Pastors and church leaders, are we truly praying as we should for revival to take place in our members’ lives?
Years ago as a young pastor, I was reading a small, classical work on prayer entitled The Kneeling Christian. The author, who describes himself simply as the Unknown Christian, related a personal experience he had while visiting a missionary in India, sometime near the beginning of the twentieth century.
The story revolves around a small band of young girls, Hindu famine orphans who had been gloriously converted to Christianity under the leadership of Pandita Ramabai. Having received a “spirit of supplication” while praying for God’s fire to fall on their peers at the orphanage, these faith-filled girls began traveling to nearby communities, praying for revival fires to fall on the local pastors and church leaders.
This little band approached the missionary who was housing the Unknown Christian. They asked, “May we stay here in your town and pray for your work?” With hesitancy, the missionary granted their request and directed them toward an empty barn.
Later that day, following the evening meal, a local pastor came to the missionary’s home. With tears of genuine conviction flowing down his face, this pastor began to openly confess his sins to the missionary. Shortly after this man’s visit, another Christian who was experiencing the same conviction of God in his life appeared at the missionary’s door.
The Unknown Christian reported in his book how the intercession of these young girls led to a remarkable time of blessing in that small community. “Backsliders were restored, believers were sanctified, and heathen were brought into the fold.”
As I read their story, God’s Spirit prompted my heart with the thought that I could do the same thing as those young girls. Knowing that my home church thirty miles away was scheduled to have a weeklong emphasis on evangelism, I received permission to take some vacation time from the church I was pastoring and travel back home to do nothing but pray.
For a week, I would start my day at 4:30 in the morning, joining the owner of the local radio station in praying over the businesses located around the town square. The rest of each day was spent in the church’s prayer room, praying over the names and faces I found in the church’s pictorial directory.
The church also permitted me to obtain and pray over requests from those who attended the services each night. By the end of the week, thirty-three church members had been genuinely saved and brought into an authentic love relationship with God. It was glorious!
As the week of seeing God powerfully move came to a close, great conviction fell on my own heart. As a pastor, I had never prayed for my own congregation the way I had prayed for this church. I left that setting with the realization that I now knew that congregation better than the one I had been pastoring for three years.
Does specific prayer for the people we serve make a difference? I can now say a resounding “Yes!” … in their lives as well as in our own.
Church leader, have you prayed for your people today?