God reached out to me at a young age, introducing Himself to me as a daddy. I know that may sound strange to some, but it was a very real, very personal experience. I wholeheartedly learned faith and began my journey with Jesus because of the way God revealed Himself and His love to me. Prayer was a conversation. The bible was alive. God was my friend.
Then I met church. There I learned that prayer was something an older man did in King James English. It was scheduled and, whenever it went long, people coughed and cleared their throats. Worship wasn’t something that lived and breathed; instead, it was a part of the program – three songs, three stanzas each. Music didn’t bring smiles or dancing; it simply provided a warm up to a long speech by the same or another older man who thought that talking about God’s word had a great impact when delivered with volume and dramatic pauses where someone else, normally the same someone week after week, would fill in the pauses with one simple word: “Amen.”
As a result I learned that prayer was something that was a part of a program and often was more an extension of a sermon or another way to teach people. Often prayer became a way to preach at people or to tell others how you felt. The longest prayers often were the ones prayed by the preacher at the end of their sermon where they repeated much of the sermon. It wasn’t really a conversation with a living God; it was one more way to tell others what you wanted.
Is it any wonder that so many people have a stunted faith? Faith really is being sure of what we hope for and being certain of what we don’t see. Hebrews 11:1.
In recent years a new phenomenon has grown in the church called houses of prayer. Many people greet such places with skepticism or wonder what in the world people really do at such places. The church understands when people go give away bibles, preach, share the gospel, teach in a seminary, and even some like the idea of giving away food, clean water, or other aspects of mercy ministries. But to spend hours each day praying and interceding is viewed as lazy, unimportant, even silly. We really must “get to work,” mustn’t we?
Given the fact that we are learning to be like Christ, utterly dependent on the Father and walking by faith, houses of prayer and hours of intercession should be seen as one of the greatest innovations and most important entities in the church today. When we hear that mission leaders hope to see over 100,000 new houses of prayer planted around the world, we should rejoice and endeavor to see this great vision come to pass. We are all Too Busy Not To Pray and must do whatever we can to spend more time waiting on the Father to speak, provide, and direct.
Consider ways that you can support this effort and the ministries of intercession and worship. Remember that God ordained “warriors” in the Israeli armies of old who sang, prayed, and performed, carrying no weapons other than praise and prayer. Today we fight not against physical enemies; instead, we are called to a warfare of the spirit, of prayer, and of faith. Instead of finding more ways to “be busy,” let’s all get busy seeking God’s solutions, purposes, and plans together in prayer. Let’s pray like our lives depend on it. They do.