BY CLIFTON JONES
It is quite clear that our failure to see prayerlessness as sin has resulted in continued absence from the prayer closet. The only way we will regain the things we have lost, or let them be taken from us, is to repent from our prayerless state and pursue prayer with all of our heart, soul and spirit.
The question might be asked,
“How can you label lack of prayer as sin?”
In the light of the importance the scripture places on prayer, we cannot help but see it as sin. I would go so far as to call it the number one sin among the children of God, because it is the one sin which opens the door for all the others. When one is not praying, they are not sensitive enough to detect sin until it strikes. When you are praying, your tender heart will detect sin in its embryonic stage, and abort it before it can manifest it’s self.
I fully agree with the song that says, “Oh what needless pain we bare, all because we don’t carry everything to the Lord in prayer.” Many of the things we suffer are the direct result of prayerlessness. Prayerlessness is sin, because prayer is the endowment of a spiritual operation; therefore to omit prayer is to omit the power. A prayerless person or church is no more a threat to the kingdom of darkness than a water gun is to a fish. Without prayer we will be cooperating with darkness and not realize it. Nothing dulls your spiritual perception like prayerlessness. When your life is prayerless, the door of your heart is open prey for every foul spirit that comes knocking.
Most of us don’t pray enough to catch God’s vision, or to detect Satan’s division. Without prayer we a-re robbed of God’s revelation, and are left with a devilation. Prayer opens your spirit, better than Afrin nasal spray will your nose. Prayer is the one and only thing Jesus said we should always do.
Luke 18:1 “And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint.”
In the above text, we are given two things to choose from, pray or faint. In today’s church, more seem to choose fainting above praying. Prayerless people are fainting or falling out with everybody. The Lord
included preachers, deacons, choir leaders, Sunday school teachers, ushers, you name them and they are falling out or fainting.
Jesus warned his disciples that failure in prayer would result in falling into temptation.
Matthew 26.41 “Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
No man can continually withstand temptation without continually praying. This is the clear cut reason we are seeing so much yielding to temptation and sinning today. Jesus told us that the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. Our human spirits operates in nurture, waiting for a strong enough influence to give command so it can follow. When a weak spirit is found in a weak body, the results are very weak. Seven days without prayer makes one weak. Let us understand that praying will not stop trouble from rising, but it sure will keep you from falling. We can sum up all Christian’s failures in a few words, “the lack of prayer.”
Nothing has contributed to the world’s over-all Godless condition like prayerlessness. We have attempted to invent better methods, plans and techniques: The results? Sin has multiplied and the church waxed cold.
Matthew 24:12 “And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.”
The increase of evil which was brought about by the decrease of prayer has resulted into some very cold conditions in the world and in the church. Oh how we need to pray that the Lord will turn the heat up in
us, because the temperature outside is very cold. You know when its cold outside, you must increase the heat inside, less the outside climate take over on the inside. If we don’t repent, and return to prayer, we are going to be as cold in the church as the climate is in the world.
Already the absence of prayer has taken the shame of sinning out of the church folk like it did Israel of old.
Jeremiah 6:15 “Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? Nay, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush: therefore they shall fall among them that fall: at the time that I visit them they shall be cast down, saith the LORD.”
No man can spend time in the presence of the Lord and come away without conviction. Likewise no man can absence himself from the presence of the Lord and acquire conviction. The kind of conviction, I am speaking about is moral and spiritual. In other words seeing the magnitude of holiness and righteousness, and wrongs of sin. We can no longer take for granted that everybody knows these things, because what we are seeing in our midst today say just the contrary.
To further complicate the issue, we so often convene in a one or two weeks meeting and call it revival. It will take more than two weeks of singing, preaching or teaching to bring about a revival in our cold
conditions. That is like sending a chiropractor into a morgue expecting results. Our needs are deeper, and just preaching alone won’t satisfy.
We need anointed preaching that will convict us of our prayerless ways and send us back to the prayer closet. We need anointed teaching to keep us there until revival really breaks out.
