A Praying ChurchDr. Erwin W. Lutzer | May 7, 2000
Selected highlights from this sermon
How did the early church pray? Looking at Acts 4, we read how Peter and John prayed—and how they didn’t.
Following their example, we must remember that we are approaching a holy God who dwells in unapproachable light, and we must approach Him with respect and humility.
Paul says that we should pray without ceasing. There is no vibrant church (spiritually vibrant) without prayer. There’s no vibrant family, spiritually speaking, without prayer. There’s nobody whom God mightily uses without prayer. And yet so often we pray so little, and the question is why and what do we do about it?
Before I begin today I want to get some things off of my chest, off of my mind, and simply tell you that there are some prayers that often trouble me. Here are some prayers that I struggle with. The first is people who primarily use their prayer to tell God things, to give Him information, to give Him updates - somebody who says, “Now Lord you know that So-and-So was in a traffic accident, the paramedics came and she has three broken ribs,” and they go on and on. And I just imagine God saying, “Seriously! Tell Me more. (laughter) What hospital room is she in? I appreciate the information.”
Somebody prayed one time and said, “Oh Lord, there are some missionaries that were captured, and Lord, I can’t remember their names, and Lord, I don’t remember the country they are in, but Lord, it was in the morning newspaper.” I’m saying to myself, “Boy, I sure hope the Lord gets the right edition so that He can read up on what’s happening in His world.” Sometimes people pray for our country. “Oh God, you know what a mess we are in,” and then they detail all of the problems that we have and God is saying, “Oh, really! It’s that bad?”
Let me give you a second kind of prayer that troubles me, and that is the prayer where we think we automatically know God’s will. A number of years ago when Harold Washington, who was the mayor of Chicago at that time, had a heart attack, I was sitting in my office and received a phone call from somebody who said, “Come to the Daley Center because there is an ecumenical prayer service taking place, and it would be nice if you were a part of it.” I struggled as to whether or not I would go. I didn’t because first of all it was ecumenical, which gives the impression that anyone can barge into God’s presence without mediation, and without the right name and without coming through the right channels, namely the name of Jesus. But also, it was based on a misconception that people have, namely that the more people we have get together, the more possibility that we will change God’s mind.
Now I want you to know today that I do not believe that prayer is changing God’s mind. Have you ever thought of that? If God were to change His mind how would He change it? Would He change it for the worse? I don’t think so. Would He have to change it for the better because the previous thoughts that He had weren’t the best? Is that what you are telling me?
So the idea sometimes is that if we get enough people together crying up to God, then indeed He will finally say, “Well, you know I wouldn’t have done this if you had only 400 people, but you’ve got 600, so I guess I’ll do it.” You say, “Don’t you believe in concerted prayer?” Yes, I do, and this message will explain why in a moment, but it’s not because I think that more people get God’s attention.
The other problem I had is I didn’t know how to pray; I didn’t know what God’s will was. Now, that’s really not a very good excuse because we often pray not knowing God’s will, and we should pray not knowing God’s will. We give God the desires of our hearts, but I did not know exactly how to pray in relationship to the mayor. As it turned out I do believe that he had already died even when the prayer service was going on, but my simple point is of course I wanted him healed and restored, but I didn’t think that I should be there to pray. I prayed in my office instead. We often don’t know God’s will, do we?
There’s a third kind of prayer, and that is thoughtless prayers. I know someone if you ask him to pray for food he says, “Lord, I want to thank you for this food. In Jesus’ name, Amen,” and I’m saying to myself, “Ouch!” We would give more respect to the president of the United States. If we were brought into his office, into an audience of someone who is prominent and famous, we would give more thought as to what we were going to say, and choose our words more carefully than some people do coming into the presence of the Almighty God who dwells in unapproachable light.
In Church history there was a man by the name of Praying Hide. It is said that when he got down to pray he would say, “Oh, God,” and then wait for five minutes before he would say anything else, as he began to realize in his mind, “I’m coming into the presence of a holy God. I’m coming into the presence of an awesome, omnipotent God,” and he reminded himself of the person into whose presence he was coming.
