Burmese border, I sensed through their prayers and simple faith that they were content with nothing less than the maximum.
What has your experience been in facilitating prayer meetings?
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