The Power of Prayer
One of the most powerful sermons I have ever heard on prayer is by Jim Cymbala called, “My House Shall Be Called A House of Prayer”. This sermon reiterates for me an age old truth that is often ignored by modern Christians. We need to be on our knees praying! For all the “arranging” and “planning” we do in ministry, we miss the most powerful asset that we possess. We simply are not doing enough praying. There is real power in prayer. I encourage you to watch this sermon on YouTube or download it off of the web, but for now here is Jim’s testimony to the power of prayer. It is about his oldest daughter that was raised in the church, but chose to leave behind her parents and her faith to live completely for the world. I hope it encourages you to spend more time in prayer, even today, even right now!
On a February night in the prayer meeting…someone sent a note up to me. A woman, a young lady who is sensitive to the Lord, she sent a note up through the usher. She said, “I feel deeply impressed that we should stop the prayer meeting and pray for your daughter.” I looked at the note. People were praying all around me. I looked at the note and said, "God, is this really you?" I don’t want to be the center of attraction. People have their own needs. But I felt impressed it was [God].
I stopped the prayer meeting after a little while and everybody gathered together in that room in that church and held hands—over a thousand people probably that night—and I called one of my associate pastors in the front, and he began to pray. All that I can tell you, I don’t know what your theology is, and it really doesn't matter. I'm just going to tell you what happened. You know where Paul said, “I travail like a mother giving birth till Christ be formed on you” (Galatians 4:19).
Well, I told the people, "My daughter thinks up is down and down is up, and she thinks light is dark and dark is light, and unless God visits her and intervenes, my daughter is out there. Someone wants me to stop the meeting so you can pray. My associate is going to come, and he is going to pray." Suddenly, it turned into a labor room. You ever hear women when they are giving labor? It's not pleasant, but it has great results. They began to pray. I was overwhelmed by it. They went to the throne of grace like, “And now Satan, you will give up that girl.” And they prayed. I came home. My wife wasn't there that night, and over a cup of coffee I told her, “Carol, it’s over.” She said, “What's over.” I said, “It's over. If there is a God in heaven, what I experienced tonight, it is over, finito.”
Just about a day later, I was shaving and my wife burst into the bathroom and said, “Chrissy is here.” Chrissy, I hadn't seen her in four months. I went down the steps, wiping off the shaving cream, and on the kitchen floor was my daughter on her knees. I walked into the kitchen. She grabbed at my pants leg, and she pulled it. She was weeping, and she said, “Daddy, I’ve sinned against God. I've sinned against myself. I've sinned against you and mommy. Daddy, forgive me for being rebellious, etc. Daddy, it's different. But Daddy, who was praying for me? Who was praying Tuesday night for me?”
“What Chrissy, what happened?” And she said, “In the middle of the night, God woke me up and He showed me I was heading towards a chasm, and it had no bottom. But Daddy, even as He showed me that, He showed me how awful I was. He put His arms around me and showed me that He loved me, and He had a plan for my life. Daddy, I’ve made it right with God.”
I could tell by her face that she was my daughter again, the one I had raised. Very soon, God opened the door, and for the next four years she directed the music program at a Bible school. She married a man of God. They are both in the ministry today.
And God reminded me once again, "My house shall be called a house of prayer, because when you call I will answer." And the hard cases that some of you are facing, I want to tell you now, it won't come from another seminar. Seminars have their limit. All they can do is be an arrow that gets you to the throne of grace. But when you get there, watch out because God can do exceedingly beyond what we ask of Him. I’m not being emotional. I'm not being simplistic. But we have too many technicians now invading the church that are into methodology. The answer is not in methodology, the answer is in the power of the Holy Spirit. The answer is in the grace of God.
“Even those I will bring to My holy mountain, and make them joyful in My house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be acceptable on My altar; for My house will be called a house of prayer for all the peoples.”