Now, the simple fact is this - that oftentimes we don’t pray. We use prayer like a raincoat. Sam Storm, in his book on prayer, said that oftentimes that’s what prayer was for him. When you have a raincoat you leave it hanging there until it rains, and you are glad if it is there when you need it. But when the sun is shining, when you are healthy and God seems to be blessing you, there’s no need to pray. Oh, of course, if you have a disease, or the doctor tells you that you need surgery, or your wife is in a car accident, or whatever, then you pray, but you use prayer only when you need it. And most of the time, if you are healthy and strong you don’t need it very much at all.
You see, when we don’t learn how to pray according to God’s will that’s exactly what happens. We become frustrated and we pray all these prayers without any assurance. There are people who pray the same prayer over and over again. They come into the presence of God because they do not quite understand the theological underpinnings of prayer, and therefore they are as bad off after they have prayed, as before, as they keep talking to God, keep reiterating their complaints, keep telling Him what they think He should be doing. And because He doesn’t do it, they simply say, “What’s the use,” and they become bitter and disappointed and angry, and sometimes unforgiving.
Folks, I want you to know today that we’re going to talk about prayer, and if God would be pleased (and I pray that He will be) it will transform the way in which we see prayer for the rest of our lives. Yes, we’re going to discuss the question of why pray if God has already ordained to do His will, but we’re also going to, by His grace, stir up the desire for prayer, and we’re going to pray prayers that leave us satisfied and fulfilled and rejoicing in the presence of Almighty God.
Now, the passage of Scripture is Acts 4. I want you to turn to this passage to visualize the early Church in prayer, and how they are going to instruct us. You’ll notice the context is persecution. Peter and John were taken by the authorities and they were jailed and then they were released, and the authorities didn’t quite know what to do with them, but threatened them. Have you ever received a threat? That’s what these Apostles received, but after they were released, it says in verse 23, “When they were released, they went to their friends and reported what the chief priests and the elders had said to them. And when they heard it, they lifted their voices to God,” and I’m going to stop there, and simply tell you and remind you of the fact of what they did not begin their prayer with.
How would you and I have begun our prayer in our humanistic way of thinking? We probably, and I among all of the rest of you, would have said, “Oh Lord, this persecution is awful. We pray against the persecution. We ask, Lord Jesus, that those who are doing the persecuting would be brought to justice. We pray that we might have freedom.” (Laughs) That’s not the way they prayed because that was not God’s will. Could I say candidly that if they had prayed that way they’d have not received an answer to their prayer. They’d have been disappointed, somewhat angry, and they’d have said, “See, God doesn’t answer prayer anyway.”
Listen! God wanted to use the persecution. In Acts 8 it says that because of persecution the saints were scattered throughout the land. Satan tried to blow out the Gospel by persecution and he blew the flame from one end of the country to the other. That was part of God’s plan. It was not His intention to back off on the persecution. Notice also it says they lifted their voices and cried to God with one voice. They cried together.
Now at this point I actually have to take my glasses off because we have to have a candid talk about this business of unity in prayer. I mentioned a moment ago that the reason that we believe in the concerts of prayer and agreement is not because if we get enough people together we can change God’s mind. That’s not the point. The reason that you lift your voices in one accord is first of all, the more there are of us, the more obvious God’s will begins to be made known to us so that we can pray more effectively and in greater faith. Also, the unity brings about humility. It forces us to confess our sins that have divided us, and in the process of confessing those sins, the work of the Holy Spirit is released so that we can receive more of a burden to pray and understand God’s will more clearly.
Let’s take an answer to prayer that we’ve just had, the purchasing of this property. How did that come about? Was this our idea? Well, you’d think that it was our idea. We had that idea for many, many years when the bank was not at all interested in talking to us about it. We had that idea but where did the idea really originate? It originated with God. God began to share that burden with some people, and I would meet people throughout the years who would say, “Pastor Lutzer, you know we really should try to purchase that bank lot,” and I’d say, “Yeah, but the bank isn’t interested, etc, etc.,” and people began to pray, and even those who parked their cars on that property on Sunday sometimes said a prayer as they walked across it, and more and more people began to get the burden, and more and more people began to share the vision, and pretty soon all of us got on board and we began to say, “The will of God is becoming clearer and clearer,” and as we were unified God has now brought it about. But folks, it happened, not because we had a lot of people praying, though thank God we did. It happened because a lot of people began to understand God’s will. It was God who shepherded this right from the beginning to the end.
