Have you ever noticed that only some people seem to be in the middle of big things happening – whether in their social circles, business, or their community? For instance, for every thousand (or million) people who thinks of a great new invention or idea, only one seems to actually deliver results on it. We’ve probably all thought of a new gadget, topic, or solution to a common problem, but yet we’re not all getting rich off of selling something that everyone needs (or thinks they need!). How many times have you seen a new product or concept, and thought, “I had that same idea years ago”?
For instance, I’m pretty sure that I had the idea for massively-multiplayer online games before the first success story came out. There have been plenty of opportunities where I need a tool in just the right configuration to fix a stubborn appliance or a problem in my house, but I’ve never designed and sold one. And, a lot of random ideas occur to me over time, but (other than maybe articles written for this site), a lot of them end up not going anywhere. (Maybe that’s a good thing. Sometimes, I count on God to help the good ideas to persist, and let the useless ideas fade away from my mind.)
So, what makes the difference between someone who has an idea, and someone who succeeds with that idea? One obvious answer is that the latter person often takes action. Thinking something doesn’t inherently result in an invention being built, a story being written, or the world being changed. Without action, there is no result.
However, I believe that there is also a critical element of opportunity. If ideas and action alone were enough to succeed, there are many hard-working, well-meaning people who (I think) would be far richer and well-known than they are today. Sometimes, an idea surfaces ahead of its time, and the required technology doesn’t yet exist. Sometimes, another party has already designed the same thing, and has a head-start on development and marketing (or has obtained a patent). And, sometimes, really innovative people live in a place where the funds, time, or infrastructure just isn’t available to turn potential solutions into reality.
Still, what if a really good thing, the opportunity to turn it from a concept into reality, and incredibly positive results were all hinging on a simple action from us? What if the world could be changed, and the net contribution from a few people would be relatively minor (in comparison to the result)?
Have a look at this passage from the Bible, below:
Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months. Then he prayed again, and the sky poured rain and the earth produced its fruit.
James 5:16-18 NASB
In light of these commandments and examples, I ask the Christian community this:
What if every Christian, all together, asked for God’s Spirit to multiply His Kingdom?
I don’t mean some sort of “mystical moment” where everyone says the same prayer. Instead, consider what might happen if the regular, fervent prayer of every Christian in the world included a desperate cry for revival?
We read about thousands of people at Pentecost (Acts 2:41), and may think that this was a special occurrence. But why couldn’t that occur again?
- Yes, the Holy Spirit was present at that first-century Pentecost, but He continues in the lives of His people, today.
- Yes, many people were gathered there, but tens or hundreds of thousands of people get together for sports events (and other things) on a regular basis, so large gatherings still occur today.
- Yes, the message was presented in multiple languages, but translation opportunities abound, and there are many large groups who speak the same language.
If there was even a chance that the same massive positive change could still occur in our world today, wouldn’t it be worthwhile to ask God for that to happen? I invite all readers of this article to add a revival of God’s kingdom to your prayer list, and to ask others to do the same. Based on the passage above, I believe our prayers must include intercession for individuals who God has set in our lives and in our hearts, whose salvation and healing (spiritual, physical, mental, relational, etc.) we long for. And, I would ask that these prayers include a request for a revival in our families, our churches, our communities, our countries, and our world (including those astronauts floating high above it)
Not only is there power available in prayer, but followers of Jesus are instructed to pray on the behalf of others. Then, maybe we’d see actions like those described by James in this passage:
Is anyone among you suffering? Then he must pray. Is anyone cheerful? He is to sing praises. Is anyone among you sick? Then he must call for the elders of the church and they are to pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord;
James 5:13-14 NASB
And, should God answer those prayers mightily, as He has many times in the past, we might be called to take action. If you pray for revival (and, perhaps you already do, whether for individuals or at a larger scale), be sure that you listen to God in return, to hear where He might be calling you to take action. It might mean talking with a person (or many of them), about Jesus. It might mean investing resources into ministries that God is blessing. Or, it might mean giving up your current life, and taking on a new, radically-transformed lifestyle for Him.
Won’t you ask God to apply His power towards change that would change the entire world for good, today? He may change the world, or He may change us to go into the world. In either case, to paraphrase a saying, may we all “Pray big!”
Scripture quotations taken from the NASB. Copyright by The Lockman Foundation.