“And the Lord appeared to Solomon by night, and said unto him, I have heard thy prayer, and have chosen this place to myself for an house of sacrifice. If I shut up heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among my people; 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.” – II Chronicles 7: 12-14
In this season of a pandemic, racial injustice and disasters, no doubt, people all around the world are praying. Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up or lose heart. (From Luke 18:1) Guess what? We are his modern-day disciples so he’s telling us now to do the same: always pray and don’t give up.
I had a chance to talk with two intercessors, from Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church in Eatonville, about reminders in prayer and some keys to effective prayer. They both started with the foundation: People must first believe in God (have a relationship with God) and use the authority he gave them to pray victoriously.
“Prayer during this time is specific and strategic when pulling down of strongholds –specifically in situations that are occurring such as the uncertainty of the longevity of COVID-19, the killing of innocent Black people, rampant police brutality, a government provoking hatred, loss of income and separation of families, all of these things where evil is entrenched and produces hard, tough, difficult problems that are not easily solved.
All we can do is pray,” said Deaconess Jami Thomas, who served as the church’s Intercessory Prayer Ministry leader for more than 10 years.
“As believers, we are to hold fast to our faith. We’re in a spiritual battle. We can’t predict what’s going to happen. But we can prevail regardless of what happens. If you want a victory, you have to pray victoriously. This pandemic has no power over our prayer nor our praise.”
Amen, we know there is absolutely nothing too hard for GOD so we trust in HIM. (Ephesians 3:20, Luke 18:27)
Sis. Lorene Johnson, who was appointed leader of the prayer ministry last year by Pastor Willie C Barnes, shared some keys to effective prayer:
Do your best to live a life that’s pleasing to God – righteously. Confess your sin and repent. Reference: I Peter 3:12
Give yourself to God. No longer sit on the throne of your own heart, making decisions according to your flesh and asking God to agree with you in your mess. Reference: Romans 12:1-2
Be honest with God when you pray. As the scripture tells us, before we were formed in the womb, God knew us. If we are saved, he set us apart for his service. We may or may not be a prophet to the nations (like Jeremiah) but each life in Jesus Christ is purposeful. Reference: Jeremiah 1:5
Forgiveness is most vital. We must forgive others in order to be forgiven by God and in order to be heard by God. We tend to justify our position of not forgiving because of what another person said or did, how we were treated or how we were wronged. We have no right to do this. Jesus paid it all up on the cross. He bore our sin and shame. He set us free. Let’s walk in that freedom! Reference: Matthew 6:14-15
Some reminders going through these turbulent times: Make sure you’re anchored steadfast in Jesus. Seek him for answers, Johnson said.
“The word says – cry loud and spare not. Pray,” she said. “You have to use your voice. God wants to hear us cry out for one another – for our country, for our government and economies around the world. Pray for our pastors, leaders, authorities. God has allowed the entire world to have the same experience together.
“We have been selfish and self-serving for much too long. If all you can manage to get out is ‘Lord God, Help Me,’ do that. The Holy Spirit will interpret the rest.”
She added: “God cannot fail. He has forced us to look at the man in the mirror – not the face of the man that he quickly forgets but, the heart of the man that causes us to repent and turn wholly and solely back to God. Our position of power is on our knees.”
Orlando Community News, 2020