Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist steadfast in the faith… 1 Peter 5:8-9
Dear Praying Friends:
Dave Butts is chairman of the National Prayer Committee (NPC), president of Harvest Prayer Ministries, and a leader in many other national groups. In 1991, Rev. Butts wrote A New Call for Extraordinary Prayer:
It is very easy to allow our attention to be diverted back to what we call “normal.” Unfortunately, “normal” often means life without God and without a dependence upon Him in prayer. I believe it is vital for us to hold on to our first response…the response of prayer.
The Church desperately needs to both issue and respond to a new call for extraordinary prayer. Extraordinary prayer goes beyond the normal expectations of the past. It is prayer that can bring God’s power to bear on a whole new world facing us–a world of uncertainty, fear and war.
The Bible records times of extraordinary prayer like this. One good example occurred in the Book of Esther. The crisis there concerned the lives of every Jew held captive in Babylon. A decree had been issued that would result in genocide for the Jews. Queen Esther was going to risk her life by going to the King on behalf of her people; however, before she went, she called her people to three days of prayer and fasting for her mission. Extraordinary prayer brought about extraordinary deliverance.
The Book of Ezra gives another good example of extraordinary prayer. Ezra… preparing to lead a group of the exiles back from Babylon to Jerusalem (realized the danger and) that they should not merely presume upon God’s protection. So he called the people to humble themselves and pray and fast over the journey. God heard their prayers and gave them safe passage…
Charles H. Spurgeon, was used by God to bring many into the Kingdom and in the process, a large church was built in London. He challenged his people to extraordinary prayer… He wrote… “Have we not tried to preach without trying to pray? Is it not likely that the church has been putting forth its preaching hand but not its praying hand? O Dear friends! Let us agonize in prayer, and it shall come to pass that (we) shall witness the sighs and groans of the penitent and the songs of the converted”…
In the United States, the Great Awakenings came in response to Christians gathering for extraordinary prayer… Robert Bakke in his wonderful book, The Power of Extraordinary Prayer writes, “It was born out of convictions that say with certainty that, regardless of how bright or dark the hour we live in, God is about to do something greater than He’s ever done before… A great and lucid vision of Christ’s earthly reign was before their eyes–with (people in every nation) united… before the throne of God… It was a compelling vision that would not let Christians rest or let go of God until the rule of God held sway in every aspect of life.” …
Has your church made a decision to pray extraordinarily for the working of God’s power? The key … was for Christians to gather together for times of extraordinary prayer–as was the practice of the early Church (see Acts 2:42-47; 4:17-37).
We are living in times that are not “normal.” What has been normal for us in our prayer life and experience of Christianity will not suffice for this hour. God is calling us to extraordinary prayer! How will you respond? (Dave Butts, A New Call for Extraordinary Prayer, 1991, abridged).
The urgency of Dave’s timeless message has grown exponentially. May we all hear and respond!!!