Actually, the root cause of revival is prayer. There is absolutely no other formula that guarantees it. As important as preaching is, you cannot preach down revival aside from prayer. You cannot teach it down, nor advertise it down. Whenever revival come down it will be in response to seeking prayer.
Most congregations desperately need to close down all of their many activities, and spend those hours and days in search of God’s anointing through prayer. Real-life changing revival will only come to us when
we restore our altars of prayer. Most of us have never seen real revival. We have seen a few nights of outreach efforts, but not real revival. Revival is not limited to how many souls get saved or baptized. It goes beyond the size of the attendance, offering, or any other physical manifestation. Revival is spiritual in nature, that is why only prayer can cut the way for revival. Revival brings back what has been lost or stolen, and returns one to his/her former order or past state. Revival cheers up, wakes up, opens up and causes one to confess up and get ready to go up.
Most of what we call revival leaves us operating business as usual.
“WITH REAL REVIVAL COMES REAL REPENTANCE, REAL CONFESSIONS. REAL FELLOWSHIP, AND REAL CHANGE IN THE LIVES OF THE PEOPLE OF GOD.”
It is sent only to the children of God who have fallen away from their close relationship with the Lord. When we are revived, we will seek out the lost at any cost and share Jesus with them. When you consider
how many of God’s children who have never spent time seeking the lost, you know we need revival. As you read these lines will you please pray for revival. It is the only thing that is going to save our churches, our nation, and our world.
When you compare ancient Israel with Judah, their life styles were very similar, yet Judah stood longer than Israel. The reason why Judah out lasted Israel – there were no kings in Israel to lead them in revival,
while Judah had several who lead them in revival. If someone don’t lead us into revival our conditions can only get worst. We should join the Psalmist and ask in Psalms 85.6, “Wilt thou not revive us again: that thy people may rejoice in thee?”
It is our freedom in worshipping the Lord that get man’s attention. Worship is at its highest level when the people of God are revived, and is at its lowest when there is need for revival.
Sad Hearts Cannot Sing Happy Songs,
By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion.” “We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof.”
“For there they that carried us away captive required of us a song, and they that wasted us required of us mirth, saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion.”
“How shall we sing the LORD’S song in a strange land?”
I know this is a scene from the Babylon exile, yet it speaks today to the need of freedom to sing Zion’s songs. When we are dry, we do a great injustice to worshipping God.
Psalms 142:7b “Bring my soul out of prison, that I may praise thy name:”
When one is hindered from worshipping God, it is like being in a prison. Only revival in answer to prayer can bring us out.
To further stress the importance of prayer, we will look at some of Jesus’ examples:
He placed its importance above sleep and rest.
Mark 1:35 “And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed.”
He placed its importance above fellowship.
Mark 6:45,46 “And straightway he constrained his disciples to get into the ship, and to go to the other side before unto Bethsaida, while he sent away the people. And when he had sent them away, he departed into
a mountain to pray.”
(Jesus, after ministering to the people, sent them away so that he could be alone to pray. When we end our services, we look for a place to dine and fellowship.)
He placed its importance above teaching and healing. Luke 5:15,16
“But so much the more went there a fame abroad of him: and great multitudes came together to hear, and to be healed by him of their infirmities. And he withdrew himself into the wilderness, and prayed.”
All of the preceeding things mentioned are important, but none of them kept Jesus from prayer. To put it in the words of an old song, “If Jesus had to pray, what about me?” No doubt someone will say Jesus was
just setting an example. If that is the case, let us began to follow his example, for doing so will cause joy to flood into your souls. Do yourself, your family, your church, your community, your city, state, nation and the entire world a favor, develop your prayer life Jesus’ style.
THE ABOVE MATERIAL WAS TAKEN FROM PRAYER CLINIC II, 1990, PAGES 65-71. THIS MATERIAL IS COPYRIGHTED AND MAY BE USED FOR STUDY & RESEARCH PURPOSES ONLY.