Nearly 12 years ago, the staff of a certain Christian radio station in another city, was put in a
position to seek God, by our general manager. He announced that we would be asking listeners to begin praying for neighbors
atleast 5 minutes a day as a part of the international Lighthouses of Prayer Campaign. Obviously, the directive to make this
request of listeners meant the staff would have to begin doing so as well. I proudly jumped aboard the idea of praying for neighbors. Isn't it scary how we worship ourselves in
Jesus' name and don't see it? At first, my wife and I were enthusiasticly parroting powerless, correctly-worded
prayers while telling ourselves this was for God and the lost. Ever done that? But with the short passage of time,
it quickly turned into a drudgery and we were forced to come against the unbelief and hardness within our own hearts. By this
point, I had been a Christian for 20 years and in Christian radio for 10 years. But my supervisor's personal prayer life
and resolve to pursue the Lord forced us to actually wait upon the Lord, until Love Himself began to move in our hearts and
home. His godly leadership invaded our personal lives away from the office.
The difference between
a manipulator and leader is his motives and goals. This leader's motives and goals were continually purified and directed
by a genuine and consistent prayer life. And he was more concerned that his staff had lifestyles of prayer than building
an image of a successful Christian radio station. Incidently, that station's success was off the charts during
his tenure and the unity we had as a staff was unbelievable. I have never shared so many deep laughs and heartfelt tears of
joy. And the professional productivity was excellent during his reign as manager. Today, we remain strong friends in
Christ, even though we are not at the same station together anymore.
What happened next truly changed
the lives of my wife and myself. The discovery that we couldn't even sincerely pray five minutes
for the lost, much less an hour, brought about a healthy introspection and inventory of heart. As we were singing
to the Lord in our own home one Saturday morning, with the help of praise and worship music on CD, we began to pray out
of Jesus' love for our neighbors and family members. Tears flowed and our hearts were wrent for others as we could
finally see that God loved those we passed by everyday. Then, without the assistance of our manipulation, God began to
draw people unto Himself and open the doors of people's hearts to share His love.
few days, two separate encounters with two different neighbors occurred; Neither of whom we had ever spoken with before,
but for whom prayers were being offered. What are the odds of two different non-Christian strangers initiating the approach
and inviting themselves to our church? The second time it happened really got me. What was being seen and felt within our
souls in prayer was playing out before our eyes! This was real! Our next door neighbor tearfully gave his life to Christ in
his front yard within a month's time. He was radically changed. Another seven neighbors came to Christ and another eight
extended family members were also truly reborn within the coming year. The Holy Spirit broke out in the neighborhood
and our extended family. That December, exactly 27 neighbors filled our small home while three worship leaders, from
three different churches, led in Christmas carols, then transitioned into worship music. It was like a mini-Gaither Homecoming.
Tears were streaming down faces and hearts were full. More such gatherings, filled with singing and prayer, were held.
And many of those people were encouraged enough to join different Bible-believing congregations in the coming months.
And today, in our own neighborhood here near Park Circle, we are seeing the hand of the Lord in neighbors' lives with
the same results. We need the manifest presence of the Holy Spirit.
The real goal for the
Christian Community in Charleston is not trying to lure people to be involved in church activities, but to dethrone
the presence of the enemy in our homes. If people can begin to experience Love Himself in their hearts
and homes consistently, church leaders won't have a problem getting people involved in church. Remember that last
sentence because you're going to see some things in the coming months. Prayer is the legally Blood-bought channel which
enables the Holy Spirit to invade people's lives and introduce people to Jesus directly. God wants to amaze
us by being Him. His yoke is easy and His burden is light. He is only asking that we come to Him. He has done all the work
and paid for it in His own blood.
and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister
called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that
had to be made. She came to him and asked, 'Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself?
Tell her to help me!'
'Martha, Martha,' the Lord answered, 'you are distracted
and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will
not be taken away from her.'"
The Church in America needs to admit that we are more
like (Martha) Christian activists, than we are people of prayer (Mary). From small church to mega-church, the small
and pathetic percentages of praying members is generally the same. Those numbers have to change. When we consistently seek
God, He will open our hearts to the truth of His love for others and in those moments we see that truth, we will be equipped
to pray with power. May the Humble King be glorified in this city. May the Church in Charleston answer the call to pray.