Making Christ the King of Your Prayers
Dr. Jim Denison
A group of visiting ministers from America came to tour Charles Spurgeon’s church buildings. Spurgeon graciously showed them around the facilities—the massive sanctuary, the children’s homes, the Bible college rooms, and all the rest. Toward the end of the tour, he asked his guests if they would like to see the boiler room. They respectfully declined, with the wry comment that boiler rooms must be the same everywhere and there could be little different about those at the Tabernacle.
Spurgeon begged to differ, and insisted that they see his boiler room. Finally they agreed. Spurgeon took the group down a long flight of stairs to the basement beneath the sanctuary. There they found over one hundred men and women on their faces before God in prayer. Pointing to these fervent intercessors, Spurgeon said, “This is my boiler room.”
We all need such a “boiler room” in our lives—a source of spiritual power which sustains and strengthens all we do. But such a power is tied directly to our faith. As Spurgeon demonstrated, if we would pray in power, we must pray in faith.
Andrew Murray said, “Most churches don’t know that God rules the world by the prayers of his saints.” John Wesley was even more specific: “God does nothing but in answer to prayer.” And E. M. Bounds claimed, “The church upon its knees would bring heaven upon the earth.”
The best way to know Christ is in prayer. We know any person best by spending time with him or her, talking together, listening to each other, being with each other. So it is with Jesus. The more time we spend together in prayer, the more we grow to know him and be like him.
And this focus is especially urgent in our day, because the greatest way we can serve the cause of Spiritual Awakening is to pray. To pray for our nation, for her leaders, her people, her spiritual life and God’s divine blessing.
So this morning we’ll look at the life of prayer, and focus that life on our nation and her needs this day.
Pay the price to pray with power
We’ve explored Jesus’ miraculous healing of this demon-possessed boy. His disciples could not help, but Jesus did. Remember the story: “When Jesus saw that a crowd was running to the scene, he rebuked the evil spirit. ‘You deaf and mute spirit,’ he said, ‘I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.’ The spirit shrieked, convulsed him violently and came out. The boy looked so much like a corpse that many said, ‘He’s dead.’ But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him to his feet, and he stood up” (vs. 25-27).
Now we come to the part of the story for us today: “After Jesus had gone indoors, his disciples asked him privately, ‘Why couldn’t we drive it out?’ He replied, ‘This kind can come out only by prayer'” (vs. 28-29).
Jesus had been with the Father in prayer on the Mount of Transfiguration. Meanwhile, the three disciples with him were asleep and the nine below were arguing with the crowds. Only he had been in prayer.
Such a commitment was the pattern of his life. He began his public ministry by spending 40 days in solitude for fasting and prayer. After his first Sabbath in ministry, he got up a great while before day, went to a solitary place, and prayed (Mark 1:35). He prayed all night before selecting his disciples. He prayed before feeding the 5,000. He prayed before raising Lazarus from the dead. He prayed before dying on our cross. He prayed from the cross. He is praying for us right now at the right of the Father in glory (Romans 8:34).
Abraham built altars for prayer wherever he went.
Moses’ ministry began in an encounter with God in prayer. He spent days and weeks alone with God in prayer.
David was such a man of prayer that we have the Psalms as a result.
The church was birthed in the Upper Room, where they went to pray before Pentecost fell.
Gentiles came into the church when Cornelius and Peter prayed.
The gospel came to the Western world when Paul prayed and received the Macedonian vision.
Lydia became the first European convert when she went to a place of prayer.
The Revelation was given to John when he prayed.
Do you see a pattern?
Spiritual awakening examples.
The first great awakening began in the heart of Theodore Frelinghuysen, a Dutch Reformed pastor who prayed seven years before all his deacons became Christians, then prayed until others joined him and the Awakening fell.
The second great awakening began with Isaac Baccus, a Baptist minister who called for a massive prayer movement.
The third began when a group of laymen began meeting for prayer on Wednesday, September 23, 1857 at the Old North Dutch Church in New York City. They were led by a Presbyterian businessman named Jeremiah Lamphier. The first day, six people came to his prayer meeting. The next week there were 14; then 23; then the group began to meet daily. They outgrew the church and began filling other churches and meeting halls throughout the city. Such meetings spread across the country. In a nation of 30 million, a million came to Christ in a single year.
The Fourth Great Awakening began in Wales in 1904 in the heart of a coal miner named Evan Roberts. He was convicted of his sins by the Spirit, and turned to God in prayer and repentance. He then began preaching to the young people in his church, calling them to prayer and repentance. Prayer meetings broke out all over Wales. Social conditions were affected dramatically. Tavern owners went bankrupt; police formed gospel quartets because they had no one to arrest. Coal mines shut down for a time because the miners stopped using profanity and the mules no longer understood them.