As Christians, prayer is a powerful and vital part of who we are. It is our communication to and from God, and our love relationship with Him. Among other things it is also known as the oxygen of our souls, our strength, our hope, our hiding place. Prayer is intimate, powerful, life shaping, and life transforming.
It is a deeply encouraging fact that people are turning to prayer like never before during this current pandemic. People are reaching for God, and God is reaching out for people. Finding God, not in our church buildings or fellowship meetings, but in online services, live streaming preaching and worship. People looking up prayers to pray and starting to express themselves in prayer for the first time or rededicating themselves. People are logging on to online prayer meetings, interactive daily prayer forums, downloading liturgy and printed prayers, and starting to use their own words. Prayer is becoming a new normal as people are looking for God.
There is talk in many Christian circles and even secular, that we may be on the brink of a worldwide revival. How astounding is that? We could be on the cusp of the longing of our hearts for decades. More than that, the longing and the promises of the heart of God. We better get ready, positioned, and get praying for what is to come.
Consider this interesting extract from an article I read this week.
”The argument for revival doesn’t rest solely on a historical analogy. It also cites growing evidence that something is stirring in the souls of millions presently under lockdown. The number of people searching for the word ‘prayer’ on Google ‘skyrocketed’ last month, doubling with every 80,000 new registered cases of coronavirus, according to a University of Copenhagen study”.
(The Spectator magazine issue 11 April 2020)
It’s not just a surge in praying that is being seen worldwide, there’s also been a surge in buying Bibles. As humanity we have been stopped in our tracks and suddenly awakened to our own mortality. People are hungry spiritually and they are looking to find God.
“In the thick of COVID-19 concerns, Bible publishing companies report increased sales”, The Christian Post reports.
From March 2019 to last month, there was a “considerable increase” in Bible sales by Tyndale House Publishers, a Christian publisher based in Carol Stream, Illinois. Tyndale executive Jim Jewell noted that sales from Life Application Study Bibles went up 44% and 60% for Immerse Bibles.
Jewel believes concerns over COVID-19 “has upended almost everyone’s lives in some way,” in Tuesday’s interview with The Christian Post. “It’s not surprising that people turn to the comfort and clarity of the Bible in times of trouble and uncertainty,” he said. Additionally, Tyndale reports that engagement on its New Living Translations Facebook page – home to Bible verse memes – has tripled since last March and is up 72% from just last month.
God is at work.
There is a holiness and a purifying coming to the church and to God’s people. We have heard many say that ‘revival must begin in the house of God’. That’s us as God’s people – you and I. Even Pope Francis was quoted in an address to millions of Catholics at the start of this month urging people “don’t be afraid to let the Holy Spirit purify your heart”.
As God is clearly at work in the most incredible ways, let’s be found more in being rather than doing, in the pausing rather than the busy, in the listening as well as the talking. In prayer.
At the end of the day, prayer is where the rubber meets the road in our relationship with God. It’s not who we are but whose we are, and how we grow in our relationship with God through prayer. We need to pray for the world, we need to pray for the lost, we need to pray for our communities, our churches, and our leaders. We need to pray for revival. We need to pray for ourselves.
As Robert Murray McCheyne famously said ”what a man is on his knees before God, that he is and nothing more.”