Today is Saturday. What have you got planned for this evening? Are you having company over? Are you going to watch TV or a movie? Are you going out somewhere with friends?
Tomorrow is Sunday. Are you planning to join in fellowship with other believers in worship services? Or will you be too tired from whatever you're doing tonight? If you to go to church services, will your mind and heart be ready to receive the Word that will be taught and preached tomorrow? Or will your mind be on what you will have done tonight?
One of my "New Year's Resolutions" was to spend an extra hour in prayer every week. I have to confess that I haven't been faithful at keeping that hour every single week. I'd like to start again, this time purposely setting aside a specific time that will only be used for prayer. And I'd like to take up the challenge that Tom gave to all who attend our church to set Saturday night aside for prayer. As a mom, this means I need to work my day around making sure everybody is in bed by 8:30 at the very latest. This means having supper a little earlier, getting baths done promptly, and making sure everybody has their Sunday clothes ready. Then putting them to bed with their own prayer time before shutting myself away to pray by myself.
Pray for what? For Tom and other pastors who have the responsibility to give God's Word from the pulpit, and for the Sunday school teachers, that we may speak boldly. For the children in our church who do not know the Lord yet, who need to be convicted of sin. For those who do know the Lord, who need spiritual growth and encouragement.
Most of all, though, I want to pray for the power of God's Holy Spirit to be on the preaching. That power is so sadly lacking in most local churches in the western world today. This past week I watched a powerful sermon about why revival tarries. The message was so pointed that it convicted me personally on a number of things and made me weep. Yet when the message was over, the congregation of that church filed out in what appeared to be their normal way (normal for most churches, anyway). You would have thought that such a sermon would have had men, women and children on their knees, broken before God.
A similar experience occurred at a Bible conference in Pennsylvania a couple of years ago. After the man of God preached a powerful sermon on hell, the people went about their usual business of filing into the dining hall for their usual donuts and coffee. The man reporting this to us was amazed that God's people could so casually go about as normal after hearing such a sermon.
What happens when people pray for the men of God who preach His Word? Here is one example from Acts 4:
verse 29, the prayer: "And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word."
verses 31 and 33, the answer: "And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness. And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all."
Here is another prayer that I have started praying, for Tom, the other preachers of our fellowship, and for David Bane as he prepares to speak to our youth:
Colossians 4:2-4 "Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving; withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds: that I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak."