Greg Frizzell, leader of the BGCO Prayer and Spiritual Awakening ministry, often says, “Five minute devotionals will not bring spiritual awakening.” His statement is worthy of serious consideration. Is he right? Can he back it up historically and biblically?
Many Christian leaders would acknowledge the need for more fervent time with God; indeed, most admit they would be pleased if they could get Christians to spend any devotional time with God. Many who claim allegiance to Christ live in a world devoid of daily interaction with the One they call Master and Lord. They have snookered themselves into believing that Christianity is all about a decision made long ago rather than a daily walk with their Lord.
But does that invalidate Frizzell’s statement? No! Truth cannot be melted down to fit the patterns of modern Christianity. Time with the Master is essential to a dynamic walk with Christ. Power in prayer does not come by attending church for an hour once a week. It comes when we live in vital union with the Vine.
In John 15, our Lord speaks clearly of the dynamic of our essential relationship with Him. The key word is “abide.” Literally, He calls upon us to take up permanent residence in His presence and live in such vital union with Him that His words fill our mind, soul and spirit. In this kind of relationship, He promises powerful results from abiding prayer. (Doesn’t sound like that means a quickie prayer time so as to mark “daily prayer” on a spiritual checklist!)
Scripture teaches that prayer is to be an ongoing and intense experience. James is very straight about it: “The intense prayer of the righteous is very powerful.” Paul often writes to believers in his sphere of influence regarding his constant prayer vigil for them. (Doesn’t sound like five minute prayers to me!)
Looking back to great spiritual movements of God that swept cities, nations and even the world, one unmistakable element is found-unified and intense prayer. Prior to each great move of the Spirit, God raised up serious prayer warriors who spent not minutes, but hours a day in prayer. Their prayers were marked by soul searching, repentance and cleansing, intercession and crying out to God for spiritual awakening. In every great awakening, prayer was central and intense.
If we were completely honest, most of us would confess that our prayer time is limited to quickie prayers aimed at needs in our own little world. Very few Christians spend time in repentance and cleansing. We don’t set aside time to allow the word of God to call us out from our dark ways to a fresh walk with the Lord. Rarely do we pray over Kingdom issues.
I would also contend that prayer has lost its place in public worship. The New Testament indicates that much time was spent in prayer as the church gathered to worship. Most of our praying is perfunctory. Worship begins and ends with prayer, but we seldom spend concentrated time as the body gathered in intense prayer. Church prayer meeting has been exchanged for more singing and more preaching. Good things, but when done to the detriment of prayer, they lose their punch.
Little prayer has little power. When it comes to prayer, you get what you pay for-and I am not speaking of money. I am speaking of concentrated private and public time in prayer.