Jefferson Baptist Church has 4 “Five Day of Prayer” events each year, one about every 3 months. During the five days that we pray, Monday through Friday, we pray 10 hours each day, 5 to 10 am and 5 to 10 pm. As the pastor of JBC who has a very strong faith in the power of prayer I am always very disappointed with the turnout of people from our church for prayer during these events.
So I am not going to just feel bad, and get irritated because many people who attend JBC don’t have a strong faith in the power of prayer yet. But I am going to do something as the pastor to lead, train, and teach people how super important it is to pray together as a church. My strategy is to remind, teach, send notes, teach, nag, teach, harass, preach, and send some more notes. But I understand that my struggle is not against people, flesh and blood, but it is against satan and his demons. They hate prayer because it destroys their hold over people and they have no defense against prayer except to work hard to keep people from praying.
When I was 12 years old my Dad, who was in the Navy, was stationed in Alameda, California. We used to walk down to the docks where the ships were tied up and fish occasionally. It usually was very windy whenever we went fishing on the docks, but one time it was dead calm, not a hint of a breeze was blowing, and the water in the bay was like glass. Dad walked over to a big Navy ship tied to the dock, and he said watch this, and leaned out and began to push on the side of the ship with all of his strength. He pushed for 10 or 15 minutes without letting up, I was pretty sure Dad had lost it. Just about the time that I was getting super bored with this effort in futility, the ship began to move away from the dock, I couldn’t believe my eyes.
Dad sat down on the edge of the dock to catch his breath and asked me to sit down next to him. He said to me, “I don’t know how it works, but somehow as I pushed on that ship my energy was being stored in the molecules of the ship, and it finally moved when there was enough energy to overcome the resistance of the water. There are two things I want you to learn from this, first, if I had given up just 2 seconds before it started to move it wouldn’t have moved and everything I had done up to that point would have been wasted, so never give up. Second, if you had helped me we would have moved it in half the time”.
So that is my mental picture as I try and convince people to give up time working in their yards to come down to the church and spend time praying with me and other church family. Just keep pushing and never give up and try to get as many other people to push with me as possible.