Andrew Murray was a 19th century missionary whose writings continue to have influence around the world. He is known for his insights into the spiritual life, especially prayer. He wrote, “If I not only seek an answer but seek after the God who gives the answer, then I receive the power to know I have obtained what I asked.”
The first recorded meeting in the book of Acts was a prayer meeting. Acts 1:14 says, “They all joined together constantly in prayer…” The gatherings of the early church were always punctuated by prayer. Just as it is important for individual Christians to pray, so it is important for churches to pray.
As we survey the landscape of the American church, it is painfully obvious that there is a need for a renewed emphasis on corporate praying. Every weakness can be tied to inconsistency and inattention to prayer. The church’s declining influence in American life can be traced to a lack of spiritual authority. That lack of spiritual authority can be traced to a lack of corporate prayer.
If there is a lack of power in gospel witness, or a lack of leaders for church ministries, or a lack of funding for world missions, or a lack of unity and love in the assembly, or a lack of sound teaching from the pulpit or classroom, the core problem is a lack of dependency on the living God in humble prayer. “Difficulties disappear and obstacles are removed when the prayer life of the church is powerful and effective. In a word, a praying church quickly becomes a revived church” (Francis Dixon).
James 4:2 says, “You do not have because you do not ask God.” If we desire spiritual influence, guidance, open doors, supply of needs, healing, godly leaders in government, and a closer relationship to God, we must pray.
As Andrew Murray said, when we seek answers and seek the God who gives the answers, we get both. This is consistent with James 4:6-7 which says that God “opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble… Come near to God and He will come near to you.”
–Pastor Randy Faulkner
Picture of Andrew Murray: Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=8725041