It is an understatement to say, “When God shows up, everything changes.” When the infinite power and presence of God enters the equation, it is impossible for things to stay the same. Just as a person could not stand directly in the Texas sun for a length of time without it causing significant physical change, a person cannot be in the manifest presence of the God who made the sun and remain spiritually unchanged.
This should bring us to the sad reality that God’s manifest presence is absent in most of the churches across our state. How can we see hundreds of thousands of people gathering weekly in our churches and see so little life change? I believe the root problem in the church today is not declining attendance, declining baptisms, or the absence of biblical preaching. These could only be symptoms. No, I believe the root problem is the absence of desperate prayer that has led to the absence of God’s manifest power and presence.
So, what is the answer? It’s not more manpower, better methods, or innovative ministries. The answer is a return to desperate prayer that is fueled by a deep desire for the presence of God. And here’s the encouraging news: we are actually seeing this happen! In recent days, God has been doing some incredible things across the country in an increasing number of our churches. There is a wave of revival happening! Stories are being shared of miraculous healings, repentance from sin, restored marriages, freedom from addictions, and an exponential number of salvations and baptisms.
What is the catalyst for this powerful move of God? The one common denominator in each of the churches experiencing this move of the Holy Spirit is a return to desperate prayer motivated by a recognition of the absence of God’s manifest presence. In different ways, these churches came to the end of their earthly solutions to kingdom problems. They were honest about their true spiritual condition and placed seeking the face of God in prayer as their highest priority.
In the book of Acts, you clearly see the power and effect of corporate prayer by those who seek him. The early church was a praying church! They recognized the necessity of praying together for the power and presence of the Holy Spirit. In Acts 1-2, what appears to be a 10-day prayer meeting led to the miracle of Pentecost and the radical conversion of thousands. In Acts 4, the church’s first response to persecution was a prayer meeting. In Acts 6, the church was growing so quickly that the apostles appointed more leaders to share the burden so that they would not neglect their highest priority—the ministry of prayer. Yet again, we see in Acts 13 another prayer meeting. In that season of prayer, the Holy Spirit called the church to send out Paul and Barnabas on the first global mission trip in the history of the church. The gospel went to unreached people because a reached people prayed together!
When God’s people pray together, there is a supernatural outpouring that happens in the church! There is also a supernatural favor or grace that he bestows upon us. Doors will open, resources will be provided, and divine opportunity will be given to God’s people! But most importantly, God’s presence will be encountered, enjoyed, and experienced.
My prayer for the SBTC, our state, and our nation is to witness the largest prayer movement among our churches we have ever had. In turn, I pray that it will usher in the greatest revival this generation has ever seen.