[This article is by Gary Benedict, President of the C&MA. It appears in the latest Alliance Life Magazine. Subscriptions to Alliance Life are given for free. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to receive a subscription.]
For the Christian, no time on the church calendar is more meaningful than the eight weeks from Palm Sunday to Pentecost. The Gospels and Acts tell a story of triumph, tragedy, then triumph again as the incarnate God presented himself as King, was rejected, crucified, buried and rose again. I trust your celebration of our Lord’s passion and Resurrection was a significant reminder of all that He has done for us!
As I read the biblical accounts of this brief period, I am impressed that one activity is mentioned nearly 40 times—prayer. It is no surprise that Jesus prayed just before going to the cross. Seeking and depending upon God during a time of intense crisis would seem natural for many of us. Jesus frequently demonstrated His dependence upon His Father by spending time in prayer.
Jesus understood the importance of aligning His will with His Father’s and knew that prayer is the best way to make that happen. So, in the garden He withdrew from the disciples and prayed “earnestly” (Luke 22:44). Not only did Jesus pray, but also He asked His disciples to “watch [be vigilant] and pray” (Mark 14:38). In light of the situation, Jesus wanted His followers to remain wide awake, attentive and in agreement with the Father.
In the Gospels and Acts, prayer isn’t limited to crisis situations. We are exhorted to pray in anticipation of Christ’s return (Luke 21:36); before a major decision (Acts 1:24); to intercede for someone in danger (Luke 22:32); for protection from the evil one (John 17:15); as a way of life (Acts 1:14).
We in The Alliance understand that prayer is one of the most significant activities in which we can be involved. One of our core value states, Prayer is the primary work of God’s people. We believe that our hearts must agree with His heart in order for His will to be accomplished in our lives. When we pray, we are demonstrating our dependence upon God and acknowledging that apart from Him, we can do nothing.
Every year the Alliance family gathers around God’s throne collectively during the Alliance World Week of Prayer (WWOP). This year (May 13–20) our model is based on Jesus’ words, “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?” (Matt. 26:40). On the C&MA Web site (www.cmalliance.org/events/2012/wwop/) you’ll find a guide to help direct your prayer time and structure your prayers. Can you imagine the impact on God’s Kingdom if the U.S. Alliance—nearly 500,000 strong—joined their hearts to ask God to pour out His blessing around the world, draw many to faith in Christ and bring back the King?
Would you set aside time each day to join me at God’s throne during the WWOP? Let’s ask our Heavenly Father to deepen our walk with Him, strengthen our dependence upon our Savior, fill us with His Holy Spirit and take the light of the gospel to those who haven’t heard in our neighborhoods and the nations of the world.