For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ… 2 Corinthians 10.4, 5
If you surveyed Christians on the important elements of living a Christian life, most, if not all, would mention prayer somewhere on their list (or we should hope as much).
And yet the church tends to provide little training in prayer, surveys reveal that we don’t spend much time praying, and experience seems to confirm this.
Compare the teaching provided by churches in prayer with that for feeling good about themselves, tithing (at least around budget time), or the book of Revelation. We seem to assume that believers know how to pray.
But there’s good news: some really good teaching does exist. In his Institutes of the Christian Religion, John Calvin provides four rules of right prayer:
1. Pray with reverence to God;
2. Pray from a sincere sense of want, and with penitence;
3. Yield all confidence in ourselves and humbly plead for pardon;
4. Pray with confident hope.
Although Calvin wrote this more with supplicatory prayer as his focus, we can glean from this and apply his teaching to our efforts in praying for revival. We will look at each of these rules in the weeks to come.
A theme that runs throughout Calvin’s argument (found in Book III, Chapter XX, Secs. 4 – 15) is that we should be fully engaged in our prayers. This means not being distracted with other thoughts. I struggle with this especially when I am praying with a group, and I am not the one vocally praying. The notion of taking every thought captive is highly elusive. And it tells me that I should be praying at the outset in preparation that I would be disciplined in my prayer time and labor against the wandering mind.
Prayer is the place, not only for taking every thought captive, but for discovering, embracing, and sowing new thoughts as we join in prayer together, seeking the Lord for revival.
As we enter the fall and churches begin their new ministry years, we pray that many of you will join us on the third Wednesday of each month, at 9:00 pm Eastern, to seek the Lord for revival. Send me or T. M. an email and we’ll reserve a spot for you in our online prayer room. Join us, and see how God can take thoughts captive and move them from thoughts and ideas to prayers and practices – to revival, renewal, and awakening!
Prayer Resources for a Movement of Men at Prayer
“Men of the Church: A Solemn Call” can be downloaded for free by clicking this link. Hand this brief paper to every man you know, and urge them to join you in this movement of Men at Prayer.
Order additional copies of If Men Will Pray and begin challenging your friends to take up this daily work of seeking the Lord with greater consistency and power.
Finally, our latest resource for prayer is the book, Restore Us! It’s available at the bookstore, and is our guide and resource for enlisting you and your friends in praying daily for revival.Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.