You do not have because you do not ask. -James 4:3
In today’s Scripture James drills deep to identify root causes for the lack of spiritual vitality and the worldliness that was causing quarrels and fights among believers. They “did not have” because they were prayerless — that is, they were lacking in dependence on God through a prayer relationship. They were guilty of seeking to acquire things by taking matters into their own hands. The picture here is of a self-centered believer who is impatient and not walking in intimacy with Christ. The word “ask” in James 4:2 refers to a request of the will. At the core of their self-reliance was no desire to experience God’s presence, provision and purposes in their lives through prayer. Instead of God, they were seeking self-centered solutions to problems through fleshly and worldly means. God’s intervention in the affairs of the day was neither solicited nor wanted. Their heart pursuits were way off base and became an affront to the Lord. Therefore, prayerlessness doesn’t just refer to a lack of prayer, it also refers to the lack of any desire for God and His help or intervention through prayer.
Prior to the 1857-1859 Layman’s Prayer Revival, most churches in New York City (like many across America in that day) were struggling to hold their own numerically and spiritually. Prayerlessness abounded in many denominations and churches as spiritual and moral decline was the norm. But everything changed when God intervened by calling His people to seek Him through united prayer gatherings. God’s people suddenly began to depend on Him in prayer — seeking Him, His presence and His help in their time of need. Thus, one of the great hallmarks of the Layman’s Prayer Revival was the presence of a spirit of prayer that prevailed from the start. Union prayer meetings sprang up everywhere. From these meetings, which began in early fall in 1857, evangelistic efforts began to bear unusual fruit. Nearly 50,000 new members were added to evangelical churches in New York City by May of 1858. Today, God’s great work is hindered because of prayerlessness among believers and churches. Are you guilty of prayerlessness? What about your church? Jesus declared in Mark 11:17, “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for the nations’? But you have made it a den of thieves.’” What will you do?
Prayer: Father, forgive my prayerlessness. Lord teach me and my church to pray. Make my church a house of prayer for the nations. -Amen
Shared from the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, www.prayfor30days.org