Power Through Prayer
E.M. Bounds as evidenced in his book truly believed in the necessity of prayer in one’s relationship with God. His diagnosis of the church needing people of prayer was very convicting. His statement that, “The church is looking for better methods; God is looking for better people” was a very powerful declaration (p. 13). The best part about what Bounds laid out as a call to fervent prayer was the passion with which he spoke about the subject. It was obvious that he had discovered that very need for authentic, passionate communication with God in his own life. As I read it became very clear to me that for a Christ follower to be walking with God and to be used by God would necessitate consistent communion with God (sounds like common sense).
The thought that a Christ follower could only be properly effective for God would be that he was in communion with Him (through prayer), therefore being controlled by the Holy Spirit and receiving enablement for ministry. The reminder that this effectiveness is not attained through learning and training alone. Bounds makes it clear that orthodoxy (as he puts it) is not sufficient by itself, it must be accompanied by the ministry of the Holy Spirit through that individual (which is possible through a healthy prayer life).
The author truly exposed an issue that I must deal with in my own life. He mentioned that true prayer takes time, and not a small amount of it. So often I hit the ground running in the morning. I pray during the time I feel I can spare, and start my day. The thing that the Holy Spirit really made clear to me was that this kind of practice does not allow me to truly accomplish more, in fact I may accomplish less. The reason for this is that I may not be adequately prepared spiritually and do not have the enablement, wisdom, discernment, etc… that I may have received from an adequate amount of time spent communing with God in prayer. God revealed to me that instead of thinking that prayer should be curtailed so that I can accomplish more, prayer should be given its proper emphasis so that what I do accomplish is more likely to be under the blessing and enablement of God.
It seems so obvious to me what I personally can implement in my own life. God brought this book into my life at the time that I most need it. Ministry and family health issues have really brought me to a point of fatigue. After reading this book I went up to the attic and laid down on my back and just cried out to God. I asked forgiveness for my lack of dependence upon Him, and my need for help. This time of God was like medicine to my soul. After that flat on my back moment, I have tried to deliberately take time to commune with God in prayer. Bounds is right, it takes time to quiet your soul before God and commune with Him. I have found it has been what I need, and what I have been missing.
In terms of application for my church the implications are similar to my own. I know that many people are missing out on the same thing that I was missing out on. Recently I heard a man say that for pastors “church is your life”, for church people, “it isn’t.” So if out of absolute necessity I am spending even a minimal amount of time with God to survive, a lot of them are not even spending the minimal amount of time. It is not necessarily something on their radar screen. If I thought that I didn’t have enough time to spend significant time communing with God in prayer, most likely they are spending even less because of busyness. I have shared with people my flat on my back attic experience to encourage them about the need to spend an adequate amount of time communicating with God. Also, during our prayer service we have begun to take the majority of our time and commune with God in prayer. We have been praying specifically for spiritual revival in our lives, church, and community.
Power Through Prayer