By Kenneth Carpenter
My hopes are that you have enjoyed a great season of reflecting on the goodness of God and His incarnation at Bethlehem. We are now in the early days of a new year, filled with potential. Almighty God has blessed the ALJC abundantly. We are made up of people who love God, His word, and His people. We are also blessed with a thirst for more of God in our lives. Our executive board, general board, departmental leaders, pastors, evangelists, and missionaries all desire for more souls to be birthed into His kingdom in 2014.
Yet, we understand this will not happen by desire only. God, in His master plan, has placed at our fingertips the tools to reap this last day harvest—prayer. It is my desire, as your general superintendent, to lead the ALJC deeper into prayer ministry than ever before. I believe all great, lasting, and profitable moves of God were caused and sustained by prayer. Therefore, I am currently working with every district superintendent, asking them to organize a prayer ministry and call for district-wide prayer meetings in 2014. If we implement a prayer program, God will move among us, and our purpose and focus will become clear. But we must take the first step toward this endeavor. As with all spiritual steps the first few are the most difficult, because it deals with our flesh and our adversary, the devil.
Luke 3:21-22; Wow when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened, (22) And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a clove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased.”
This passage records the baptism of Jesus Christ. While many have taken the appearance of the spirit in the form of a dove, the voice from heaven, and the person in the water to teach the erroneous doctrine of three persons in the Godhead, there is a goldmine of revelation on the subject of prayer. First, the man Christ Jesus submits himself to baptism. Verse 21 states He was baptized—the act of baptism was complete. The next step was prayer. As He was praying, God took over, heaven was opened, and that which couldn’t be seen became visible. The Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape, and a voice from heaven gave affirmation to His identity. This passage lays the foundation for the principal of prayer.
The awesomeness of prayer is that everyone with a desire can pray. Prayer is not based on education, social status, right location, etc. Heaven opens up to praying people! There are many benefits of prayer.
Jesus shows us that prayer should go before conflict. Conflict has been known to distract and keep us occupied with things that don’t produce revival. Yet prayer prepares us for the conflict. Sandwiched in between Luke 5:16 and Luke 6:11 is the healing of a crippled man, and plucking and preparing corn on the Sabbath day. Both of these events brought conflict from the Pharisees. Luke 5:16 informs us that Jesus prepared Himself in prayer before the conflict and also prayed after the conflict. He never missed one step on the way to the will of his Father.
Luke 5:16, Mnd he withdrew himself into the wilderness, and prayed.” Luke 6:11, ‘And they were filled with madness; and communed one with another what they might do to Jesus.”
Yet Luke 6:12 states, “And it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God.”
After conflict with the religious leaders, Jesus prepared Himself for a greater conflict through an “all night in prayer” meeting before choosing the 12 apostles. Scripture reveals that in choosing the 12 apostles, Jesus chose Judas, a traitor. The greatest conflict is not those outside our company, but those that are within. Prayer prevented Jesus from spending three and a half years in conflict with Judas, distracting from His goal. Prayer enabled Jesus to allow Judas to play the role God had written for him.
Think with me. How much more can you and I accomplish for the Kingdom in 2014 if our prayer life dominates our conflicts, instead of our conflicts dominating us? I believe, just as the Word promises in 2 Chronicles 7:14, “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land?’
ALJC, the promise is ours if we accept the challenge of prayer ministry. Daily prayer can bring life back into you, your family, your ministry, your church, and your community. Prayer brought Pentecost down, healing, Peter out of prison, and the list goes on and on. Plans are in place for a focused prayer ministry within the ALJC organization. Without fail, it will bring greater anointing and power to our lives. Please join me in daily prayer during the 31 days of January as we set the course for 2014.