The position of Prayer in Proclaim! International is “core.”
pray without ceasing; (1Thes 5:17 NASB)
To be against prayer or to not pray is unheard of as a believer. It is a part of life as much as breath or daily food, so it is not to be taken for granted.
There are many reasons for prayer, but at the “heart” is the fact that God created us to be in community with him. He instructs us to pray and even gives us a guide through his interaction with the disciples in what has become known as the Lord’s Prayer. He led in prayer by example. At the Last Supper he prayed with and for his disciples. He asked for specific prayer from three disciples to pray for him in the garden of Gethsemane. He prayed to the Father and communed with him (and Jesus desires us to do likewise with/through him).
He encourages us through the writers of the Holy Scriptures to pray. It is a discipline as well as an exercise in applied faith. It is welcomed as an individual communication as well as a corporate communication. It is contact with the living God. We are also encourage to pray in the Spirit – to be yielded to the groanings inside of us that are beyond our understanding. For then can we pray the will of the Father through the Spirit.
In times of need almost everyone prays – to someone or something. We who are believers have access to the creator of the universe, to the all-knowing God who created us, to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, to the all wise one, and to him who is on the throne of grace – the Lord God Almighty himself.
Where we graciously experience Jehovah Jireh – the God who provides without our even asking – we are encouraged to ask. You have not because you ask not or because you ask amiss. God’s goodness in his provisions abound.
There are different aspects of prayer, as well as rationale for prayer. We pray for adoration and praise to the Lord, for gratitude and thanksgiving for his good gifts, for his help in a time of need, for his direction, for his forgiveness, for daily bread, for restoration, for intercession, for others and for self, for light in the dark times, for comfort in despair, for needed support for life and ministry, for coworkers and advancement of ministry, for laborers for the harvest, for open doors for effective service, and many other reasons.
Whatever the reason, whatever the need, and whatever the request we place before the Lord; we are to come into his presence with pure hearts and clear, transforming minds as we let our request be made known to him. The fervent effectual prayer of a righteous man avails much. We need to pray expectantly that God is at work in and through our prayers according to the outworking of his will in our lives according to his plan and good purpose.
If PROCLAIM! International is to come into its full ministry potential, it will be because of the Lord and his will being carried out to accomplish his purposes. One part of his will for this mission body is that we become expectant PRAY-ERS – ones who pray appropriately, expecting God to answer. Recognizing his role in all things, as well as our constant dependence upon him, is essential. He desires that we seek his face on all things, as well as come into his presence with thanksgiving and praise. Our part in this ministry is to pray to know his will in all things and to keep ourselves pure and worthy vessels for his use. He goes before us – we are to follow expectantly and prayerfully.
Once, not many years ago, a few young Romanian men were praying for the opportunity to reach their own people for Christ through the University of Timisoara. One of them, Silviu, was intent in obtaining a theological degree from England to add credibility to his Romanian engineering degree in order to approach the University about starting a school of Theology. Several mission leaders were also praying for the opportunity to have an impact at the highest level of education in Romania. Ceausescu was suddenly removed from power and the walls of oppression cracked and new opportunity momentarily opened for new thinking to enter this oppressed country.
After much prayer two of us, along with Silviu, prayed for the opportunity to approach the rector of the University of Timisoara to present this dream of a school of Theology. The night before the tentative appointment, we prayed corporately and individually that not only would the tentative meeting take place but also that the Lord would open the heart and eyes of this rector to the possibilities for his University to make an impact in the nation of Romania in a spiritual way.
As we sat outside his door, before the appointed time, we prayed silently with continued expectancy that God had led thus far and would prepare the way. After much delay, we were finally ushered into the rector’s huge office. Tall cabinets lined the walls, a huge desk filled the back part of the office and four comfortable chairs enveloped a low conference table in front of the desk.
After introductions, the rector invited us to sit around the low conference table, offered coffee, and then said, “Before I hear from you, I want to show you something.” He walked to a wall cabinet and extracted a black portfolio and placed it on the table before us. Upon opening it Silviu’s eyes grew wide and the Romanian equivalent of “WOW!” issued from him. The rector said that before us on yellowed parchment was the original incorporation document for the University of Timisoara, signed by King Michael, which laid out the by-laws of the University. Among the listing of the specific departments of education, law, sciences, etc. the last one on the list was “THEOLOGY.” It had never been initiated.
The rector turned to us and said through Silviu’s joyously tearful interpretation, “I know you represent a mission that is concerned with Biblical education and teaching theology, will you help us complete the original intent for this University? This country needs change and this is where it needs to start! Will you help us?”
We were instantly reminded that the Lord had answered our expectant prayers and had gone before us.
Let us be reminded afresh that God opens doors of opportunity that in man’s eyes are tightly closed. All things are possible with God – if we just pray according to his will.
Bob McIntyre – Co Director