“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us – whatever we ask – we know that we have what we asked of Him.” 1 John 5:14-15
Why do we pray? What does it do? Does it work? There is no doubt a great deal of mystery behind how prayer works but we have all confidence that it does indeed work. The following is a very beginning look into the work of prayer in regard to evangelism.
Prayer is a battle. This world has a ruler and every new believer is a soul that has been delivered from his authority and switched allegiances to God. Although many of the effects of this battle play out in the physical world, the real battle is in the spiritual realm. Prayer is warfare, sharing the Gospel is warfare. When you pray, understand that you are involved in something much bigger than yourself—you are effecting change in a world dominated by spiritual forces of darkness (Ephesians 6:12). There are legions of spiritual forces of darkness who desperately desire to thwart the progress of the Gospel. Flesh and blood and human reason have no effect on them. Only the Lord is able to do battle. When we neglect prayer we fail to arm and protect ourselves.
Prayer is a humbling. When we kneel before God and ask that He spark change in the hearts and lives of unbelievers, we are admitting that without God our work is in vain. When we witness, we plant the seed but only God can make it grow (1 Corinthians 3:6-7).
Prayer makes a difference. Circumstances change when people pray. We do not pray with the expectation that God will do nothing! We pray with the expectation that He will act upon our requests, and He does! It has been said that the early church was born in a prayer meeting. As those original disciples joined together in prayer, God answered and thousands were saved (Acts 1:14-2:41, 4:29-31). Prayer makes a difference! Dr. J. Edwin Orr of Fuller Theological Seminary has researched faith movements and found that “every great revival has followed a time of repentance and prayer among Christians”. Brian Mills writes, “Evangelism without prayer is like an explosive without a detonator, and prayer without evangelism is like a detonator without an explosive. Put the two together and the gates of hell cannot stand.” Prayer is key to every Church Planting Movement.
We pray because our burden exceeds our abilities. Prayer is the soul’s deepest cry of rebellion against the way things are. Prayer sees the lost of this world and cries out, “This does not glorify God. So, by God’s grace, it must change!” Prayer comes from God and goes to God on behalf of those who do not know God. Extraordinary prayer lays the foundation for a church planting movement.