On June 4, Pastor Bai Yu'e shared the third sermon in a series on the revival of the church, describing the significance and role of prayer for the church's revival.
Then they prayed, “Lord, you know everyone’s heart. Show us which of these two you have chosen, to take over this apostolic ministry, which Judas left to go where he belongs.” (Acts 1:24-25)
Revival begins with prayer — it is the essential ingredient for revival. Pastor Bai Yu'e explained the importance of following the three aspects of prayer: everyone must pray, everyone must know to whom they pray, and the object of prayer, and prayer needed to be done in unity with others.
1. Everyone must pray
They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers. (Acts 1:14)
Everyone is the subject of prayer. Some people in the church do not realize the importance of prayer, so they look around and wander back and forth during the prayer meeting. Looking back on the history of the church’s development, the first people did not know God very well, but they had a passion for God. A simple prayer might be very touching, and many people would grow through these prayers. Today there are not many people in the church who are eager or truly willing to pray, and deeply attracted by the Lord to pray. Some people pray only when they need the Lord. So what the church urgently needs to do now is to encourage everyone to pray.
There are many truths of prayer, and the most important one is that everyone needs to pray. The first sign of a newborn baby's life is breathing, and the first action of a reborn Christian is prayer. Prayer is evidence that we are truly converted, and also is the Christian's duty.
Prayer is not so much an action as it is an attitude of relying on God. Some people say that they can’t pray. The more we pray, the more we are able to pray, and only with sincerity will our prayers be effective. If we don’t pray, how can we say that we have faith?
2. Everyone should know the object of their prayer
The first sentence of the Lord’s Prayer is “Our Father in heaven.” This not only tells us that we need to establish a relationship with God but also lets us know that the object of our prayer is a father, who is different from our earthly father. "Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—” (John 1:12) We become the children of God through faith, and we can enjoy the authority of prayer that God has given us. Many people refuse to come to God to pray, mainly because they don't know the importance of prayer, the wonderful results that prayer can bring, and that we are praying to an omnipotent God. God is the source of how the church can be rejuvenated. Whenever people pray, God works. Only when we wait in front of God with our most eager, believing, and urgent prayers, can the Holy Spirit of God bring down the power of revival.
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. (Romans 12:12)
And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. (Colossians 4:3)
I tell you, even though he will not get up and give you the bread because of friendship, yet because of your shameless audacity he will surely get up and give you as much as you need. (Luke 11:8)
We see that these persistent and urgent prayers are examples of eagerly seeking God. As long as we seek, God will definitely let us find. We must come to the Lord in prayer and seek Him. Jesus once promised us, “Everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” So in our current environment, we must attach importance to prayer.
3. Prayer must be done in unity with believers
In the first prayer meeting in history there were only eleven apostles and a few women and Mary the mother of the Lord. They witnessed the greatness of the Lord and felt the urgency of God. They prepared for the this great mission with prayer, through which they drew the power from the Holy Spirit. These were the prayers from past believers. In contrast, many people in today's church are numb in spirit, and indifferent about their mission. So we should show heartfelt passion in our prayers.
The church grows only when it prays. There will be a rapid increase in the number of people coming to God only when we pray. Neglect of prayer is the greatest cause for persons backsliding. Our prayers are closely related to increasing the number of churches. Looking at the first prayer meeting recorded in the Bible, the number of participants was not large, but the effects of prayer appeared immediately. As it is written, there were a group numbering about one hundred and twenty. The group that began with only 12 persons quickly increased to 120, a nearly ten-fold increase. We know that a spark can start a prairie fire, and prayer has such an effect.
The only way to get real joy in this world is to cast our cares on God. In the hope of the revival of the church, the believers' prayers for the pastors are the greatest help to them. Praying for the pastors with love can push the pastors’ ministry forward. Pray for the minister, but also pray for doors to open in the ministry. " And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ.” (Colossians 4:3), (Colossians 4:3 Hehe Version) To spread the gospel to them, we ask God to give us wisdom and to open the door through prayer. Pray that the message of God can be spread. " As for other matters, brothers and sisters, pray for us that the message of the Lord may spread rapidly and be honored, just as it was with you. ”(2 Thessalonians 3:1)
"We need more power to obviously pray for needed items, such as for the work of the church. We need to understand and beg God to open the door."
The earnest and heartfelt prayer of the whole congregation is particularly crucial to the revival of the church.
- Translated by Abigail Wu