Prayer is the most powerful force in the world, and one of the most significant trends in the church in the last 25 years is the renewed emphasis on prayer--especially intercessory prayer. Unfortunately, for many of us prayer is often about only ourselves and our loved ones.
Yet there is a need for prayer in many different areas. The world is full of problems, but the answers are available through Jesus--if His people will "pray and not lose heart" (Luke 18:1, NKJV).
When focused prayer is offered up for the needs of the world, things change. Recent proof is the great number of people who were saved as a result of the prayer initiative focused on the 10/40 Window--that part of the world between the 10th and 40th parallels north.
We have reported on the explosive growth of the church in this region as well as in others. Yet according to missiologists, church growth has slowed in the last several years. The reason: Many of the prayer initiatives ended around the year 2000.
Today we need prayer as much as ever, and I'm appealing to our half million readers to pray. Of special concern is the war on terrorism and the unrest in the Middle East, which soon could explode into war.
We must pray for peace. We must also pray for an end to the grip that Islam has on much of the world.
This is a historic time, and we need intercessors to pray as never before. So I am writing this to recruit you to pray and to pledge that my staff and I will pray for you.
Through the marvels of the Internet, we can quickly link intercessors with prayer needs. We have set up a place for prayer on our Web site--a place you can go to see the needs we have listed and to give us your prayer requests. You can also sign up for a periodic prayer newsletter that I will send out via e-mail to alert you to things about which to pray.
I am entering a time of prayer and fasting, and I would like to pray for Charisma readers in a way I haven't done for several years. Longtime readers may remember that I invited you to send me your photo so I could see who our readers are and have a reminder to pray for you.
Meanwhile, there are some major issues for us to pray about related to the charismatic church. I listed these in the current issue of Ministries Today and in abbreviated form below. Space doesn't allow me to elaborate here, but you can read a complete copy on the Internet at www.ministriestoday.com.
I am calling intercessors to pray:
* That the church will lead the way in ending racism in our society and that more churches will become multiethnic
* That the church will be more of an influence in our nation's culture--dealing with social-justice issues, helping women step into leadership roles, and helping to heal homes, mainly by ministering to men to fill the roles only they can fill in the family
* That Christian leaders will live righteously and teach right doctrine, and that new leaders will be raised up to meet the needs of the church
* That more of the fivefold ministry will be raised up in the church--prophetic leadership; sound Bible teachers; fearless evangelists; wise apostles; and pastors who will nurture, not abuse, their flocks
* That God will forgive the pride too often found among Christians--especially leaders
* That the church will come into a deeper understanding of what true worship is
* That bridges will be built with traditional evangelicals
* That there will be a fresh outpouring of God's Spirit on the church with supernatural power.
Clearly, this list is incomplete. But it's a start. And I believe God will hear and answer us if we are faithful to pray, for His Word assures us that "'the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their prayers'" (1 Pet. 3:12).
Stephen Strang is the founder and publisher of Charisma.