- - Sunday, November 29, 2015

E. M. Bounds, the great man of prayer, wrote:

“Men are God’s method. The church is always looking for better methods; God is looking for better men and women! The Holy Spirit does not flow through methods; He does not come on machinery; He does not anoint plans, but, rather, men and women — men and women of prayer.”

He went on to say: “But never have we had more churchgoers and fewer true saints. And it is prayer that makes saints. Holy character is formed by the power of real praying … We must learn anew the worth of prayer. We must enter anew the school of prayer.”

The saints of old constantly referred to a place they called their “prayer closet.” It wasn’t a literal “closet,” but rather, a private place where they got on their knees in secret and met with God. It was a place where they humbled themselves before God, and confessed their sins before God, and pursued hard after God. It was a place where they (2 Cor. 7:1) “perfected their own holiness in the fear of God.”

It was a place where they poured out their hearts in intercession. It was a place where they lingered, and persevered, and contended for their souls as well as the souls of others. It was a place where the carpet was worn down where their two knees fit. It was a place of earnestness and fervency (Ps 63:1; Lk 22:34).

This is in contrast to our modern “prayer-lite.” Praying while we’re shaving, or putting on our make-up, or sitting in traffic, or falling asleep between sentences at bedtime. Sure — this is praying. But it is not powerful praying! It is not earnest, prevailing, fervent prayer. Serious prayer, that accomplishes serious things for God, is serious work.

Over the past several years, the Lord has been speaking me deeply about this in my own life. And He has also been helping us begin to build a coalition with like-minded pastors across the metro Washington area. One of the outgrowths of this new prayer coalition has been the Washington Prayer Gathering, held on the past two Columbus Days (2014 and 2015 — and planned for 2016) on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

People who love Jesus gather there from every denomination, racial group and ethnic background to worship the Lord. And then we pray — for ourselves, for our churches, for our city and for our nation. And we beg God for mercy and ask Him to send revival. I urge you to plan to join us in 2016.

But it is not one, large, public prayer event that will move mountains for the Lord. Rather, it is constant, daily, private “prayer closet” sessions that will do so. And weekly times of God’s Church gathering to pray and seek His face.

I believe that the greatest sin of the modern church is our prayerlessness. The Lord has convicted mine, and I hope He will do the same for you.

Let’s remember: those Christ-followers who make the mightiest impact on their world for the Lord — and who see the mightiest answers to their prayers — are the ones who are the mightiest in their “prayer closets.”

Rev. Lon Solomon is senior pastor of McLean Bible Church.

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