With my own convalescence I have given thanks many times for being the object of so many prayers of thousands of people. Clearly it was God’s will to raise me back to health and strength. I have no doubt about that, but your prayers did something else too. They not only, what shall we say, invigorated me physically but also spiritually, so that it was a time of rest, so that it was a time of renewal, so that it was a time of deepening my relationship with God. You see, those kinds of prayers are exactly in line with God’s will, and therefore you can pray them with confidence. Now all of that by way of introduction!
How did the early Church pray? Notice they emphasized and began with the sovereignty of God. Now this is very important. Your Bibles are open to Acts 4. You’ll notice it says that when they heard it, they lifted their voices saying that God made the heaven and the earth and the sea and everything that is in them. How beautiful that is! They said, “God, you are sovereign over three different realms – first of all, the realm of nature because you are the creator.” Have you ever thought of the implications of God creating everything out of nothing? We say ex niholo – out of nothing! And He simply spoke and the stars were in existence, and He spoke and the worlds – the planets were in existence. And I’ve explained before how the morning stars (the angels) were told about it so they could just shout for joy. God stood there and said, “Watch this!” Boom! And it all happened.
Now you go into a laboratory if you are a scientist, and you say to yourself, “I want to create at least a single molecule out of nothing, and I’m going to stay in that laboratory until I create a molecule out of nothing.” Could I suggest that you take your lunch? (laughter)
Have you ever thought of the implications of creation? It says, “All things were created by Him and for Him.” That means that there’s a connectedness of events. That means that the enemies here in the fourth chapter were all under God’s hands. The very breath that they breathed was a gift from God. The ability of their hearts to continue to beat moment by moment was being monitored by God and He could cut them off. All of the things that were against these dear people were under God’s hands because He is the Creator and therefore every event leads to another event in this grand design, and God superintends and controls it to the end.
“You, God, are the Creator, sovereign over creation.” Oh, that makes you feel better already. You come into God’s presence like this and you begin to say, “Lord, I had all these problems but right now I can’t remember what they are because You are the Creator.” He says, “They are sovereign over creation.” You, God, are sovereign over the nations. Notice it says in verse 25, “Through the mouth of your father, David, your servant, said by the Holy Spirit, ‘Why do the Gentiles rage, and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers were gathered, against the Lord and against his anointed.’” You will recognize this as Psalm 2. If they had continued to quote it they would have come to the words, “He that sits in the heavens shall laugh. The Lord shall have them in derision.” Here you have all of these people storming against God, equivalent to a rowboat saying that it was going to overturn an aircraft carrier. I mean, you’re fighting God.
So the nations say, “We don’t want God to rule over us,” and God laughs. He has been in derision. If God has the nations under His control, do you think that your problem is too great for Him? Do you think that something has slipped out from within and from under His sovereign control? No, it means that everything is under His control and the futility of those who fight against God is a laughing matter. He that sits in the heavens laughs. God is sovereign over creation. He is sovereign over the nations. He is sovereign over individuals. Acts 4:27 says, “For truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place,” and boy, did this ever catch You off guard, God. Where were You, Lord, when all these awful things were happening? Oh, don’t you thank God for His holy Word? They did what your power and will had decided beforehand what should happen. The Greek word is predestined. Wow!
Oh God, when Jesus was dying we wondered where You were. He even said, “My God, my God, why has Thou forsaken Me?” What was happening? What was happening was that which You predestined to occur. This was within the circle of Your providence. Everything is encased in Your providence.”
You say, “Well, were these people just puppets?” Like somebody said to me, “Oh because you believe in the sovereignty of God, tell me, Pastor Lutzer, did He fall or was He pushed?” You know that the Bible treats human responsibility and divine sovereignty and they flow together in this stream, which we really can’t put together very well. There’s a lot of mystery but there’s also lots that could be said about it, but I do not have time to speak about it today except that Herod and all the rest are responsible. When Herod decided to put Christ to death and when Pilot (that wimp) agreed, it was not as if they said, “Well, we didn’t want to but we felt the pressure of a divine decree.” No, they were responsible for what they did, but they did what God predestined to occur. Today, without further explanation, simply live with both of those truths.
