Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. Colossians 4:2
Pastor He’s church in Vietnam grew from twenty-nine to over 5,000 in just a few years during the communist regime in the late 1970’s. When asked the secret of this phenomenal church growth, Pastor Ha replied, “I have a very simple theology. When you have problems, pray! When you have more problems, pray more!” Every morning this church had a well-attended prayer meeting at six a.m. And the church grew and grew. Although they were constantly living under pressure, there was one scripture text chosen for the wall of their sanctuary, “In everything give thanks.”
And yet after his years of imprisonment, Pastor Ha said, “When I had my freedom, I worked with prayer sometimes in the background. In prison, I discovered that prayer is everything. It’s like a pilot using a checklist before he takes off. If he skips the first item, many lives might be in danger. The first item on our checklist should always be prayer. If we skip it, the whole mission is in jeopardy.”
Vietnamese Pastor Cuong also spent over six years in prison. He says this about prayer:
In my work I was so busy I had no time to pray. But in prison, I was thankful to God that He gave me time for prayer. I had about six hours of prayer every day. I had time to recall every member of my congregation to pray for them. Before that, although I served the church, I didn’t have enough time to pray for them. I learned about the real presence of God in prayer there. When you kneel down and pray wholeheartedly with the Lord, you feel His answer right there.
All of the world’s major religions emphasize prayer. The Buddhists repeat their prayers fervently, although they do not believe anyone is listening. The Hindus pray regularly, believing one of their many Hindu gods may be listening, but they do not really expect any response to their prayers. The Muslims pray five times a day. They believe that Allah is listening, but he will not alter his plans to meet their needs.
Devout Buddhists, Hindus and Muslims consider Christianity a prayerless faith, because they rarely see Christians praying. Yet we believe—and know—we have a God who not only hears our prayers, but also will answer them in mighty power!
RESPONSE: Today I recommit to spending time in communication—prayer—with my Lord.
PRAYER: Pray that all Christians in prison will experience God’s presence in a special way today.