A Critical Shortage of Prayer
- March 18, 2020
- Lori Travers
It’s been a rough start to this new year. It feels like the deep of winter rather than the rising of spring. Even though trees are budding and grass is turning from faded brown to vibrant green, and it appears to be all good on the outside, there’s an underlying cold that threatens to steal the joy of new life.
I’ve found myself vacillating between news obsession and praise music…fixing my eyes upon talking heads, COVID-19 stats, and empty grocery shelves versus picking up the Word, reading God’s heart to mine, and living in gratitude for His amazing provisions.
And as I contemplate the enormity of the culture’s reactions to a viral threat, I can’t help wondering where we, the church, are in it all.
See, we have an incredible arsenal waiting for us to appropriate. It feels a bit lonely, though, like fewer of us have believed in its effectiveness. We’ve kept this powerful tool hidden, secret, collecting a bit of dust over the years. Then when the enemy is descending upon us, we take it out, rusty from lack of usage, ever-so doubtful it will be effective as we clumsily spew out begging words to our distant God.
Where are you, Church? Have we become a product of the illusion that we are self-sufficient? Have our credit cards, health insurance, and 401K’s replaced our reliance upon the One who “gives and takes away”?
Amid the chaotic reactionary messes we’ve beheld since our government and news media outlets have amped up precautionary statements concerning prevention of COVID-19, I hear the quiet whisper of the Prince of Peace calling me to cast my cares upon Him, while reminding me that He is the mountain mover. I’ve determined to focus upon HIM and not the virus or my lack in the midst of it or imaginations that lead to anxiety. And sometimes I fail miserably in that determination.
But this I can do…and that is to gather with other believers who know the value and power in standing in authority against any such microorganism or strain, weather-related threats, or enemy who comes to destroy my peace and joy.
Fear creates mental strongholds and we tear down strongholds by holding fast to what is true, replacing fearful imaginings with secure knowledge of the promises of God and our value and worth in Him. Prayer keeps us centered on Jesus, who is our remedy and our warrior. Sometimes we forget that we have been given “power and authority over demons and to cure diseases…” (Luke 9:1)
It feels like there’s a storehouse of untapped power from God that He’s inviting us in to, but we hesitate, maybe because prayer seems a bit antiquated, rote, or unnecessary since “God is gonna do what’s He’s gonna do despite my prayers to Him.” So we stress and we strain in the flesh and then we crash, either physically or mentally.
I’ve read through Psalm 18 a significant amount of times and I continue to be awed by what I can only say is a miraculous and extreme display of power and might on behalf of David, the pray-er. He begins with reminding himself of his God…”I love you, O LORD, my strength”, “The LORD is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I call to the LORD who is worthy of praise, and I am saved from my enemies.” (vv 1,2) And after David moves on to his predicament he calls out to the LORD in his distress and remembers that God heard, heeded, and helped him. Verses 7-15 are nothing short of mountain moving, followed by a litany of expressions reminding himself (and us) of this notable rescue, the peace that followed, and how this powerful God loves to move on behalf of His people (verses 16-50)
So, my question remains: Why is it so hard to gather Christians to simply pray? Have we gotten so used to having our guts full that if our gatherings don’t involve food then there is little interest? Are we living in fear instead of faith to believe that we have power in the spiritual realm to reroute this monster and disarm it, in Jesus’ Name? I don’t mean to be harsh here, but it’s become sadly obvious to me that deep, heartfelt, faith-filled prayer is a missing link in the church at large.
Programs are great, fellowship is sweet, praise music soothes the soul, but prayer is where our power lies. God invites us in to His work as His power is unleashed within our prayers.
Please, let’s not let these moments be filled with panic and fear. Let’s get it together Church, even if it’s simply 2 or 3 gathering in His Name.