Now, why did the disciples mention this in their prayer? Oh, think it through. Here they were being persecuted. They were in trouble, and what they were saying is, “You know, Jesus was in trouble, and we’re in trouble, but when Jesus was in trouble He was safe in the arms of God, and even as we are in trouble, we are also safe in the arms of God. Even if we should go to the cross, we die within the will and the purposes of God and therefore we accept this trial as from His loving hand and we receive it as from Him.”
Notice they were victims of a conspiracy. Jesus was. Have you had a conspiracy against you of evil people? Do you think that that is out from under God’s control? No, my dear friend, it is not.
Now can you imagine this? Let’s suppose that they had had some 21st century evangelical television preachers to whom they turned for information. And suppose they would have said, “You know, Jesus wouldn’t have to die on the cross because that’s such an awful thing to happen. Let’s pray against all this wickedness. Let’s pray against what is happening, and let us let Jesus go free,” because they think that that is God’s will. (Chuckles) When that happened you could have prayed until you were blue in the face. You could have enlisted millions of people to pray and God would not have answered. Jesus said, “These things must come to pass.” Years ago I preached a whole sermon just on the “musts” that must come to pass. It was not God’s will. It was God’s will that Jesus die. You could have had people who said, “Well, you know, actually we are under persecution. Let’s not accept this persecution. Let’s stand against it and let’s just simply say that God wants us to be free; God wants us to be able to live without all of these hassles, and therefore let’s pray against them.” They could have prayed until the cows would have come home, to use an expression, and God would not have answered because that was not God’s will.
Do you realize, friend, that if you had brown eyes and you’d like to have blue (I don’t blame the brown-eyed people for wanting blue eyes), you could enlist all the people in the world to pray that God would change the color of your eyes, and He wouldn’t bother doing it. And do you know what happens when we pray prayers like that, that are out of God’s will? We become frustrated. God doesn’t answer. We become angry. We get turned off, and then we say, “I’m going to use prayer like a raincoat only in desperate situations; apart from that I’m not going to bother,” because we don’t understand prayer.
“God, You are sovereign over creation. You are sovereign over the nations. You are sovereign over individuals.” But finally they get to their request, and we pick it up here in verse 29. Notice they say, “And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to Your servants to continue to speak Your word with all boldness.” (Chuckles) Is that the will of God or what? They don’t pray to be out of the difficulty or that their circumstances will change, but that they will change, and that God will so change them that in the midst of persecution, and in the midst of the fears and the conspiracies that they might have great boldness, and that God might do some miracles to honor His name.
Well, folks, what did God think of this prayer? It says in verse 31, “And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken.” Martin L. Jones wrote, “God was saying in effect, ‘You know, I really like the way you pray, and thank you so much for believing in my power, and just to encourage you I’ll show you a little bit of it,’ and the whole building shook with the power of God.”
Does God answer? Of course He answers in the very same verse. You don’t even have to skip to another verse. It’s there in the text. “And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.” They prayed for boldness. They prayed along the will of God. God answered according to His will, and there was so much rejoicing, they were saying in effect, “If it’s persecution that’s happening, if it’s a conspiracy, bring it on.”
Now folks, I want to unburden my heart. This is all preliminary but I will get you out of here before you need to be out of here. The purpose of prayer (if I could brand this upon your souls so that you never forget it) is always that God ordained means accomplish (catch this now) God ordained ends. It is God ordained means that accomplish God ordained ends.
Could I give you three lessons?
First of all, all genuine prayer begins with the worship of God. Oh, my friend, it has to begin there because it is in the presence of God we see our problems in perspective. Finally (as I mentioned) we forget what our problems are because we are in the presence of the Holy One. That’s why in Isaiah 40 it says, regarding the stars, “Lift up your eyes on high and see; who created these? He who brings out their host by number, calling them all by name,” and then in the very next verse it says, “Why do you say, O Jacob, and speak, O Israel, “My way is hidden from the Lord, and my right is disregarded by my God?” I mean, if God is sovereign, and He is the Lord and the Creator, and if He creates the stars just on a whim by the word of His mouth, are you telling me that your problem is too big for Him and that His grace can’t keep you where He has put you?
