"Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father." Colossians 3:17
The name of Jesus is a major unifying factor. In spite of diversity, there can be great unity when believers choose to agree on Jesus. Without Him the message of any gathering becomes a cacophony of sounds that clang and clatter with such confusion that the world cannot hear His voice coming out of the mouths of His people.
When I gathered with 60,000 preachers, pastors and posers at the Promise Keepers Clergy Conference in Atlanta in February 1996, one of the speakers illustrated this point beautifully. He called upon those present to stand up, and in unison shout out their denominational preference or brand. The sound was deafening, but it failed to deliver a clear message. He then challenged everyone to shout out "The Name." He made it clear in his instructions that he was making reference to Jesus. He counted to three, and the sound of 60,000 people shouting out The Name of Jesus was a powerful verbal explosion. It left everyone on their feet cheering and high-fiving their neighbor. To this day, the memory sends chills down my spine. As the kids would say today, "It was EPIC."
Praying in The Name of Jesus is no less powerful. When people gather to pray in His name, God recognizes The Name that is above every other name, and responds to the intercession of those who humble themselves in His Presence, and approach Him in the name of His Son. This is the essence of prayer, and it is our last hope for Awakening.
Prayer is not eloquence. It is not poetry put to music. It is not, in the strictest sense, praise or even petition. Prayer is all about position. Prayer elevates The Name of Jesus and humbles the person who is doing the praying. Prayer is a living, breathing embodiment of the message of John the Baptist, "He must increase, and I must decrease."
So often, when people gather under the call to pray, they cannot stop themselves from using the time to elevate themselves. To use a contemporary analogy, many people use their moment in the spotlight, to take a "selfie."
In the arena of public prayer, one of the most flagrant fouls is made by the players who can't bring themselves to pray without a rambling preamble. This usually includes sharing a few thoughts about prayer, explaining what they are about to pray, a humorous anecdote, a time of bonding with the audience, and in so many other ways a turning of the focus on themselves, and away from The Name of Jesus. They prove themselves to be a player, but not a pray-er. Let me be clear. THIS DRIVES ME CRAZY!
Prayer is a gift from God. It may very well be the least opened gift in the life of the believer and the local church. When days or sessions are set aside for prayer, it is time to pray, not for breakfast, and bonding or sharing and tearing. In the words of Nike, "JUST DO IT!"
I have friends who believe prolonged singing is the equivalent of praying. They can't pray without music dominating the experience. I have other friends who believe preaching is superior to praying. They do it with excellence, and leave prayer at the beginning and the end of it. Still, I am haunted by the thought that singing and preaching saturate the church, but have yet to usher in the next Great Awakening that is sorely needed. I may be wrong, but I am convinced it is time to TALK LESS! PRAY MORE!
Join me in praying in The Name of Jesus for the next Great Awakening. Jesus lives to intercede. He is seated at the right hand of The Father, and has opened the line of communication to God. The Spirit lives to interpret prayers that are made with the faintest whisper or the deepest groan. Songs that are sung, or sermons that are preached, without the humility to lift up The Name of Jesus, give faint hope and little prospect for next Great Awakening.
Answered prayers should never be impeded or delayed by anyone confused enough with their own self-importance to believe they can improve the lines of communication with their oration. Public prayer may be done with passion, but ANSWERED PRAYER is about position.
Take a knee, not a "selfie." Pray and thank God for The Name of Jesus that makes prayer possible. Players make a name for themselves. Pray-ers make a difference. Jesus has made the connection. The line is open. TALK LESS! PRAY MORE!