Gospel For Asia: Road To Reality Radio Program
The Power Of Prayer
Aired on August 20, 2011
Hi, this is K.P. Yohannan, you know, this is true of me, every time I come into the studio and sit in front of this microphone I say to myself, you know what I really wish I could be with this brother or sister in their car or in their kitchen or wherever and just talk to them face to face. Obviously that is not possible so here is a miracle, once again the Lord has provided that we can have this conversation.
You know, I don't know just a few months ago I heard that some study was done by some people in Atlanta Georgia about the prayer habit of believers, of Christians here in North America. And I don't know if this is accurate or not but what I read goes something like this: average Christians in our country here pray less than eight minutes a day and ministers or clergy or pastors spend less than twelve minutes a day in prayer. Now that kind of tells us maybe how many tens of thousands or millions of Christians actually may not even pray at all. Their prayer habit may be just say, Lord thank you for this food and make the sign of the cross and go on with life, but how many really understand the seriousness of spending time with the living God on their knees and really interceding for the crisis, the need or, in other words, for the things that God is concerned about.
Now my objective today is not to criticize you or condemn you or put you down or anything like that but think about it, what is the one crisis we have in the church today? If you ask me I will tell you it is the lack of the knowledge of the living God. People keep asking me often the same question, just the other day somebody was visiting with me who comes from a very well-to-do financial situation and you know he wants to follow the Lord and he asked me a question at the end, you see you've been walking with God now forty years and serving God, tell me one thing that you think is so important and critical in a believers life and I didn't have to think much about it. I said believe it or not the most important thing is to seek God and know him. But I said the problem is you cannot know the Lord and have this Scripture fulfilled in the life of the believer, that is, we are not called just to be obeying this and that, not doing a bunch of bad things and doing a bunch of good things, no. Actually we are called in the New Covenant to be partakers of the nature of our Lord.
It is no more something objective or outside, rather it is the life of the living Christ. Now we are able to experience and have him incarnate through our earthen vessels and fulfill his plan in the light of eternity and I said this is not possible until and unless we come to the place where we experience the reality of being with him in prayer. Not just five minutes a day not just ten minutes, you know, crying out for this need and that need and all those things and make all our plans and say God please bless this and do this for me, no. But really waiting to hear him and to know him.
And the Scripture says, you will seek me and you will find me when you do so with all your heart (Jeremiah 29:13). Those who seek me will find me (Proverbs 8:17, 1 Chronicles 28:9, 2 Chronicles 15:2,). And this is exactly what I think we need now in our time with all the crisis and problems everything going on. But you know here is a problem, especially people in North America people are conditioned to think from the childhood, no we can make it happen, very pragmatic, don't tell me it cannot be done, it can be done. So we transport this cultural thinking into Christian faith. So you go to the Christian bookstores what do you find? Hundreds of titles, how to do this, how to have that, how to achieve it, how to be a good husband, how to be a good wife, you know we are constantly bombarded with things from the pulpit as to all the things we must do to be pleasing to God, to fulfill his plan. But so little do we hear about being the slaves, the servants who will wait and watch to hear what God has to say. And I think my brothers and sisters the answer to whatever we are looking for it need to be from the living God. And we will not know his ways until we come and be with him.
I've been spending quite a bit of time reading the history of the early church, not only the first century of course you know all traditions passed down by the church fathers the of course you know these desert fathers and people who left the limelight and busyness of life just to seek God, not for something from him no, just for God and God alone they went out and spent weeks and months and years seeking God and some of their stories and their journey impacted me greatly.
Now in the book of Ezekiel in the Old Testament in chapter twenty two verse thirty we have this interesting verse, well rather convicting verse. God says, I looked for a man among these people who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on the behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found none. Now if you know the passage, I mean there are hundreds of prophets and you know in our contemporary language, pastors and preachers and evangelists and you know and whatever names you want to call these people in so called full-time ministry God says you know they're everywhere but my problem God says I'm seeking for one man, one woman who will wait and stand before me on the behalf of the land so that they will not be destroyed but I'm not able to find one person.
