“Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near” (Isaiah 55:6).
With all that has been happening in our nation, it eventually becomes very easy to allow our attention to be diverted back to what we call “normal.” Unfortunately, “normal” often means life without God and without a dependence upon Him in prayer. I believe it is vital for us to hold on to our first response – – the response of prayer.
The Church desperately needs to both issue and respond to a new call for extraordinary prayer. Extraordinary prayer goes beyond the normal expectations of the past. It is prayer that can bring God’s power to bear on a whole new world facing us–a world of uncertainty, fear and war.
The Bible records times of extraordinary prayer like this. One good example occurred in the Book of Esther. The crisis there concerned the lives of every Jew held captive in Babylon. A decree had been issued that would result in genocide for the Jews. Queen Esther was going to risk her life by going to the King on behalf of her people; however, before she went, she called her people to three days of prayer and fasting for her mission. Extraordinary prayer brought about extraordinary deliverance.
The Book of Ezra gives another good example of extraordinary prayer. Ezra was preparing to lead a group of the exiles back from Babylon to Jerusalem. The king had even offered troops for protection on the perilous journey. But Ezra had refused the troops, pointing out that God Himself would protect them. As the people gathered, Ezra began to realize how dangerous the trip would be and that they should not merely presume upon God’s protection. So he called the people to humble themselves and pray and fast over the journey. God heard their prayers and gave them safe passage to their destination.
Father, so often prayer is my last resort instead of my first response. In many churches week after week, prayer is often relegated to a brief recitation before and after the offering when seeking Your face should be our first priority. Show me…show Your people how to engage in heart-felt, passionate prayer that draws us into Your throne room and produces the extraordinary answers that You long to give us! May we be continually hungry for a deeper relationship with You so that our prayers are expressed from hearts that know You well. May our response to adversity or struggle always be to come to You before worrying or taking matters into our own hands. Teach us how to be men, women and children who continually engage You in prayer.
–Adapted from the article A New Call for Extraordinary Prayer by Dave Butts, co-author of Pray Like the King: Lessons from the Prayers of Israel’s Kings. This book is available at prayershop.org. Use the code CONPSP3 at checkout to receive an additional 10% discount.
Praise your covenant God for his abiding faithfulness (Deut. 7:9). Give thanks that even “if we are faithless, he will remain faithful” (2 Tim. 2:13). Confess any unfaithfulness you’ve allowed into your relationships with God and others. Commit yourself to bearing the fruit of faithfulness through the power of the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:22). Ask God to help you be a faithful follower of Jesus Christ.
Pray that God’s covenant love would extend through your generation and on to generations yet to come.
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