In the United States, the revivals known as the Great Awakenings came in response to Christians gathering for extraordinary prayer. Often called “Concerts of Prayer,” God used these times of prayer to bring awakening to His people. Robert Bakke in his wonderful book, The Power of Extraordinary Prayer writes, “It (the Concert of Prayer) was born out of convictions that say with certainty that, regardless of how bright or dark the hour we live in, God is about to do something greater than He’s ever done before. Furthermore, it said that God would not move forward with His ever-increasing and ever more marvelous plans until Christians agreed with Him and agreed with each other about what He was going to do. A great and lucid vision of Christ’s earthly reign was before their eyes–with every nation, people, tribe and tongue united as one company before the throne of God, Christ the Son, and the sevenfold Spirit. It was a compelling vision that would not let Christians rest or let go of God until the rule of God held sway in every aspect of life.” (Pg.133)
Read again that last sentence from Bakke: “It was a compelling vision that would not let Christians rest or let go of God until the rule of God held sway in every aspect of life.” Have you ever made a decision to pray like that? Not merely God bless us or even God protect us–but a life-changing commitment to pray until the “rule of God held sway in every aspect of life”? This should not just be a response made only by individual Christians. Has your church made a decision to pray extraordinarily for the working of God’s power? The key to the Concert of Prayer was for Christians to gather together for times of extraordinary prayer–as was the practice of the early Church.
We are living in times that are not “normal.” What has been normal for us in our prayer life and experience of Christianity will not suffice for this hour. God is calling us to extraordinary prayer! How will you respond?
Lord of the Nations, my heart longs to see the fullness of Your kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven! May Your Church be willing to do whatever it takes to draw near to You. Help us to seek Your face in this crucial hour of history. Position us as watchmen on the walls and allow us to be able to discern the times in which we live! Give me a deep desire to take my prayer life to the next level…so that what is ordinary becomes extraordinary!
–Adapted from the article A New Call for Extraordinary Prayer by Dave Butts, author of Forgotten Power: A Simple Theology for a Praying Church. This book is available at prayershop.org. Use the code CONPSP3 at checkout to receive an additional 10% discount.
Praise the Lord Jesus, who will be “revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels” (2 Thess. 1:7). Thank him that he will come to restore justice and righteousness in the earth. Confess the times when you have not lived in awareness of Christ’s coming again in power and judgment. Ask him to help you desire and look forward to his coming, and commit yourself to preparing yourself and others for “the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all who have believed” (1:10).
Ask the Spirit to give the churches in your community a sense of urgency in bringing the good news of Jesus’ death and resurrection to the unchurched and unbelieving in their neighborhoods.