40-Day Prayer Challenge // Day 35
“Now during the day, He was teaching at the temple, but at evening He would go out and spend the night on the mount … all the people would get up early in the morning to come to Him in the temple to listen to Him” (Luke 21:37-38).
During Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem, He was greeted by the fickle praises of the people. He resisted every temptation to bask in this celebrity status. Jesus poured His life into the people, day and night, but prepared Himself to teach by withdrawing to a place of prayer. His influence on the people was not based on His popularity with them, but His proximity to God. The closer Jesus was to His Father, the more influence He had on God’s people. The servant is not greater than his master. Pray accordingly.
Over 100 years ago, E.M.Bounds, legendary Methodist preacher and man of prayer, described the sad state of the American church. It is worth taking to heart today:
This is the day of great wealth in the Church and of wonderful material resources. But unfortunately the affluence of material resources is a great enemy and a severe hindrance to strong spiritual forces. It is an invariable law that the presence of attractive and potent material forces creates a trust in them, and by the same inevitable law, creates distrust in the spiritual forces of the Gospel. They are two masters which cannot be served at one and the same time. For just in proportion as the mind is fixed on one, will it be drawn away from the other. The days of great financial prosperity in the Church have not been days of great religious prosperity. Moneyed men and praying men are not synonymous terms.
People were drawn to Jesus because He was drawn to God. His magnetism was directly related to His attraction to prayer. Time spent with His Father stamped the words of Jesus with God’s authority and insight. Jesus was attracted to His Father, eager to hear His voice. In the same way, the people were attracted to Jesus, eager to hear Him.
Persistent prayer purifies and intensifies the preaching and teaching of the Church. Prayerless preaching and teaching only has power to deliver accurate facts about God. Prayerful preaching and teaching has power to ignite the fire of faith in God.
Easter Challenge: There are only five days until Easter. The greatest influence you can have on someone is to intercede for them. Before you say anything to them, pray for your ONE. Prayer prepares you to deliver the Gospel and prepares their heart to receive it. Pray for your ONE and invite them to be your guest at church.
Prayer for the Day: Father, forgive me for placing a higher priority on material affluence than on spiritual influence. I pray for Your Spirit’s influence upon my life to lead my ONE to you. Give me Your Spirit’s power and anointing to influence my ONE. In the name of Jesus, I pray. AMEN.
Prayer affects men by affecting God. Prayer moves men because it moves God to move men. Prayer influences men by influencing God to influence them. —E. M. Bounds