If the “It’s Time” National Day of Prayer, “50DaystoBlesstheNation” prayer initiative, and last weekend’s Karoo Mighty Men Conference (KMMC) are indicators, then we have moved into a season of prayer that requires us to focus on preparing, planting and reaping in prayer, the fruit of which is growing closer in relationship with the Lord and doing His will on earth as it is in heaven.
The main speakers at the KMMC last weekend, with one accord, all called attention to the power and priority of prayer.
The importance and power of prayer
Afrika Mhlophe, during the first session of KMMC 2017, reminded those present of the importance of prayer when he pointed to Jesus’ disciples asking Him to teach them how to pray (Matthew 6) and how Jesus taught them to pray the Lord’s prayer.
At the end of the session 3 000 men gave their hearts to Jesus and Afrika was joined by all assembled when he prayed: “Jesus, I declare that tonight You are the Lord and Saviour of my life. I believe You died and rose again. I receive You as my Lord and my Saviour. Tonight, my life starts afresh; the devil has no power over me from this day until forever. Amen”.
The next morning Petrie Spies highlighted the power of prayer through Daniel 6 explaining that Daniel so distinguished himself by his exceptional qualities that the king planned to set him over the whole kingdom.
However, though the king’s administrators, who were jealous of Daniel, could find no grounds for charges against Daniel in his conduct of government affairs, they tricked the king to issue an edict and enforce the decree that anyone who prays to any god or human being, except to him, would be thrown into the lions’ den.
Continuing to pray
When Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he continued to pray three-times-a-day, giving thanks, praise and worship to God, just as he had done before. The administrators made a charge against him to the king.
King Darius, who loved Daniel, tried to save him, but the decree could not be revoked.
At sundown, they threw Daniel into the lions’ den. The next morning the king, who had been unable to sleep all night, ran to the lions’ den and asked Daniel if his God had protected him.
Daniel replied: “My God sent his angel and he shut the mouths of the lions. They have not hurt me, because I was found innocent in his sight. Nor have I ever done any wrong before you, Your Majesty.”
The king was overjoyed when Daniel was brought out, unharmed, because he was faithful and trusted God.
King Darius had the men arrested who falsely accused Daniel, and along with their wives and children, they were all thrown into the lions’ den, where they were immediately killed by the beasts.
The king issued another decree, ordering the people to fear and reverence the God of Daniel. Daniel prospered under the reign of Darius and King Cyrus after him.
Daily practices in the good and bad
Petrie asked the KMMC crowd what their daily practices were and what their practice was when under threat.
Like Daniel, prayer should not only be our regular practice day by day, but also in answer to all circumstances — good or bad, just as Daniel’s first response was prayer, which is proactive.
Petrie encouraged the men to call upon the name of the Lord when they returned home and to make a practice of prayer in all circumstances, because our reactions, especially in difficult times, are a testimony to the world.
He emphasised that the choices we make not only influence those around us but generations to come.
Bishop Joshua Lwere started the third session at KMMC by reporting that the network of more than 30 000 churches across Uganda of which he is overseer was praying for the KMMC.
He informed the men gathered that their prophetic responsibility in their homes is to connect their families to God through prayer.
Connecting to God through prayer
“Every man in his house connects his family to God through his prayers and relationship with God. To the degree you are connected to God, you connect your family.
“When you are disconnected from God, then the whole family is disconnected, for you are the head of that family.”
Bishop Lwere, explained that by men’s prophetic responsibility they represent God to their family also giving direction and guidance, which, when done well, leads to blessing in the family.
He said praying for each member of the family and spending time with them is essential.
“We also have a responsibility as priests in the family: to pray for our families mentioning them daily before God.
“Prayer is a very big deposit in your family members’ lives. Children who have a lot of prayer become great leaders in the Bible, while others who did not have a lot of prayer did not achieve greatness.
An inheritance of prayer
“There are several inheritances that we can leave for our children, but the most important is prayer, so I encourage men to pray for their children daily.
“Maybe you don’t have a big estate to leave for your children, but every day you can sow into the lives of your children through your prayers. Once you leave them a lot of prayer, even if you have left them very little in estate, they will be able to multiply it many times over.
“Your prayer is much stronger than any other person praying for your son or daughter, because it has authority with it, which goes with responsibility. You declare things, you bless them, and you prophesy over them, which is honoured by God,” said Bishop Lwere.
He explained that prayer before the birth of a child and dedicating them to God results in much knowledge of their lives.
“Hannah did that for Samuel, who grew up to become a Godly man. Our children are living in a very dangerous world and one way to protect them is through prayer.”
