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A People Of Prayer

By Trey Kent

    To be a people of prayer we must embrace not only the phrase “everything by prayer” (Phil. 4:6-7), but we must live a lifestyle fueled by unceasing prayer.  I learned very early that unceasing prayer does not mean we never miss a minute or hour of prayer, but that we never quit praying.  Unceasing prayer is unrelenting, persevering prayer as a lifestyle for the rest of our lives.

    The story of Jesus and the two blind men from Matthew 20:30-34 powerfully illustrates unceasing personal prayer:

    “And behold, there were two blind men sitting by the roadside, and when they heard that Jesus was passing by, they cried out, ‘Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!’  The crowd rebuked them, telling them to be silent, but they cried out all the more, ‘Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!’  And stopping, Jesus called them and said, ‘What do you want Me to do for you?’  They said to Him, ‘Lord, let our eyes be opened.’  And Jesus in pity touched their eyes, and immediately they recovered their sight and followed Him.”

    We can draw four lessons from the desperate prayers of these two blind men.

Lesson One:  Call Out to Jesus

    I believe unrelenting, unceasing prayer is driven by two unmistakable sources:  our great need and God’s empowering Spirit.  These blind men were clearly needy, hurting, desperate, and burdened to cry out to Jesus.  God is drawn to our weakness.  True prayer emerges from our need for God and our need for help.

    Most people are burdened by overwhelming needs.  God made us needy.  And He made us to pray.  We can allow our needs to become our friends in prayer.  Desperation keeps us calling out and seeking solutions.  Needs ultimately drive us to God, who cares more than we do and knows how to answer our prayers in ways that give Him the most glory – and us the most good.

    Like the two blind men, we must call out to Jesus.  Human need may be a great instigator of prayer, but only the Spirit of God in us can enable us to pray without ceasing.  He works in us so we won’t quit praying!  To become people of prayer, we must regularly be filled with the Spirit as Paul urges us in Ephesians 5:18.  The Spirit of God is the Spirit of prayer.  When our needs drive us to God, the Spirit keeps us coming back day after day, season after season, decade after decade.  Paul teaches us that the Spirit helps us pray in our weakness (Rom. 8:26).  And it’s our weakness that makes way for the Holy Spirit to resource us in prayer.

Lesson Two:  Challenges to Prayer Will Constantly Arise

    The two blind men who cried out to Jesus were met with great opposition from the crowds in Jericho.  The crowd rebuked them telling them to be silent (Matt. 20:31).  That’s how it works for us as well.  Life, the devil, our fears, our circumstances, unanswered prayer, and sometimes well-meaning friends try to silence our cries to Jesus.

    Far too often, we succumb to these temptations to stop praying.  This is one of the chief reasons Jesus teaches us over and over to never stop praying, to keep on asking, seeking, and knocking – to be bold in our tenacious prayers for God to intervene with mercy.

    I face three main temptations trying to silence my prayers:

    – Temptation to think God is not hearing me,

    – Temptation to think it doesn’t really matter if I keep praying,

    – Temptation to get too busy to pray.

    …My biggest battle, even to this very day, is to refuse to let busyness in my heart, mind, and schedule choke out prayer.  I keep reminding myself there is nothing more important I can do than pray.  As S. D. Gordon said, “You can do more than pray after you have prayed, but you cannot do more than pray until you have prayed.”

    What about you?  How is the enemy or your circumstances seeking to stop your prayers?  I invite you to join me right now in praying a simple prayer:  “Jesus, please help me to persevere in prayer and not quit.”

    There it is.  I know He hears our sincere prayers and will help us today to be men and women of prayer.

Lesson Three:  Let the Challenges Cause You to Pray All the More

    The two blind men responded in a surprising way to the crowds yelling at them to be silent:  “But they cried out all the more, ‘Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David’” (Matt. 20:31, emphasis added).

    Are the challenges, lies, hardships, and voices trying to silence you actually causing you to cry out all the more?  That’s the work of the Spirit inside of us.

    The Spirit prays without ceasing – and invites us to join His constant intercession.  Paul urges us to pray “at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication” (Eph. 6:18).  No human can pray without ceasing; the Spirit inside us does.  We must join His cries.

    Imagine the vast work the enemy stages to silence the prayers of God’s people.  Satan knows the power of our prayers.  Samuel Chadwick, a great champion of prayer, taught:  “Satan dreads nothing but prayer.  His one concern is to keep the saints from praying.  He fears nothing from prayerless studies, prayerless work, and prayerless religion.  He laughs at our toil, he mocks our wisdom, but he trembles when we pray.”

    If this is true, we must devote our lives to praying God’s prayers and walking in His will.  Our great joy is to follow God and defeat the works of the enemy.  Our cities are places that have been rampaged by Satan’s schemes.  The prayerless church plays into the devil’s ploys by refusing to stand against him in prayer.  James 4:2 gives a clear rebuke to our prayerless ways:  “You do not have, because you do not ask.”

    I wonder what our lives, families, neighborhoods, churches, and cities are missing that God would love to give, simply because we have been silenced by the barrage of Satan’s schemes.  This is the hour.  We are the people to rise up and say, “No more!”

    We are called to cry out in unity for God’s Kingdom to come and His will to be done on earth as it is in heaven!

Lesson Four:  Jesus Calls to Those Calling Out to Him

    The astounding part of the story of the two blind men who kept calling out to Jesus, in spite of the great opposition, is that Jesus stopped and called out to them: “And stopping, Jesus called them and said, ‘What do you want Me to do for you?’  They said to Him, ‘Lord, let our eyes be opened.’  And Jesus in pity touched their eyes, and immediately they recovered their sight and followed Him” (Matt. 20:32-34).

    Imagine with me today that because of our calling out to Jesus for Him to bring sweeping change to us and to our cities, Jesus calls out to us and says, “What do you want Me to do for you?”

    That’s an overwhelming thought.  What do we want Jesus to do for us, for our families, for our cities, for our nation, and the world?  For this, we must cry out in unceasing ways, in private and in public, until we see Jesus’ mighty Kingdom overtake the kingdoms of the world!  Jesus is inviting us to ask.  He is calling out to us to call out to Him through prayer.  He will hear our prayers, forgive our sins, and heal our land (2 Chr. 7:14).

    One of the most strategic tricks of the enemy is to blind us to the power of prayer.  Most Christians have no idea how prayer is viewed, honored, and celebrated in heaven.

    …God honors prayer.  Heaven knows the immense value of the prayers we pray.  Hell knows the power of our intercession.  It is only the Body of Christ that doesn’t understand all that God does when we pray.

    …In Austin, a growing number of pastors and leaders see the urgency of raising up people of prayer and churches of prayer who never give up.  This is vital to seeing both the awakening and the transformation we long to see in our city.

    To be a people of prayer means we strive with the Spirit’s power and with our brothers and sisters in Christ to pray without ceasing.  We cry out to God; we use opposition as fuel for more prayer!  We cry out all the more.  We rejoice in a God who calls to us and asks what we want Him to do.  We have been given the great privilege to be a people of prayer.

    People of prayer are motivated, inspired, and empowered by the unfailing promises of God!

    – Condensed from City of Prayer:  Transform Your Community Through Praying Churches by Trey Kent and Kie Bowman, © 2019 by Trey Kent and Kie Bowman.  Used by permission of PrayerShop Publishing.  prayershop.org