Note: This post is associated with a call to 50 days of prayer at Bethel Church of Houston in association with the Houston Church Planting Network. You can find the HCPN daily devotion by following this link: Day 5
Welcome to day five of the 50 days of prayer. Today we consider the third of four challenges Evan Roberts gave during the Welsh revival of the early 1900s. If you missed the first two, take a glimpse back at the last two devotions.
According to J. Edwin Orr, Robert’s challenged his listeners, “You must obey the Spirit’s prompting.”
Everyone one of you reading this blog probably responds to such a statement based upon your church culture or personal theological disposition. I will resist writing a treatise on the topic. Let me draw our thoughts to three considerations of this challenge as it regards prayer.
First, have you ever unexpectantly had someone come to mind. You are mowing the grass and you begin to think about Joe at work and the fact he seemed distracted by something on Friday. You are reading and the words of an old friend or mentor come to mind which makes you smile. Perhaps it is a similar experience to the Apostle Paul as he wrote to the Philippians, “I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now…”
These may well be prompting of the Spirit to pray for these people. Perhaps it is thanksgiving to God for them. Perhaps it is contacting them and finding out how things are going so you may pray for them. I cannot tell you how many times I have done this to find out the person really needed prayer. Or, how many times I had such prompting and did not contact or pray for them later to find out they were going through some tough times.
The second application of Robert’s challenge is when the Spirit brings something to mind while you’re praying. Praying is not simply our bringing request to God but an openness to what God may be doing to accomplish his will. Think about the story of Peter and his call to go to Cornelius and the Gentiles. Luke tells us, “About noon the following day as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the roof to pray.”
This noon-day prayer would have been one of the common times of prayer for a first century Jew. Little did Peter know God would give him a vision during his prayer time. God had something for Peter to accomplish and chose to reveal it to him when he took a moment to quiet himself before God and pray. We might not have a vision in the same way as Peter but are we prepared for God to speak to us in our times of prayer whether through his written word, an impression on our heart or in other ways? I realize by saying “other ways” I lost some of you. But just maybe the promptings of the Spirit can come in any way needed to get our attention. A simple filter: Holy Spirit prompting must always align with Scripture and be for the glory of Christ.
Finally, remember the Bible is God’s word and most often the promptings of the Spirit come in response to the reading, study and Preaching of his word. If I did not believe the Spirit worked in such a way, I would never preach again. Consider John 16:13 and 1 Corinthians 2.
How is the Spirit prompting you? Consider this when you pray and do not delay. An awakening may be in God’s plan.