A good test of whether or not you are about the work of Jesus’ Kingdom is how much you pray. I’m not being a legalist here or anything. So don’t go dusting off your old stopwatch to make sure you get in your 30 minutes a day.
Here’s what I’m saying.
If you are a person that believes that the Lord is at work to bring Heaven to earth (Matthew 6:10) then you understand that you can’t do this on your own. You understand that it is the work of the Lord that brings about this in-breaking of Heaven on earth, not the work of men and women.
Case and point.
Two weeks ago, on a Monday night I got together with 7 other guys to pray. We happened to be using a church building’s library as our gathering spot. (Have you ever been to a church building on Monday night? Its kinda creepy…) Anyway, we had one of the guys bring his friends from an AA meeting to join us. He had only been to a church once before. Before we began, he mentioned that he didn’t know how to pray. So we told him he could just talk to God as if He were there in the room with us.
His prayers were honest, raw, confessional, humble and beautiful. The kind of prayers our Lord loves.
As we continued praying, the Lord laid it on my heart to pray for healing for this man. So I asked if I could lay my hands on him and pray for him. He agreed, and so I did.
After the prayer was over, I asked him how he was feeling. “Fine” he said. “How about in your heart?” I asked. “I feel great! But can I ask you a question?” “Of course.”
“Do I need to be baptized to go to heaven?”
About a million things rushed through my mind as I waited. I paused for 10 seconds or so, which seemed like an eternity as I hoped someone else might respond.
I then began by saying, “Different people are going to tell you yes and no to that question. What I’ll tell you is this. Following Jesus is like a journey. Baptism is an extremely significant part of that journey. When someone get’s baptized its their way of saying, ‘I’m putting the things of this world behind me, and now I’m going to follow Jesus.’ And when someone get’s baptized the Spirit of God comes in them in a new way that enables them to follow Jesus even better. Baptism is a statement to the world that you are now a follow of Jesus.”
“Well that’s what I wanna do,” he said. “I want to follow Jesus.”
We talked to him a while more, to make sure he understood what he was doing, and that he was not doing it out of fear, but out of a desire to follow the King that had just come into his heart to bring healing to it. And then we baptized him there at the church building on a Monday night.
Amazing how God works!
Two weeks later…
We were gathered in the same spot to pray again. Before we started, one of the guys there made a comment that he would like to leave 2 empty chairs in the circle in case the Lord wanted to use them somehow. So we did.
We began by talking about our purpose in praying, how the Lord had already been doing great things through our prayers, etc. About 20 minutes into that conversation, two guys came in, one of them was homeless, because they were looking for someone to pray with… at an empty church building… on Monday night… Amazing.
Two of the guys went out to pray with them.
Then a few minutes later a father and son walked in because the son is new to the county and wants to meet “good people.” We find out that they are Muslim’s from Iran.
So they join us in the two seats we had set aside to pray. We teach them what our prayers look like, and then continue praying a blessing over our new young friend Muhammad. You could see his heart warming up to us through this blessing. He was soaking it all in.
We met today for lunch. We prayed together and talked for a few hours. I asked him to share some stories from his faith with me. He shared the story of Noah’s ark (yes, that’s in the Koran too). Then I got to share a few stories about Jesus with him.
I asked him to reflect on his experience praying with us on Monday night. He said it was “beautiful to hear everyone in the community pray out loud. I am so used to just hearing just one religious leader pray. I loved hearing everyone pray and seeing how their faith meant so much to all of them.”
So this my friends, is why Kingdom Revolutionaries Pray. Because the Lord does the heavy lifting. We just have to show up and be a good friend.