I talked to a pastor sometime ago, I mean this kind of conversation usually don't happen but it was kind of a heart to heart conversation and he opened his heart and asked me about the ways of the Lord and my journey with the Lord and all these things and he was quite hungry and so during the conversation I had the freedom to ask him the question, you know brother, if you don't mind can you tell me how much time you spend to prepare your Bible study for your church like Sunday morning or midweek Bible study and he said ya, the truth of the matter is I spend eight, nine, ten hours no less than that. Sometime he said it takes three days of daily study several hours. Then I said, how much time do you pray? I paused and I said, when was the last time you were on your knees for an hour or half hour and his face looked kind of blank. I said please understand I'm not trying to put you on any kind of trip or you know, make you feel bad. And he put his head down and kind of quietly said, ya I know what you're saying.
It kind of reminds me of one time this dear pastor friend of mine who actually pastored a very large church in Washington state and he happened to travel to one of our mission fields overseas and he was there to teach a whole week in one of our major seminaries and I was not staying with him at the house. So there was a young brother assigned to take care of this pastor, you know, bring him tea and food and different things because it was a full assignment of teaching and we wanted to make sure he was taken care of. So one day I asked this young brother who was actually the caretaker for this pastor who was there in India doing the teaching at the time and I asked him, so is he doing ok? And this young brother said, you know one problem, I said what? Every morning I make the tea and bring it and I see the door is completely open and I look in but I find him on his knees and so I don't want to disturb him so I put the tea outside hoping he will come out and take it. He said so many time when he tried to bring something to him or whatever, often he find this pastor actually kneeling by the bedside and praying. And one time he said, I heard him crying. Well I was not surprised by that because I often wondered what actually is the secret of this man's teaching that is something that God uses, peoples hearts are gripped, it is not entertainment and wonderful teaching, rather people's lives are transformed and there is fruit that remains. Repentance and transformation was not self-induced or temporary but year after year whenever he goes to any of these nations to teach a report I hear of how the lives are impacted.
Now, you don't need to be a pastor to have a large congregation built really if you think about it some politicians draw huge numbers of people. They are very well learned and articulate their thoughts well, brilliant orators. But the kingdom of God, it is not in words but in power. But none of us in the ministry can truly represent the Lord unless we stand before him, wait before him, pleading, interceding to hear from God, the Lord saying, this is what I want to tell my people, this is what I'm thinking about it.
I'm so grateful recently during one of my visits to the East Coast, Philadelphia, a dear friend of mine who is pastoring a huge congregation I think seven, eight thousand people or more than that and he said to me, we are canceling our Sunday evening service. I mean he teaches through the Word verse by verse and he said I'm canceling that, rather now we are calling Sunday evenings for prayer meeting. Well I was delighted to hear that because I knew families are in crisis, the economy is in crisis and the problems are mounting and I know so well there is no answer except dad and mum, waking up in the middle of the night praying on their knees for their children, for their future, for their life and for the nation and for the society. And the churches coming together, not for entertainment and more knowledge more this and that, rather crying out to God and weeping before Him.
And when I heard that I said, so wonderful. So after that prayer meeting of the Sunday evening I called him after a couple of days and said, oh by the way I'm just calling to find out how did the prayer meeting go Sunday evening? He said, oh wonderful. I said can you tell me more about it? He said well we have eighteen hundred people show up for the Sunday night prayer meeting. Ah man, then he began to talk, he said, you just wouldn't believe it, people are weeping all over the place, people just getting up and going to others praying with them, repenting and seeking forgiveness and reconciliation and he said, the Lord showed up. And I was so happy and he said well we are going to continue doing it, we are not legalists he said, you know I mean the Lord can tell us not to do it fine but right now we know the most significant thing in life is to seek God and know him.
Do you know what's going on in different parts of the world. You say, what do you mean, well this is all over television or magazines or whatever but the question I want to ask you, what did you do with the information? Did you say, well what am I supposed to do, or did you say oh Lord, on the behalf of this world, the people in Afghanistan, in Albania in Cuba in Mexico in Spain and Haiti, Lord I want to take this time to plead, to intercede. It aches, it's painful, our flesh hates it but you know, prayer you will never learn by reading books. Yes E.M. Bounds books and Arthur Wallis and a thousand other books are out there wonderful but my brother my sister, you learn prayer by praying.