Worship makes us yield to God. You know there is a verse in Hosea. It’s Hosea 7:14. Let me give it to you. God is excoriating Israel for their unbelief and all their sins, and then He says this. “They do not cry to Me from the heart, but they wail upon their beds.” You know “They don’t seek Me with their hearts. They don’t come to yield to My sovereignty. No, no, no – all that they do is they complain and say, ‘God, why don’t you do this? God, look at this situation. Look at this injustice that You are not taking care of. Look at all of the things that people have done against me. God, why don’t You change these circumstances. Look at the other people who have money, and I don’t have any money.’ “And they wail and they wail upon their beds, but they will not seek Me with their hearts.” God says,
“That’s the one thing that they won’t do.”
So we come like little wimpy children begging, pleading, asking and cajoling, thinking if we get more people together maybe this God who doesn’t love to answer prayer will finally come through. When prayer is not convincing God to do something He doesn’t want to do it is “laying a hold” says someone, “of His highest willingness.” Calvin says, “Prayer is nothing more than digging out the treasures that God has laid out for us.” That’s what it is. It has to begin with worship. If not, it will become humanistic. It will not work. It leads to disappointment, bitterness and whatever.
Secondly, it begins with the heart of God. God gives burdens for prayer and the will of God. I mentioned a moment ago the land. That was God who laid that burden on our hearts. We were just doing the will of God. That’s why, by the way, if you wonder what the will of God is, always pray Paul’s prayers in Ephesians 1 and Ephesians 3 (That’s a whole separate message), or Colossians 1 where Paul pours out his heart for the people. He never asks them for wealth, he never asks God for health. All that he says is, “Open these people’s eyes that that they may know who they are in Christ. Make them pure and holy and pleasing to You.” Boy, you begin to pray prayers like that and God will say, “Hey, somebody’s actually praying My will. I’m going to begin to do it,” and you will be surprised at the answers.
But it has to begin with God. He lays the burden on people over and over again in Scripture. It says in the book of Psalms, “Blessed is he whom the Lord causes to seek My face, to seek the face of the Lord.”
Yes, we ask Him for our desires. In fact, if we delight in Him He will give us the desires of our hearts, but our desires then are fully aligned with His will. There’s none of this business of saying, “Well, He owes me this because my desire has been given to Him.” That’s not in the text.
Now if you don’t think that a burden comes from God and if you are not convinced, do an experiment. Those of you who are prayerless Christians, here’s an experiment for you. Decide today because you heard a sermon on prayer to choose to have a burden to pray. I’m just going to say to myself, “It’s time for a burden. Yeah, I’ll have a burden to pray.” Try that.
Listen, we have prayer meeting here on Wednesday nights. The ladies pray after the morning service twice a month. We have an elders’ prayer meeting before the evening service. We have the prayer wall, which Pastor Allen is responsible for. If you decide that you are going to have a burden from now on I guarantee you, you’ll be able to walk past all those opportunities to pray and there will not even be a flicker of desire – not even a flicker. You can’t choose to have a burden. You can’t work it up. Prayer begins with God, and if it doesn’t begin with God, you and I will be totally prayerless.
Let me give you the third very important lesson. Everything leads up to this one, folks. This is the whole preliminary for this. Genuine prayer always accompanies the work of God. If you are here today as a prayerless Christian, there are two things that I can know about you, even if I have never met you. Number one, God is not using you. I’m not saying you are not teaching Sunday school. You may be teaching Sunday school. You may be ushering. You may be singing in the choir. You may be doing all kinds of things but the fruit of the Spirit is not manifested in your life if you are a prayerless Christian. I’ll tell you that in advance.
The other thing that I know about you is you are not converted, even though you think you are. You say, “Well, what if God doesn’t give me a desire to pray? What am I supposed to do? You just told me that you can’t work it up. How does that old song go? Que sera, sera, whatever will be will be. God gives some people a burden, and others not.” My dear friend, if you claim to be a Christian and you are prayerless, and prayer is a raincoat that you use for the days that are cloudy, but it is in the closet when all is going well, what I would advise you to do is to get down before the Lord and say, “Lord, I am a fruitless Christian. I am not being used by You. I am ashamed of the fact that I do not have a burden.” And the reason that you don’t have a burden is because it is not possible to simultaneously have a burden for prayer and live a self-directed life. Those two are impossible to put together because the whole point of our prayerlessness is it means that your life is self-directed. You never throw yourself on the floor and cry to God and say, “Oh God, in desperation I am praying for my neighbors. In desperation I am praying that I might be holy.” You will never do that as long as your life is self-directed, and that’s why you can get by and be prayerless and be quite, shall I say, content about it.
