Below is a devotional that I did for the Africa Revolution board meeting this past Monday. I am hesitant even to write much or talk much about prayer, because I feel like I too often give lip service to the importance of prayer that is not backed up with a lifestyle of continuous & earnest prayer. Nonetheless, I was challenged as I shared this with the board on Monday, and the power and priority of prayer very much resonates with me.
The following excerpts from “Prayer And Missions” by E.M. Bounds within The Complete Works of E.M. Bounds and are slightly adapted…
“Prayer has a great deal to do with missions. The success of all real missionary effort is dependent on prayer. The life and spirit of missions are the life and spirit of prayer. Both prayer and missions were born in the divine mind. Prayer and missions are bosom companions. Prayer creates and makes missions successful, while missions leans heavily on prayer (p. 142)”
“The key of all missionary success is prayer. The Africa Revolution board on her knees fasting and praying (alongside of both African and American churches in prayer), is the great base of spiritual supplies, the sinews of war, and the pledge of victory in this great work of the Lord. Financial resources are not the real sinews of war in this fight. Machinery itself carries no power to break down walls, open effectual doors, and win hearts to Christ (nor can it bring about holistic redemption). Prayer alone can spark a revolution! (p. 143)”
“The Africa Revolution board has done a paltry thing when she furnished the money to establish missions and support her missionaries. Money is important, but money without prayer is powerless. Prayerless giving breeds barrenness and death. Poor praying at home is the solution of poor results in the field. Prayerless giving is the secret of all crises in the missionary movements of the day, and is the occasion of the accumulation of debts in missionary boards (p. 143).”
“It is truly wonderful how great a part money plays in the modern religious movements, and how little prayer plays in them. In striking contrast with that statement, it is marvelous how little a part money played in primitive Christianity as a factor in spreading the gospel, and how wonderful a part prayer played in it (p. 144).”
“The grace of giving is nowhere cultured to a richer growth than in the closet. If all our missionary boards were turned into praying bands, until the agony of real prayer and travail with Christ for a perishing world came on them, real estate, bank stocks, bonds would be in the market for the spreading of Christ’s gospel among men. If the spirit of prayer prevailed, missionary boards who individual members are worth millions (or maybe thousands in our case), would not be staggering under a load of debt and great churches would not have a yearly deficit and a yearly grumbling, grudging, and pressure to pay a beggarly assessment to support a mere handful of missionaries, with the additional humiliation of debating the question of recalling some of them. The ongoing of Christ’s Kingdom is locked up in the closet of prayer by Christ himself, and not in the contribution box (p. 144).”
“Is the harvest great? Are the laborers few? Then, “pray ye the Lord of the harvest to send forth laborers into his harvest.” Oh that a great wave of prayer would sweep over the Africa Revolution board asking God to send out a great army of laborers into the harvest fields of the earth (Africa)! No danger of the Lord of the harvest sending out too many laborers and crowding the fields. He who calls will most certainly provide the means for supporting those whom he calls and sends forth (p. 148).”
“The one great need in the modern missionary movement is intercessors (p. 148).”
And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed.
Luke 5:16 (NIV)
But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places to pray.
All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.
And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.
So Peter was kept in prison, but earnest prayer for him was made to God by the church.
…he went to the house of Mary, the mother of John whose other name was Mark, where many were gathered together and were praying.
Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them (Paul and Barnabas) and sent them off.
About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God…
When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.
1 Thessalonians 5:17
Pray without ceasing.