1. Terror: Our world is increasingly impacted by the systematic spread of random local terrorism.
Jesus has overcome this world (John 16:33) and we carry Jesus’ power, authority and love to set those around us free from captivity to fear, evil and injustice. (Matthew 28:18-20, Luke 4:18-21) Our local influence is stronger if we stand together as God’s people in our street and with local churches, to pray for our local community and collectively release the blessings of the Kingdom of God – “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23
“Do not forget this one thing…. The day of the Lord will come like a thief… Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be?” 2 Peter 3:3-14
2. Pervasive deception: Our social foundations, families and children are increasingly impacted by rising sexualisation, immoral sexual pressures and secularisation aimed at distorting and tearing down righteousness. People no longer see God’s ways as life giving, healthy, natural and protective. They are unable to recognise sin because they are seduced and blinded by the enemy’s propaganda and believe his lies that promote licentiousness. (Romans 1:18-32) See the warnings in Isaiah 47:8-10.
Jesus sends us in His authority and Spirit’s power (Matthew 28:18-20, 1 Corinthians 2:3-5, 4:20, Ephesians 1:182-1) to open people’s eyes (Acts 26:17-18, Isaiah 40:5); to expose and destroy the schemes of the enemy (Luke 10:18-19, Ephesians 6:10-20); to bring the kingdom of God – His healing, His provision to those around us (Luke 10:4-9, Philippians 2:1-13, Acts 4:32); and to see righteousness cherished and restored in our laws and practices. (1 Corinthians 3) Righteousness is wholeness. It releases abundant life. (Matthew 5:6 & 6:33) May we all hunger for righteousness!
“One thing I do know. I was blind and now I see.” John 9:25
3. Ungodliness and powerlessness within the church. Sexual abuse by religious leaders has horrendously damaged the lives of many children and adults. The betrayal has been compounded by church leaders’ systematic denial and self-protection, and lack of humility, transparency and repentance. It has exposed deep ungodliness in personal lives and institutions and broken the trust of the community. People associate the church with sexual abuse, without realising about 99% of sexual abuse arises elsewhere, and reject the church as hypocritical and irrelevant.
Within the social circles and schedules of our churches, we can be blissfully faithful, earnest, busy, complacent and satisfied; yet fall short in being isolated from our local communities and ineffective in presenting the good news of Jesus to them. We may not perceive our focus as disobedience. Revelation 3:15-19 warns, “For you say, ‘I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing,’ not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see. Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent.” Read God’s warnings to us in the Book of Jude. Paul describes the powerlessness of empty religious acts in the last days. (2 Timothy 3:1-7) An in-turned, powerless church leaves our families, neighbourhood values and governmental laws and policies vulnerable. Luke and Paul warn us to prayerfully repent of our carnality, our love of worldly things, which keeps God’s people distracted, divided, immature and powerless – doing our “own” thing not the one thing. (Luke 21:34-36, 1 Corinthians 1:3-4 NKJV) What is the one thing your church exists for?
“Behold, this is what I found, says the Preacher, while adding one thing to another to find the scheme of things— which my soul has sought repeatedly, but I have not found.” Ecclesiastes 7:27-28
4. Persecution: Christ’s followers are under media attack, severe persecution, in prison and at risk as they courageously stand for Christ – converting at risk of death and entering forbidden territories to carry the gospel. They need our steady prayers and support. As followers of Jesus, we are called to absolute surrender – so we’ll suffer, live and die victoriously – to bring our Father glory. (John 15:18-21, Matthew 5:10, 16:24-25, Luke 9:23-27, Romans 8:16-18)
“But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13-14
5. People are missing out on eternal life – because they haven’t heard the gospel: “God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16) Yet there are people in our neighbourhoods and circles who have never had the opportunity to receive Jesus as their Saviour. Jesus says the harvest is ripe and that we are to pray for harvest workers; and support them; and become witnesses ourselves – to reach the world with the good news. (Luke 10: esp 1-3, Acts 1:8) McCrindle has compiled encouraging evidence that people in Australia are open to receive Jesus. See: Faith & Belief in Australia. There are unreached people groups globally who Jesus commissions us to disciple. (Matthew 24:14) Let’s unite to pray systematically and specifically for the 1,523 Ethnolinguistic Unengaged Unreached People Groups around the world.
Declare aloud: “…I remember you in my prayers at all times… I am so eager to preach the gospel also to you… I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes… For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—righteousness by faith...’ Romans 1:8-17
Will you seek God’s leading about the one thing we can do that will overcome these challenges?
Jesus says the one thing necessary is that we open ourselves to intimate fellowship with Him.
“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne… He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” Revelation 3:20-22
“Mary… sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving.…‘Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.’” Luke 10:39-42
Enjoy Only You by Jeremy & Connie Sinnott
Jesus came in human form to make a way for us to know God as our Father and enter a continuous, intimate, loving relationship with God – forever! Jesus longs for us to be one with Him and each other – loving God with all our heart, understanding and strength; and loving each other and our neighbours as ourselves. He said, we can’t be one, while we are judging each other. (John 17, Mark 12:28-31, Luke 6:37, John 13:34-35 & 14:15,21)
Jesus demonstrated how to live in intimacy with God through daily prayer and the Holy Spirit, who empowers us to discern and rest in God’s specific strategies and timing. (Luke 5:16 & 6:12, John 12:49-50) “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 1:2) Fellowship with God transforms us. “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” 2 Corinthians 3:17-18
Jesus and many Biblical heroes turned to God in vigilant day and night prayer at times of critical challenge. (Exodus 13:21, 1 Chronicles 16:4,11,23,37-42, 1 Kings 8:28-29, Nehemiah 1:6 & 4:9, Psalm 91:5, Isaiah 21:8, 62:6, Luke 2:36-37 & 6:12 & 18:7, 1 Thessalonians 3:10, 1 Timothy 5:5, 2 Timothy 1:3)
Contemporary examples confirm the power of 24/7 prayer on evangelism and social change.
