I think it was Dr. Budd at Asbury College that first introduced me to E.M. Bounds. Each class, Dr. Budd would read a selection from one of Bounds books on prayer- which he wrote at least eight. Bounds was known for getting up everyday at 4:00 a.m. to study the Bible, pray, and write. I’ve had a collection of Bounds books for awhile and thought I would begin reading them again as part of my own personal study time.
Let me make a confession here…I am terrible at prayer.
I don’t know what it is, but I have a hard time spending an extended period of time in prayer. My mind wanders. I want to get up and move around. But I have been working on it the last several months to become more disciplined at it.
In the book, Power Through Prayer, Bounds writes something that is incredibly important. Many church leaders flock to conferences on church growth, read books on church growth, or want to keep up with the latest trends for growth and communicating the gospel. To an extent, that describes me. I want to learn new ways to effectively communicate the gospel. But list to these words…
“What the church needs today is not more machinery or better, not new organizations or more and novel methods, but men [leaders] whom the Holy Spirit can use- men [leaders] of prayer, men [leaders] mighty in prayer.”
I am sure that in my ministry, I have sacrificed prayer in pursuit of a quicker method or a more efficient way. I am guilty of trying to learn something new rather than coming before the throne of God in prayer. Now, there is nothing wrong with new methods- but I think Bounds is correct, the church needs leaders who are mighty in prayer. Leaders to whom the Holy Spirit can mold and shape to have a powerful influence for the kingdom.
As we turn towars 2010, let us cultivate a deep, vibrant prayer life. Whether we are called to minister in the Church, our offices, our families, or our schools, let us seek to become mighty in prayer.