How was your prayer service this Wednesday?
Next week I will be attending the Georgia Baptist Convention. I can't remember attending a gathering of preachers and ever being asked that question about Wednesday services. The question they ask is, "How were services Sunday?"
Yet the service we had this week that moved my spirit was on Wednesday at prayer meeting. Sunday was great, but Wednesday was awesome. About 100 people gathered in the Memorial Chapel on November 8. I continued the teaching that I have been doing on the prayers of the Bible. We looked at the question of how to pray when going through a battle in life. The text was Judges 20, where the 11 tribes went to war against the tribe of Benjamin because of the horrendous sin committed in Gibeah of Benjamin. Two times they prayed and were defeated, but the third time they won the victory. I noted that the first time they inquired of God on the way (Judgees 10:18). The second time they wept before the Lord until evening and then prayed (v. 23). The third time the entire army gathered, they wept and sat in humility, fasted all day, sacrificed offerings and then prayed. Watchman Nee called the spiritual lesson here "the principle of praying thrice." The principle is that God often wants us to pray continually before a breakthrough occurs. For example, in Matthew 26:36-46 we read of Jesus praying three times in the Garden of Gethsemane, and in 2 Corinthians 12:8-9 we read of Paul praying three times for his thorn in the flesh to be removed. In all of these occasions, a spiritual breakthrough took place when they persisted in prayer to the point of being willing to sacrifice to be obedient to God.
I asked if anybody had an experience like that to share, and all over the room people began to tell of praying for a husband to be saved for years and of overcoming an addiction, etc. Most people shared how it took years of patiently praying for someone before they saw results. One woman then said, "I came tonight ready to give up on my marriage, but I realize I need to keep praying."