As part of our month of prayer we've asked some people in our community to write blogs encouraging us to pray. First up is Jon Hulme, one of our foremost prayer warriors.
Asking God in Prayer – Jon Hulme
Asking God in prayer is simple – just ask – but it is not always easy! Jesus said “Ask and it shall be given to you”, but he goes on to say “knock and the door with be opened to you, seek and you will find” (Matthew 7:7-8) – it is a process.
Prayer expresses a relationship with God and we have to learn to wrestle with delay and unanswered prayer. Jesus did say that we may need to be persistent (Luke 18:3-8), but we still need to be bold (Luke 11:5-8).
My faith grew as a teenager when I read biographies of people who saw amazing answers to prayer.
One such person was George Mueller. He ran an orphanage in Bristol in the 1800s. One morning the orphans sat down to breakfast and George gave thanks for what they were about to receive, knowing there was no food. Just then the baker arrived with bread saying that God has told him they would need bread that morning, and then the milkman arrived saying that his cart had broken down outside and they could have the milk before it spoilt (Food at the Orphanage).
I would encourage you to read the Bible stories and the biographies of men and women of prayer, which will enlarge your vision and inspire you to ask God with confidence.
Asking for Big Things
God is interested in the little things in our lives, but He is a big God and is also interested in the big things.
As a young man I picked up Ben Davies’ passion to ask God for big things in prayer. We had weekly prayer meetings asking God for the money to build The Kerith Centre and saw many miraculous answers to prayer.
I was mentored by another leader in the church, Malcolm Kayes, who went to visit the largest church in the world in South Korea. He encountered God on their Prayer Mountain and came back to the UK with a passion for prayer. Malcolm taught us to pray big things for ourselves, following the example of Jabez “Oh that you would bless me and enlarge my borders” (1 Chronicles 4:9-10), which ends with the statement “and God granted his request”.
I also learned that prayer must be specific and combined with faith (Matthew 17:19-20). One of my biggest answers to specific prayer was when I made a list of 10 things I wanted in my wife-to-be. I prayed every day for her, and within 6 months I met Hilary and later married her.
Asking for Revival and Breakthrough
The Bible says that prayer is a key to national spiritual breakthrough (2 Chronicles 7:14).
In my thirties I learned the scale of what God can do through prayer. I read books on revivals, where God moves in such power that thousands or even millions are born again and entire areas or nations are changed. I experienced revival first hand in the 90s in Florida at Brownsville, Pensacola.
Nearly always prayer precedes revival, for example there were two old ladies, one blind, whose prayers ushered in the 1949 Hebrides Revival.
We must have a big vision of what God can do, and keep asking for breakthrough. We will reap a harvest at the proper time if we do not give up (Galatians 6:9), so let’s believe Him!
We pray for revival most Saturday mornings at 9am in the prayer room if you would like to join us.