- (Photo: Reuters/ Rick Wilking)
Jonathan Falwell, senior pastor of the popular Thomas Road Baptist Church in Virginia, announced on the Christian Television Network this week that most Christians today think prayer is just something to do as believers.
“Wrong,” he said on CTN. “Prayer is not something we do. Prayer should be in our culture and embedded in our very being as Christians.”
Falwell, son of the late televangelist Dr. Jerry Falwell who founded Thomas Road Baptist Church, a megachurch with 12,000 members and growing, says Christians today struggle with how to pray. Some Christian simply do not understand how powerful prayer is and what it means to pray.
“Christians need to develop a culture of prayer in their lives and in America,” Falwell said.
Aimed at creating a culture of prayer, the megachurch is kicking off a campaign this fall titled, “Need Prayer?”
Church leaders say they will be posting the prayer message on giant billboards, transit buses and trains, taxicabs and yard signs to spread the message that prayer should be constant and the church is there for those who need prayer.
The signs will have a 24/7 phone number to call. Members will be available to pray with or pray for anyone who calls in on the hotline.
“I believe our church is one of the fastest growing churches in the nation because we have been faithful,” Falwell said. He says Christians need to jump start their day on their knees in prayer and make it a part of everything they do in an effort to create a new “culture” in their lives.
Most Christians have encountered problems in their prayer life. It could be that God did not answer our prayer, or we encountered a moral dilemma while praying for our enemies, or perhaps we wonder if prayer is something we should even worry about as long as we thank God every once in a while and ask Him to forgive us of our sins.
However, Christian leaders say prayer is a personal connection to the Lord God who created heaven and earth. It is a powerful thing to speak to the living God. It is a privilege, a responsibility, and necessary for our spiritual growth.
Some Christians say if God knows what is going to happen why pray?
Robert Velarde, Christian author of the book Conversations with C.S. Lewis, says God has called us to pray and that our prayers can have a life-changing influence on the world and the people in it.
Sometime we are the problem of prayer. “Sometimes we don't pray, we don't pray in faith, we pray wrongly, we pray for the wrong reasons or we pray out of habit rather than conviction,” Velarde writes in a column for Focus on the Family.
“In these instances, we are the problem, not God or His truths,” he said. “Fortunately, this problem in prayer can readily be corrected if we will get ourselves back on the right track in our relationship with God.”
Jesus made it clear that His Father’s Church should be known as a “house of prayer for all nations.”
Leaders with Prayer Transformation Ministries say a significant shift needs to occur and churches today must develop into “cultures of prayer.” If a church becomes a culture of prayer, it will reflect the very values of the heart of God.
Biblically speaking, God is a personal being. Religious leaders say knowing God has the ability to relate to us is critical to prayer because it means that God is a person we can interact with. It means that He has a will and that we are able to relate to Him on a meaningful level.
In relation to prayer, this means that God always desires the best for us because He loves us. More than anything, prayer is an exercise of faith. It shows God we have faith in Him and His power.
Christian leaders remind us that God is also wise and holy. God knows what is best for us, as well as what will lead us to holiness rather than sin. He is also immanent, meaning that God is active in His creation in a personal way, not only directing greater matters of history, but also involved in the life of everyone.
This means that no prayer is too great for Him, but also that no prayer is too small for Him.
James 4:8 says to "Draw near to God and He will draw near to you."
"Prayer changes the one praying because in prayer, you are in the presence of God as you lay before Him your complete self in confession and dependence," Prayer Transformation leaders say.
To Comment on this story email R. Leigh Coleman at firstname.lastname@example.org.