“You may feel your community is relatively safe, that the oppression upon the land does not concern you. Your optimism is a delusion. Unless there is a buffer of prayer and aggressive Christianity in your town, it will only be a matter of time before it is invaded by the advancing flood of evil. Jesus is seeking to bring His church to the place where it becomes, literally, a house of prayer.”
When things do not go our way and when storm clouds come, where do we get our strength?
When I went through dark storm clouds in the fall of 2005, I couldn’t suddenly get something I wasn’t cultivating day by day. I had to get my strength in what was already there on the inside. It was frightening and shocking to say the least when I came face-to-face with the news from my doctor, “Debbie, you have breast cancer.” Could this be “me”?
I know it happens to other people, but certainly not me. Thoughts flooded my mind—I still have so much life to live, so many plans and dreams. I don’t have time for cancer. I’m too young. Cancer just happens to other people.
But after the initial shock waves subsided, I realized that it was me who did have breast cancer and that God was the only one who could carry me through it. I learned in those months that the relationship I had built with God throughout the years would sustain me. I realized how important foundational strength really is.
The well-known hymn, On Christ the Solid Rock I Stand, proves to be so true when facing a life-threatening disease or tragedy in life. In those months of uncertainty, I realized that my strength was cultivated through years of walking with Jesus. That’s what sustained me. It’s choosing to live for God and for Him alone in the easy times. Our foundation must be strong. We can’t suddenly manufacture strength during a moment of need. It has to be there ahead of time.
Our hope is in Jesus. We need a strong relationship with Him. The Bible says in Hebrews 6:19, “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.” I lived on a ship sailing around the world for many years, preaching the good news of Jesus and encouraging the churches through Biblical seminars and training. We had two anchors on that ship. There were times when we were not able to go into port because of bad weather. You can only imagine what that was like. During those times the captain would let down the anchor outside the port city.
I remember being outside Auckland, New Zealand during bad weather. The swells on the ocean were huge, possibly fifty feet high. Although the ship would rise high and dramatically fall, it stayed steadfast in that area without moving an inch. Thanks to the anchors, we weren’t pulled out to sea or thrown into port. The anchors were essential. They kept us firm and secure until we could enter the city. There is a great need for 24/7 prayer in our cities because continuous prayer helps the Christians to develop a deep relationship with God. Then they won’t crash in hard times. A city can stand firm and secure in the storms of life when day and night prayer permeates the atmosphere.
The Church of Jesus Christ is going to rise up as a praying Church (Isaiah 56:7). Already many churches are putting a greater emphasis on prayer; there are Houses of Prayer arising in many cities in the world. Although the strength of our endurance in prayer will be tested severely as the times grow harder, the Church will rise up as a victorious, faith-filled Church (Hebrews 10:38-39; 11:1-40).