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Sunday, May 1, 2011

The Centrality of Prayer

     The centrality of prayer is something that should be on the hearts of every Chris tian, for it is our means of communicating with God the Father which, if it remains neglected, results in our dis tancing ourselves from Him. It seems that the vast majority of churches of all denominations share the mutual concern of reducing numbers. In my own denomination for example, many of the churches house older congrega tions which, if they continue to fail to attract and keep younger members, will eventually result in further closures. The bottom line in many instances will mean closure within twenty-five years, a very short period in relation to the life of churches.
But, this need not be the case.  The answer is in the hands of Ministers, leaders and congregations, members and adherents alike, and that answer is prayer.  Even as I write I suspect that some people will smile knowingly and think, if not say out loud, that it's all very well to say that but what about action! There is a saying that When we work, we work; but when we pray, God works! If you pray for His vision for your church, believing beyond doubt that God hears and answers your prayers, then you will know what you need to do to attract people to church once again.
Of course times have changed from the heady days of Revival! The rapidly dwindling congregations shout out that fact. But do you look for excuses rather than answers, looking at the condition of our society and blaming that for the empty seats?  Was society far better  during pre-revival days than now? Surely, one of the greatest reasons for Revival is the need for it, and if the condition of today's Society does not cry out in need then I cannot imagine when it will. In many respects it can be said that large numbers of society are spiritually dead and undoubtedly in the direst need of Revival. What is Revival about, but breathing new life into something which is dead? 
We claim that God is all powerful and yet, by our weaknesses, we limit Him to what we can see and understand in terms of human logic. We ask Him for all manner of things and yet fail to step boldly into His presence. We offer excuses for seemingly unanswered prayer when the real reason is the weakness of our own faith.
If we pray to God hoping that He will answer our prayer rather than believing that He will, then what can we expect? Prayer must hold a central posi tion in our walk with God, petitioning Him with all that will serve to glorify Him and waiting upon His response to instruct us in His way. We should all heed Paul's advice in I Thessalonians 5:17 to Pray without ceasing, but always ensuring that we pray in the firm conviction of our faith.

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