- Dick Eastman has compiled 75 years of data, 1946-2017, on evangelism success from Every Home for Christ that shows the impact, from 2003, when 24/7 prayer began at The Jericho Center in Colorado. Prior to 2003, their annual average for 75 years was 16,808,318 homes reached. After 2003 this became 71,852,581! Before 2003 they averaged 467,767 annual decisions and responses to the Gospel. After 2003 this became 11,807,675! They planted average 1,250 Christ Groups annually prior to 2003. After 2003 they averaged 19,789!
See Powerpoint: Dick Eastman, A Model of Convergence of Prayer & Mission: Before & After the Jericho Center.
- There has been measureable social change in Whatcom County, Washington State, USA since the churches linked in continuous prayer. See 4 min video. This has been adopted by many church networks in USA and other nations! This includes: Denver, Fort Collins, Colorado Springs in Colorado, 1400 churches, 45 regions in Houston, Chattenua, Bakersfield CA, Eugene, Oregon, Arizona! Prague, Jakarta, Bangkok, Nepal, Bhutan and Dubai!
- During the 40 Day Prayer & Worship Relay 2017 local churches and prayer groups in Australia collaborated to form regional canopies of 24/7 prayer. Our connected prayer groups continue to form a spiritual canopy over our nation. See PrayforAustralia.com.au
“A person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven.” John 3:27
Collaborative 24/7 prayer is the one thing we can do to overturn the challenges our world faces.
Without collaborative 24/7 prayer canopies over our regions – we’ll continue to wallow in darkness.
Collaborative day and night prayer is powerfully effective because through it the Holy Spirit:
- gathers us together at the feet of Jesus to adore Him, listen to Him, worship Him as our King of kings and invite Him to reign as Lord over the earth – changing the spiritual realm over our region; casting out all fear; exposing and disarming the enemy’s strongholds and schemes; and establishing His righteousness – His kingdom on earth as in heaven. (Revelation 4:8, 7:15)
- equips us to pray persistently and see our Father bring speedy justice. (Luke 18:7-8)
- sustains our prayer for harvest workers – so many will have eternal life. (Luke 10:1-2) We need the Holy Spirit to empower us to be Jesus’ witnesses (Acts 1:8) and to open people’s hearts, impacting their discernment and responsiveness to the gospel; increasing the effectiveness of mission; and improving security, well-being and productivity for all. (Luke 10:17-24)
Collaborative prayer establishes a light stand in our communities.
Jesus said, “I have come into the world as a light… John 12:46. “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16
Jesus promised that when we gather in His Name – as 2 or 3 neighbours or 2 or 3 local congregations – He is among us and in us. Our prayer in agreement releases our Father’s intervention! (Matthew 18:18-20) “Christ in you, the hope of glory. Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.” Colossians 1:27-29 When we stand as one church in a region – the light of Christ in us becomes tangibly demonstrated – for our local community and the world to see. Jesus warns us not to hide or dull our light. (Luke 11:33-36) He warns leaders, “Woe to you…! For you have taken away the key… You did not enter yourselves, and you hindered those who were entering.” Luke 11:52 “My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations. But you have made it a den of robbers.” Mark 11:17 Are our churches houses of prayer or do we rob Him still? Are we light stands of hope, faith and love to our neighbours and the nations? Have we forsaken our first love? (Revelation 2:4-5)
“One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple.” Psalm 27:4
We are told to think globally and act locally. If there is one thing you could do that would change the world – would you do it?
We have found globally and in Australia that local groups of pastors and leaders who hear this invitation are very open to connecting with their colleagues to form a continuous prayer and canopy over their region. A group of local churches can start by trialling this for a weekend, week or for one month. One group of 24 people, each praying one hour every day maintained 24/7 prayer over their region during the 40 Day Prayer & Worship Relay 2017!
Can we do this one thing once a month?
If 31 churches, groups or ministries each host one day and night of prayer and worship once a month – the canopy can continue 24/7! Hosting a day and night of prayer & worship is as simple as organising a prayer chain of people praying from home or opening your local church or facility for people to come. Prayer coordinators can be rostered in shifts; a worship leader at some points, recorded music at other times. People can be left pray silently, freely or with written prayer points or focal places, and at times be drawn into groups and united spoken prayer. Costs and travel are minimal. The day of prayer and worship each month spiritually refreshes and refocuses each congregation and the prayer relay connects us as one church in the region. Local collaboration in mission can flow from what we hear God saying and the needs our shared focus identify.
Can we do this one thing once a year? We can be refreshed and refocused by gathering in our local regions to pray as a nation:
- National Day of Prayer & Fasting 10 Feb 2018 www.nationaldayofprayer.org.au
- 40 Day Prayer Relay 14 Feb- 25 March 2018 www.40daysofprayer.org.au.
If we do this one thing together we can easily overcome the world! Declare Psalm 27 aloud!
“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” Ephesians 3:20-21
I’d love to hear your thoughts. Get in touch if you would like to stand with others in your region: firstname.lastname@example.org