One day, as an artist was down on his knees pounding with chisel and mallet at the base of his sculpture, a preacher approached and said, “I wish I could deal such changing blows to the hearts of men.” The sculptor looked up at him, and with a steadfast gaze replied, “Maybe you could if you worked like me…down on your knees.”
Jesus never taught His disciples to preach. Instead, He taught them to pray. EM Bounds said, “All ability to talk to men is measure by the ability with which a preacher can talk to God (about) men.” These were the leaders who would spread the message He died for through preaching and teaching, yet Jesus taught them more about praying than He did about public speaking. Prayer was the decisive factor in spreading the gospel; prayer was the primary ministry they were called to; prayer was the guarantee they would succeed.
Charles Spurgeon once cried, “We need red-hot, white-hot men who glow with intense heat; whom you cannot approach without feeling that your heart is getting warmer; who burn their way in all positions straight on to the desired work; men like thunderbolts flung from Jehovah’s hand, crashing through every opposing thing, till they have reached the target aimed at; men impelled by Omnipotence.” Such a fervent condition can only be obtained through prayer. It cannot be learned in school, although school is good. It cannot be gotten by books, although reading is good. Prayer is what soaks a preacher’s soul in the burden of God and empowers him to ignite others.
In Acts 4:13, the religious leaders marveled at the apostles. They knew these men were “uneducated and untrained,” and yet “they marveled…and realized they had been with Jesus.” And more, they saw “the man who had been healed standing with them (and) could say nothing against it.” Peter and John had no silver and they had no gold. They had no earthly resources or human ability to rely on. All they had was what had been obtained in prayer: Holy Ghost unction. With that, they healed a cripple man, confounded the religious elite and ushered in a revival that would turn the world upside down.
Today, however, we have plenty of silver and gold. Today, we have the most intelligent and intellectual preachers that seminaries can produce—but how many of them have truly been with Jesus. How many can persevere in prayer long enough to make any lasting difference in a culture that is rapidly going to hell.
Without prayer, we may be able to attract a crowd but we’ll never convert them into disciples. Without prayer, we may be able to build large churches with with attractive programs, but there will be no encounter with the presence of God that melts hardened hearts, transform lives and produce men and women who are on fire for God ready to ignite the world for Jesus Christ. Pastor Gregg T. Johnson
- PASTORS WHO DON’T PRAY, Pastor Gregg T. Johnson (magnifyhisword.wordpress.com)