A Passion for Prayer
It is key to our witness. It is vital to moving His church forward. Passionate Christianity should be the norm for every believer—not the exception. Our spiritual passion should be something we fight to protect. Get Spirit-filled content delivered right to your inbox!
1 & 2 Chronicles: Passion and Prayer
Click here to subscribe to our newsletter. It has been through times of drawing closer to God through prayer and fasting that I have received some of the most precise, specific direction for my own life, my family and our church. I would have missed out on what God had for me and our church. The first 10 years of my ministry at Celebration Church felt like life with Jesus in the fast lane. I ran so hard and so fast. My relationship with God was great, but the church grew so rapidly I had to sprint to keep up.
If not, the other voices, business and pressures of ministry crowd out the voice of God. But unless we are tuned into God and can hear His voice clearly, we may end up saying yes to the good, and miss what is God. And when we miss what God has in mind, we will miss out on our very purpose, both as His followers and as His church. I have discovered that prayer and fasting are key practices in tuning out these voices and cultivating passionate Christianity. These practices should periodically be done together—in other words, corporately.
After experiencing it and being so passionate about the results of prayer and fasting in my own life, and then seeing the impact it made in our staff, leadership and church, we opened it up to the body of Christ and launched Awakening: 21 Days of Prayer, Fasting and Personal Devotion that takes place each January.
Prayer and fasting is more than a program for us. It is embedded deep in our culture. And I firmly believe that we will see believers and churches everywhere have the greatest impact for the kingdom of God as we seek Him through prayer and fasting. We simply should not draw our own conclusions based on fear or lack of understanding and close the door to such a beneficial experience. Fasting for health and weight loss is very popular in the secular world right now, and unchurched people neither fear it nor think it extreme.
Fasting is a spiritual discipline God designed for us, and fruit will always come from it. There are great churches around the globe that start every year with prayer and fasting and have even been doing it longer than we have. There are other churches that have never tried it but want to. By uniting with these churches and providing fasting resources and tools, we want to help churches develop a culture of prayer, fasting and seeking God in their congregations.
Most importantly, we want to do this together. I encourage you to build a culture of fasting and prayer in your church. You will be amazed at what God will show you through your own Awakening experience. Help Charisma stay strong for years to come as we report on life in the Spirit. Click here to keep us strong! Rutland's training for yourself and then enroll for the full training that will change your life and ministry.
We declaim our petitions in a way that would do credit to a stage surrounded with spectators. We praise one man, and we blame another man, in our prayers. We have an eye, now to this man present, and now to that man absent. We pronounce appreciations, and we pass judgments in our prayers. We flatter the great, and we fall down before Kings. We tell our people what the Queen said to us, and what we said to her.
We argue, and we debate, and we reason together, sometimes with men, and sometimes with God. Candlish's forenoon prayer? We used to say that his first prayer was enough for the whole of that day. He so "prayed in that prayer. Sometimes he would take us to our knees till we had knees in those days like James the Just, as he led us through the whole of Paul's reasoning with God and with man in the Epistle to the Romans.
Sometimes he would argue like Job, and would not be put down; and then he would weep like Jeremiah and dance and sing like Isaiah. That great preacher was an Elijah both in his passions and in his prayers. He would put all his passions at one time into an Assembly speech as he stood before Ahab, and at another time into a great sermon to his incomparably privileged people: but I liked his passions best in his half-hour prayer on a Sabbath morning; he so "prayed in that prayer. Candlish's oratorical power: but you have plenty of passion if you would but make the right use of it.
You are all vicious or virtuous men, prayerful or prayerless men; and, then, you are effectual or unavailing men in your prayers -- just as your passions are. You have all quite sufficient variety and amount of passion to make you mighty men with God and with men, if only your passions found their proper vent in your prayers. You have all passion enough -- far too much -- in other things.
What an ocean of all kinds of passion your heart is! What depths of self-love are in your heart! And what a master-passion is your self-love! Like Aaron's serpent, your passion of self-love swallows all the rest of the serpents, of which your heart is full. What hate, again, you have in your heart, at the persons and the things you do so hate! What hope also for the things you so passionately hope for! Oh, if only you had that passionate hope in your heart, which maketh not ashamed!
Yea, what fear!
Developing a Passion for Prayer
Yea, what vehement desire! Yea, what zeal! Yea, what revenge! We have all plenty of passion, and to spare: only, it is all missing the mark. It is all sound and fury, a tale told, a life laid out and lived, by an idiot. Our passions, all given us for our blessedness, are all making us and other people miserable. Our passions, and their proper objects, were all committed to us of God to satisfy, and to delight, and to regale, and to glorify us.
But we have taken our passions and have made them the instruments and the occasions of our self-destruction. We are self-blinded, and self-besotted men: and it is the prostitution of our passions that has done it.
Does the thought of God ever make your heart swell and beat with holy passion? Does the Name of Jesus Christ ever make you sing in the night? Do His words hide in your heart like the words of your bridegroom? Do you tremble to offend Him? Do you number the days till you are to be for ever with Him? And so on -- through all your passions of all kinds in your heart? No, oh no! Your daily life among these men and women is full of passion: but your heart in your religion is as dead as a stone. And you are not alone to blame for that. Your father and your mother, your tutor and your governor, taught you many branches of learning and perfected you in many accomplishments, as they are called: but they could not teach you to keep this passion in your heart, for they did not know the way.
You never heard them say so much as the word "passion" in connection with prayer. And your ministers have not mended matters. They did not study the passions at college: at least, never in this light. They graduated in mental philosophy; but it was falsely so called.
Their first-class honours puffed them up: but they edified them not. And ever since; their own passions are all in disorder and death, and how then could they correct or instruct you?
Their own passions are not aflame within them with God, and with their Saviour Jesus Christ, and with His Cross, and with His throne of judgment, and with heaven; and with hell. The Bible, naturally, shows a preference for men of "like passions" with itself. The more passionateness any man puts into his prayer, the more space and the more praise the Bible gives to that man. Jacob will come at once to every mind. Now, why does Jacob come to all our minds at this moment?
This Month's Devotions
Simply because he was a prince in the passionateness of his great prayer at the Jabbok. What a tempest of passion broke upon the throne of God all that night! What a storm of fear and of despair, and of remorse, and of self-accusation, and of recollection, and of imagination, and of all that was within Jacob! Jacob's passions literally tore him to pieces that terrible night. His thigh-bones were twisted, and torn out of their sockets: his strongest sinews snapped under the strain like so many silk threads. There was not another night like that for passion in prayer for two thousand years. Esau also often "halted upon his thigh": but that was with hunting too hard; that was with running down venison, and leaping hedges and ditches after his quarry.
Esau wrestled with wild beasts. But Jacob, -- he wrestled with the angel. And take Hannah as an example to wives and mothers. What a passionate, heart-broken, half-insane woman was Hannah!
A Passion for Prayer by Thomas D. Elliff
For, how she "prayed in her prayers"! She was absolutely drunk with her sorrowful passion. She would have fallen on the floor of the sanctuary as she reeled in her passion, had she not caught hold of the horns of the altar.