PRAY FOR A REVIVAL OF LOVE
Charles Spurgeon, the famous Baptist preacher of London, England, said, "Believe me, if the church does not pray, it is dead. Instead of putting united prayer last, put it first. Everything will hinge upon the power of prayer in the church." Why is this true?
PRAYER IS THE LIFE BREATH OF OUR LOVE RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD
The church is the beloved family of the Father and the dear body of Christ. We must keep this love relationship alive and well through uniting in prayer. To experience life as the Father's family and as Christ's body we must nurture in united prayer the bond of love. If we do not unite in pursuing a growing love relationship with God and one another we will fall away from it.
A love relationship is either growing or dying. Love cannot be frozen and kept in place, as a man seemed to think when he said to his wife, "I told you I loved you when we married and if I ever change my mind I'll let you know." Love must be kept alive and well daily.
Our supreme duty is to love, honor, trust and obey God with all our heart, mind, and soul and to love one another (Matthew 22:36-40; John 13:34-35). Without love we are nothing and all our religious service profits nothing (I Corinthians 13:1-3). When love is no longer alive and growing the inner life of the church dies.
LOVE LEADS US TO SHARE OUR HEARTS WITH GOD AND ONE ANOTHER
The New Testament reveals that an amazing spirit of divine love and of sacrificial sharing swept over the whole church after the congregation had prayed together (Acts 1:14-15; 2:42-45; 4:24-32). When believers pour out their hearts to God together in prayer their mind, affections and will are brought into harmony with God and with each other. Sometimes this is a process that takes time and patience.
One time my wife, Betty, and I found ourselves deadlocked over a heart wrenching decision that deeply moved us in opposite directions. We prayed together about this. Neither of us tried to manipulate or pressure the other. We have prayed together enough to have complete freedom in talking to God in one another's presence. I listened to her pour out her heart and I poured out mine. I could tell how deeply she felt and she could see how my heart was moved. Then we left the place of prayer understanding each other and sharing one another's feelings. We were confident that our Father would show us His will. After we waited patiently we both knew His will and did it.
LOVERS HAVE A STRONG DESIRE TO TALK TO EACH OTHER
Love draws God's family to earnestly seek Him and pour out their hearts to Him:
Trust in Him at all times, you people; Pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us. (Psalms 62:8).
O God, you are my God; Early will I seek You; My soul thirsts for you; My flesh longs for You in a dry and thirsty land where there is no water. (Psalms 63:1).
We would expect two people who love each other and live a thousand miles apart to phone one another pouring out their heart to each other and speaking of their ardent desire to be together. If they were satisfied to read and analyze the letters they exchanged and had very little interest in spending time or money on phone calls we would agree that they probably do not love each other. It is the nature of love to want to pour out your heart to your lover and to be in his presence. Habitual heart to heart talks are the life breath of a love relationship.
LOVE SPREADS LIKE A FIRE BLOWN BY THE WIND
David Brainerd, who lived from 1718 to 1748, was a missionary to American Indians. His diary shows how his prayers were aflame with passionate love for God. Listen to his prayer:
"Oh my blessed God! Let me climb up near to Him, and love, and long, and plead, and wrestle, and stretch after Him…"
His love for God spread life a fire blown by the wind. Large numbers of Indians came out of drunkenness and a raw heathen life into faith and strong love for Christ in answer to Brainerd's prayers. He told how they instantly began to deeply love one another:
Love seemed to reign among them. They took each other by the hand with tenderness and affection, as if their hearts were knit together, while I was discoursing to them; and all their deportment toward each other was such, that a serious spectator might justly be excited to cry out with admiration, 'Behold, how they love one another.' Numbers of other Indians, on seeing and hearing these things, were much affected and wept bitterly; longing to be partakers of the same joy and comfort…
WE NEED A REVIVAL OF LOVE
The church at Ephesus left its first ardent love for Christ and He warned that they must repent or lose their light (Revelation 2:1-7). The church has throughout its history allowed love for Christ to cool off and faced the need for repentance and a revival of love.
God has rekindled the fires of love among His people in answer to prayer. In 1904 in a Welsh prayer meeting for young people, Pastor Joseph Jenkins asked for testimonies. A girl named Florrie Evans, who had only been a believer a few days, rose and with trembling voice said simply, "I love Jesus with all my heart." The other young peoples' hearts were melted. A powerful spiritual awakening that brought 100,000 people to Christ was underway.
Pray that the Christian community will return to Christ in complete love and devotion in our day.
By Pastor Oliver Price