Psalm 127:1, “Unless the LORD builds the house, They labor in vain who build it; Unless the LORD guards the city, The watchman stays awake in vain”
In my judgement, our generation has neglected prayers. I do not mean prayer of getting things or prayer for blessings but effective prayer that avails much according to James 5:16. We have neglected to be doers of the word and have become only hearers once again according to James.
What we have done in our time is we have talked about prayers but little attention has been given to it. The early church had prayer and the word as the nucleus of their call, everything else worked around it. Today it is the opposite, prayer works around everything. We say it is primary, however we treat it as secondary. It was Leonard Ravenhill who said “Sunday morning service attendance will show how popular your church is, Sunday night services will show how popular your pastor is, prayer meetings attendance will show how popular God is in your church”, (paraphrased), ouch but how true that is.
Prayer is the nucleus or glue that hold all things together. This is why Jesus is quoted in Matthew 21:19:46, “It is written, ‘My house is a house of prayer,.” He did not call it a house of worship, or preaching, or programs even though all these are important and most necessary in our churches. He wanted people to know that powerful preaching, worship, unity, victories etc. hinges on “Praying”. Jesus continues in the same verse by saying“…but you have made it a ‘den of thieves”. I believe that if we are doing everything in our strength and neglecting to put praying as priority, we have then made our churches a den of thieves. But you ask how, well if it is not for God’s glory then it is robbery because “Unless the LORD builds the house, They labor in vain who build it; Unless the LORD guards the city, The watchman stays awake in vain”, Psalm 127:1. If we are not praying, it is not God building however spectacular things may be, the bible says we are laboring in vain. If we are not praying, we are watching in vain however hard we try, therefore if God is not building and watching, He is not getting glory.
My friend Pastor Phil shared this with me, so powerful, “Christ was the Word of God in the flesh, yet still prayed. He showed the perfect balance of prayer and the Word of God. John Chapter 17 records the high priestly prayer of Christ. However just prior to this, E.M. Bounds reminds us that “Jesus had just finished instructing His disciples (John 13-16). Now He prayed for them, because prayer and the Word of God go together. If we have all Bible but no prayer, we may have a great deal of truth but no power. It would be “light without heat.” On the other hand, if we have all prayer but no Bible teaching, we are in danger of becoming fanatics-heat without light! Zeal is a good thing, but zeal without knowledge is usually destructive. A proper balance of Bible study and prayer is important to a balanced Christian life. “Moreover, as for me,” said the godly prophet Samuel, “far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by ceasing to pray for you; but I will instruct you in the good and right way” (1 Samuel 12:23). Note the balance of prayer and the Word of God. “And now I commend you to God [that’s prayer] and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up…”
We need the prayer power back in our lives, in our churches, in our nation if anything is to be built and watched over. All must be done for God, through God and by God for His glory. We push the rock, God does the moving, God gets the glory. This is why I have come to cherish the joining of these three verses in relation to prayer, “For bodily exercise profits a little…” but, “…The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much”, “ to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved”. 1Timothy 4:8, James 5:16, Ephesians 1:6. May we cry out to God this year to 1. Teach us to pray, 2. To give us a praying spirit; and 3. To burden us to pray. Blessings Ev