Some people ask me to tell them about Gospel For Asia the mission I am part of and how our life is and how this all began and all these different things. You know I tell them, you know what, some thirty-two years ago when I was pastoring a church, being a clergy of a church in Dallas Texas, the Lord spoke to my heart about walking away from everything to give my life for the lost world. And I really did not know what to do, my wife and I said ok we'll just start praying. So Tuesday evenings we will call some of our friends and we will just pray, we have a world map up there on the wall instead of a television set and we just pray for different countries of the world and we say Lord whatever you tell us we will do and it took weeks and months as we began to pray and seek the Lord. The Lord began to minister to us what we were supposed to do, that was the beginning of Gospel For Asia, today scattered throughout a dozen nations seeing multiplied millions of people come to know the Lord, some sixty plus minor seminaries where thousands of young people are trained and reaching the lost world and you know, Christian gospel broadcasting in 110 languages, I can go on and tell you a whole bunch of things that's happening but, it all began with prayer.
And that is the reason by the way, around the world even today we have the tradition I would say a good tradition, every Tuesday evening every week we meet from seven o'clock in the evening until nine in the evening just praying. And first Friday of every month we gather our entire staff some one hundred and sixty people here in the U.S headquarters and Canada and UK and all over the world. We meet from Friday evening until morning hours praying, all-night prayer meeting. I tell you, we finish our Tuesday night prayer or Friday night, we can't cover all the information. I mean think about the book Operation World that is out there, information about every country in the world, what to pray for, what kind of people live there, what are the things happening every single day that we watch that can become prayer requests.
And by the way, for some time our staff have been talking about maybe opening our prayer meeting for brothers and sisters like you and congregations who want to join us through streaming. And we tested this out by the way its absolutely amazing, hundreds and hundreds of families and prayer groups are able to log on and do the streaming, what that means is that they can see actually all our people praying and prayer requests are shared and like you know, I'm sharing a prayer request and I say look, we are going to pray for Burma. And we say, you know, this is what happened, this is a need, this is a crisis, or persecution what is going on in parts of the world and this is the prayer request. And all of a sudden we are now dividing into three or four small groups and kneeling and you know, huddled together praying for these things, at the same time, people who are streaming they are also now praying for these prayer requests in their homes. Here among our staff you will find a daddy and mummy and two kids you know as a family praying together or brothers and sisters praying together and there in the homes people are joining us in prayer.
So we have decided that we will open it up for anyone who wants to join us for these prayer meetings, it's a revolutionary, fantastic, exhilarating experience and if you would like to know more about it and join us in this kind of prayer experience, again, you learn to pray by doing it, and I ask you to go to our website, Gospel For Asia's website and learn about this Friday all night prayer. You don't have to join us for the entire six hours or eight hours, you can join us for an hour or whatever but here is the thing. God is looking for those whose hearts are completely his. It is not by might not by power, but by his Spirit says the LORD (Zechariah 4:6).
Please listen to me, when life on earth is over, God will make sure that whatever that remains as a result of our life on earth will not be things we have done with the power of money, our energy or influence or any of those stuff. He will make sure those things that remains will remain that are of Him. And things that are of Him actually comes about through our absolute dependence on our Lord and the power of the Holy Spirit. But we need to understand this, our flesh always will want to get the credit and make things work but as far as God is concerned, He is not looking for a majority or huge things, but a mighty minority that know him. People that He can manifest His glory once again through their lives.
So I earnestly request you to consider this and maybe you should get a world map and put it their, somewhere in your room and look at the world. TV and radio and magazine or whatever news that you listen, let not that be just news, let that be prayer requests. Get an alarm clock and see if you can use it to wake you up maybe twelve in the night or one in the morning and spend that half hour, hour before the Lord. I have a little booklet I wrote: learning to pray. It is free for downloading and you can get it or you can ask for it whatever. Again you know, one of my dreams, Lord would you please raise up a few million people who will know you, who will pray on their knees, who will see fasting not as a means to lose weight but rather weeping before you on the behalf of the society, the community the world. Remember, eighty thousand people die every single day having never heard Jesus name, especially in the Asian part of the world and then think about the whole world. Let us be those people who know the living God, who will do exploits, but that happens on our knees. May the Lord speak to us and draw us close to Him. Thank-you for listening.