“Revival and prayer always go together. They are inseparably linked.”
I HAVE A CONVICTION that to experience another day of awakening in the Church, leaders are going to have to model what boldness in prayer is all about.
Boldness regarding prayer is mentioned frequently in the New Testament, and I’m convinced that boldness for the most part is lacking in the prayers of the Church and desperately needs to be rediscovered. Never has there been awakening without God’s people learning the efficacy of prayer.
The Church knows boldness when all its people pray exactly as though they were talking to Jesus face to face. The less Christians sense his presence, the less bold or confident they will be when coming before him in prayer. This doesn’t take the deductive reasoning of a genius to figure out; why put a lot into a conversation if you think the person you’re talking to is not listening? Why be bold when your mind hasn’t been captured by the majesty of the One to whom you come to speak? The modeling of prayer in our worship services as little more than verbalizations says to observing people, “Don’t expect much, folks, because we don’t really sense that the King is near enough to be responding at the moment.”
How would the life of the Church be transformed if we were all actually to hear Jesus say, “My subjects, I’m attentive and receptive right now to what you as a people have to say to me.”
I often get a feeling, when people share their prayer requests, that the requests relate more to surface issues than to substantive ones. Seldom do the matters at hand touch in any way the deep concerns of the King who is being addressed. Instead, most of the requests expressed seem to center on the comfort of the subject voicing it. I believe that the church must learn to refrain from voicing requests that would sound silly were the King bodily present to hear and to respond.
If our prayers in church were actually spoken as though we were talking to Christ face to face, sooner or later a spiritual reality would begin to make itself known. This authenticity would then be caught by Sunday morning attendees, and eventually would make its way into the small prayer groups in the church, as well as into individual prayer closets and private groanings before the Lord. God’s people would rapidly begin to know a new and mighty confidence and boldness. When we realize that this is the King of the universe and that he has truly given us his attention, that realization results in boldness. And before we know it, we see early signs of awakening. Revival and prayer always go together. They are inseparably linked.
Some might think boldness in prayer means storming into heaven’s courts demanding attention. This is not boldness in the way Christ taught it or modeled it. Instead, boldness is the picture of a confident servant coming to his master in an attitude of praise. The mindset is one of wanting most of all to serve the Lord well. Knowing God’s will and doing it is the primary desire.
How the Church today languishes for this kind of praying. And in order for us to know success in this area, I believe huge adjustments must be made. I challenge all concerned Christians to examine their personal and corporate prayer lives in this light.
I suspect that the way to begin correcting this problem is in the privacy of our own times alone with Christ. And whether it’s a short session or a long season of prayer—the question of importance is this: Are you conscious that Christ is there in the room with you, or are you just talking to the walls? Are you bold in prayer?
By David R. Mains
[Christian History originally published this article in Christian History Issue #23 in 1989]David R. Mains is director of the Chapel of the Air radio ministry, and was formerly a pastor at Circle Church in Chicago. He has written several books; this article is adapted from the chapter “Praying Boldly,” in his book The Sense of His Presence (Word Publishing, 1988).
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