Needed: Life-Transforming Prayer

by Oliver W. Price

I've never been in a prayer meeting like that before," exclaimed the young deacon.  The  conference in Dallas had ended and the deacon, along with others, was rejoicing over a life-changing prayer meeting as he was about to return home.

Two couples from the Oklahoma City area and three men from Corpus Christi, Texas, had been deeply moved by messages from Bill McLeod of Canadian Revival Fellowship and Erwin W. Lutzer, senior pastor of Moody Church.

They approached me and wanted to know how they could make this type of spiritual dynamic real in their home churches.

I suggested we pray and ask the Lord Jesus Christ Himself to meet with us and actively take charge. I also suggested they carry this pattern back home, having their friends join them in claiming the presence and leadership of Christ in their churches.

A short time later, we gathered in the pastor's study for prayer. I was pleasantly surprised to see that Sam (not his real name), a young single who lives in Dallas, had joined us. Our differences didn't matter. We all came together in one accord.

I began by reading our Lord's promise to meet with us: "Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven.  For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them" (Matt. 18:19,20).

Then I asked, "Can we all agree to base our prayers on four basic truths, in the light of this passage and other related Scriptures?" These truths are:

‑First, we need to claim the presence of Christ in our midst, expecting Him to actually be present by His Spirit, as He promised.

‑Second, we need to trust Him to take charge of us because He is the Head of the church.

‑Third, we need to be completely willing for Him to change each one of us as He sees fit.

‑Fourth, we must be willing to allow Him to bring us all into harmony with His Father and thus into heaven's harmony with one another.

I paused and added, "Now, I would like each of you to carefully consider whether you can heartily agree to unite in prayer on the basis of these four commitments? I want you to feel perfectly free to say so if you are not ready to accept this basis for our time of united prayer."

The group thought this through for a moment. Then they all agreed. But we had barely begun to pray when Sam's prayer dissolved into tears. For some time, he sobbed like his heart would break.

Finally, I asked, "Can we help you?"

I've been away from the Lord a long time," he confessed, "and I want to come back to Him. Last night, Dr. Lutzer told how Israel had backslidden and become like a marred clay vessel. God had to break His people and mold them into a new vessel. I knew God was speaking to me, calling me back to Himself."

We were sobered, yet delighted to see God working in our midst. After we encouraged our brother, we resumed our prayers with a sense of great awe and wonder. The Lord had remarkably answered our prayer for His presence and active leadership. By the time we finished praying, all of our hearts were softened, having drawn closer to the Lord.

Excerpted from the author's book The Power of Praying Together; Experiencing Christ Actively in Charge, published by Kregel Publications. Available at Christian bookstores or at the author's Website,
www.praywithchrist.org.

2011 Disciple 155x50 2011 AMG 155x50
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