What God wants us to do is to simply say, “Lord, finally I lay down my self-directed life, and I am going to be in Your presence as long as I need to be until You can actually entrust a burden to me so that I can begin serious prayer, and when I begin serious prayer, you will begin to use me seriously, because there is no such thing as being used by God and being prayerless.
It was just two years ago, you know, when my wife and I were in Germany, and we actually went earlier before the tour people arrived there so that we could visit Herrnhut. You’ve heard the story before but Zinzendorf was interested in bringing unity to the Moravians. Six hundred of them lived in a colony and they were very divided theologically. They didn’t get along and they argued - the whole shmear, so he worked the colony to get them united. Why? Because God might hear if you finally get more people praying for something? No. He knew that the Spirit can’t work when we are in disunity. He knew that disunity interrupts what God would like to do among His people and the burdens that God would like to share, and the visions that He would like to give them, so He worked toward that unity so that they might better understand God’s will. And then one day in a church that my wife and I actually visited (though we weren’t able to go inside unfortunately, and the building has really changed from what it was, but is still standing in the place where it stood) the Holy Spirit of God came mightily and united these people, and they began a prayer meeting that lasted 100 years. There were 24 men and 24 women signed up to pray every hour of the day, and as one would die or couldn’t do it anymore, someone else took their place, and it lasted 100 years. What did the Moravians do? Sixty-three years before William Carey they sent 232 missionaries to all the parts of the earth, some of them going to the Caribbean to work among the natives and the nationals and the slaves, and being willing to become slaves to win slaves. Wow! Whose idea was that? Was that Zinzendorf walking along one day and saying to himself, “You know, it would really be nice to send missionaries to the far ends of the earth?” No, it wasn’t his idea. It was God’s vision. God was saying, “I know what My will is. It’s to send missionaries to different parts of the world, and here these people are getting unified and are really seeking God, and maybe I can share my burden with them so that as they cry up and say, ‘Oh God, we want to send missionaries to the different parts of the world,’ at last these people are in line with My purposes and finally they are understanding My will, and I am going to help them to do it.”
God didn’t answer all of their prayers. Twenty-three of the first 35 missionaries died. They called it the great dying. These people didn’t know when to quit. They just said, “Okay, people have died. Others have to take their place and we have to keep on going.” Do you think that kind of perseverance catches God’s attention? God says, “Wow! You get people together like that and behold I will show what I will do among people who are unified and who believe Me and stop whining and wailing on their beds, and actually seek Me with their hearts.”
Who knows what God could do through Moody Church if we started to pray differently. “Oh Sovereign Lord, You are the creator of the ends of the earth. There is no situation that is too hard for You, and Lord, You’re the God over people. There is no unbeliever who could not be reached with the Gospel. Oh God, I thank You today for the privilege of representing You. Help me to know how to be a better witness and to be bold and to lay aside my self-directedness so that You could share Your burdens with me, so that when I pray, You say, ‘How I love to hear the prayers of people who are praying My will back to me, and My will and purpose shall be done and be accomplished.’”
The power – the awesome power – of a church at prayer!
Let’s bow together and pray.
Father, we know that we could go to a dozen seminars on prayer. We could read a dozen books. We could listen to a dozen sermons, and if we do not give up our self-directed lives we will leave and we will never pray more this year than we did last year, and we did the year before. Would you come, Father, and break us and humble us? Would You take people who have never lain on the floor in Your presence and cause them to do that – to seek Your face and to stay there until You give them Your burden? Would You, Father, come and take our carelessness and transform us into a mighty praying people that You might show Yourself mighty in this city through those whom You have called?
Now before I close this prayer, what do you have to say to God today? You just talk to Him. He knows what you are thinking. You don’t have to tell Him what you are thinking, but tell Him what you are going to do about what you have heard. Would you do that?
Father, we thank You today for Your grace. We confess – I confess – prayerlessness, the sin of prayerlessness. Father, we admit we have blown it. Find in us, oh God, an opportunity to share Your vision and burden. In Jesus’ name we ask, Amen.