“Teach me to do Your will, For You are my God; Let Your good Spirit lead me on level ground. For the sake of Your name, O Lord, revive me. In Your righteousness bring my soul out of trouble. And in Your lovingkindness, cut off my enemies And destroy all those who afflict my soul, For I am Your servant. Psalm 143:10-12
The last nationwide spiritual awakening in America began in 1905. It was basically an overflow of the great revival that began in Wales in late 1904. That has been some 100 years ago, and the likelihood of anything approaching that in America appears unlikely anytime soon. Could it be that this situation will finally bring us to our knees in brokenness, repentance and prevailing prayer? We shall see.
That brings up some interesting questions. Is there any ground for us to realistically expect to prevail in prayer? What is the real purpose of prayer after all? Psalm 143 is a prayer for deliverance and guidance written by the psalmist David. He was being pursued by King Saul and his army, and in utter desperation David begins to pour out his petitions to the Lord. It is in these last verses that David appears to see what the real purpose of prayer is, and the sense of expectation that this realization produces. First he comes to see that prevailing in prayer is for the glory of the Lord’s name, not personal benefit (vv 10,11a). “For the sake of Your name, O Lord, revive me!” It has been well said that we seem to be living in a time when a “consumer spirit” has infected the modern church. What is the Lord going to do for me? What blessings, benefits and deliverances will God provide for me today? The truth is that getting answers to prayer is secondary. The primary purpose is to get to know God and see Him glorified! This is why He has to so often engineer our circumstances to where we cannot manage them by ourselves. We are driven to our knees, and thus directed to Him. Hopefully we transfer our focus from getting what we want to getting what He wants, and mysteriously this leads to a far greater blessing for us, as well as honoring Him.
This brings us to the secondary purpose for us to pray and prevail, and that is for the good of the Lord’s namesakes (vv 11b,12)! When a person is genuinely saved He takes the name “Christian”. The word literally means, “Little Christ”. One is saying, “You can watch me. You can listen to me, for now I am a little Christ”. Obviously, this is a big statement, and one that should not be taken lightly. One is saying that Jesus Christ now lives in and has lordship in one’s life! It is a recognition of accountability by the individual. It is also a statement of the Lord’s credibility. A Christian’s life should be marked by characteristics that come from heaven. Prevailing in prayer not only results in glory for the Lord’s name, but in addition, good for the Lord’s namesakes.
Today we have more in common with the old testament character David than many think. A tide of evil threatens to inundate the world, and churches seem powerless to slow it, must less stop it. Just as David’s vision enabled him to prevail in prayer, so there is a great need for men and women of vision to step forward today. The year 2001 marked what would have been the 100th birthday of Walt Disney. Long before anyone envisioned large theme parks, he mapped them out in his head. After the completion of Disney World in California, someone said, “It’s too bad he didn’t live to see it”. Someone correctly responded, “He did see it. That’s why it’s here”!
Wounded, struggling Christians and churches need someone to prevail in prayer! People without Christ who are broken by sin and alienated from God need someone to prevail in prayer! Are you that someone?