Priestly responsibility to pray for leaders
The Ugandan Church leader said we also have the priestly responsibility to the nation to pray and intercede with God on behalf of the people of the country and their leaders.
“This is very important: we have no authority to criticize any leader until we have prayed for them. We are very quick, as human beings, to criticize without praying, for as human beings we make mistakes.
“As believers we are not expected to criticize nor do we have authority before God until we have prayed. In fact, every time we criticize without having prayed, we disqualify ourselves from being intercessors. The same mouth that is supposed to intercede loses power when it criticises or accuses without having prayed.
“When we intercede or pray for people and leaders, God opens a door to use you to answer the prayers that you are praying. God can only use you to answer the prayers that you are praying if you are praying in line with His will.
“When we don’t pray for our leaders and our nation we are not carrying-out our Christian responsibility, we are sinning against God. Furthermore, we have the responsibility before God to pray with love.
“If we pray with love, with ownership then we can stop God’s judgment on a nation, we can intercede and cause change anywhere; an employee of a bank who loves the bank can pray and intercede so that a manager who is dishonest will be dismissed, such is the spiritual authority that we have.
“However, it starts and ends when you have the level of ownership of love and a life laid out before God. When we have intercessors with that level of commitment, you will see God perform great miracles, because they have authority,” said Lwere.
Prayer central on Sunday as well
Prayer was also central on Sunday morning when Angus Buchan addressed the families at KMMC.
“I said to the Lord a few days ago, ‘Lord what am I going to tell these people?’ He said ‘Angus, you need to speak to them about the power of prayer’.
“I have always been a praying man. I have been saved for almost 40 years, but I have never prayed like I am praying now. Over these last six-to-eight weeks my whole prayer life has been transformed.
“We need to become a praying people. If you can’t pray you are not a father. If you can’t pray you are not a mother. If you can’t pray you are not a Christian!
“Nobody in the Bible prayed more than Jesus, the Son of God. Often they went looking for Him and He had been up the mountain.
“A man who doesn’t pray has got nothing to say. When men work they work, when men pray God works and God is working in South Africa!”
Speak to God first
Uncle Angus related to the crowd that an intercessor once said to him, ‘Never speak to men about God until you have spoken to God about men’.
“Before you speak to your family go into the secret place and pray and Jesus will give you the words to say.”
The Mighty Men Conference founder read from Matthew 6:5-13 And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
Uncle Angus asked the crowd to stand and said that we do not pray the Lord’s Prayer enough in Church these days.
“This is the prayer that Jesus taught His disciples. It is the greatest prayer that has ever been written, so we don’t have to reinvent the wheel, all we have to do is be obedient.
“We are talking this morning about the power of prayer. When you pray according to the power of the Holy Spirit then things happen, but when you pray according to your own desires, wants, lusts, greed then nothing happens.
“The Lord knows what we want before we ask Him.”
The Lord’s prayer
Uncle Angus then led those assembled in the Lord’s Prayer:
“Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name.
“Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
“Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us.
“And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, for Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.”
Uncle Angus said to the crowd: “When you leave here today you are going to start to pray; pray, pray, pray!
“They asked Billy Graham, ‘What is the secret of your success. What are the three most important principles?’ He said, ‘Number one is prayer, number two is prayer and number three is prayer’.
“I want to become a man of prayer. I want to be known as a man of prayer.
“The more I see Jesus, the more I want to know Him.”
Become prayer warriors
Uncle Angus implored those present to become prayer warriors when they go home, because the more we pray the less mistakes we will make, the more we pray the less we will hurt our family, and the more we pray the more we will love our fellow man irrespective of whether he is black or white.
“There is not a revival that happens anywhere in the world without prayer. We need to become a praying people.
“We need to become prayer warriors. God is looking for people who will pray. Pray against corruption in our government, pray for our government.
“We are going to become a praying people; there must be passion when you pray. Get angry with the devil. Tell the Lord your problems, but don’t get angry with God or disrespect Him; He’s not your mate, He’s not the man upstairs, He is God.”
Uncle Angus then asked the entire crowd to rise out of their seats and gather together in front of the stage where he led them in calling out to the Lord in prayer.
“Lord, thank You for dying for us on the cross at Calvary. I proclaim South Africa as a Christian nation. From today and for evermore, I commit my life, I commit my family, I commit my business, and I commit my vision to you alone in Jesus’ name. Lord make me a prayer warrior. Lord, starting from tomorrow morning I am going to waiting for you and I thank you Jesus that You will speak to me and I will wait for you, not only in the morning, but all day and everywhere. In Jesus’ name. Amen! Amen!”