Preparatory Prayer

Preparatory Prayer

Last evening in our Wednesday Night Study, “When God’s people Pray,” we heard a term coined by Pastor Jim Cymbala – “preparatory prayer.” Not a new concept, but certainly an interesting one. He spoke of the times, when God has woken him up and called him to prayer. He remembered vividly September 10, 2001. He went to bed feeling well, no sickness with no caffeine in his system; but he could not sleep. He felt a prompting from God to read the Word and pray. That particular night he felt impressed to pray for himself as a husband, father, pastor, and leader. He finally drifted off to sleep about 6:15 AM. Just a few hours later, his daughter called to tell him to turn on the television because a plane had just flown into one of the Twin Towers in their city –New York. He realized immediately why God had called him to a special time of prayer. He was preparing him for the next hours, days and weeks when he would be called on to care for the hurting, comfort families who lost loved ones in the attacks (including members of his own church –The Brooklyn Tabernacle) and share the gospel with thousands who were flocking to churches following the attacks. I was serving as the Senior Assoc. Pastor at Asbury UMC in Tulsa at that time. Our Senior Pastor was out of town and we
had to respond immediately to our staff, members, the media and others. As you know, it was a very scary time for all Americans. Our first response was to pray. We opened our sanctuary for prayer and assigned staff members to be present to pray with others. We organized a prayer service for that evening to bring comfort and hope for all.

Almost two thousand years ago, it was a very scary time for Jesus and his followers.
Jesus called a prayer service in the Garden of Gethsemane with his closest friends: Peter, James and John. He went to pray to His Father and asked them to “watch and pray” with him. They fell asleep. Three times this happened into the night. Jesus reminded them, “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.”(Matt. 26:41). He knew what was about to happen. He needed to be prepared and strengthened as did his disciples. He agonized in prayer that night. He fought the Enemy and won. The result? He walked through the terrible events of the next day with confidence, peace and strength. The disciples? They were better rested that night, but ran away in fear –denying they even knew him. Where is the battle won? It’s won in prayer. “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”(Ephs. 6:12).

Has the Spirit been waking you up at night? Maybe God wants to prepare you for something to come! It may be a blessing or a challenge. How do you typically respond to His promptings? More prayer or more sleep? Watch and pray!

In Christ’s Love,

Mark

PS –Remember our First Church Celebration Potluck this Sunday after Worship. Be sure to bring a side dish or two to share. Mary’s famous brisket will be provided. Blessings!


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