Getting The Zeros Right

In his book,

Jesus Continued: Why The Spirit Inside You Is Better than Jesus Beside You,

Pastor J. D. Greear describes the days of unceasing prayer leading up to Pentecost, the power of Peter’s preaching, and the results of the Gospel at Pentecost. He notes that they prayed for ten days, preached for ten minutes, and three thousand people were saved. Then he adds, “Today, we shuffle the zeroes around: we pray for ten minutes, preach for ten days … and only three people get saved. What a difference the placement of those zeroes can make!

Cited by Daniel Henderson in

Old Paths, New Power

Success that is Failure

“Some years ago I received a call from a pastor of a large church. He asked if he could host me for lunch when I came to speak at a conference in the area. He and a staff of three planned to attend, and they had collectively read my book Fresh Encounters. He indicated that he had some questions, so we locked in the date.

During our lunch, he recounted his journey at the church. He had served as senior pastor for more than a decade. The church had grown from a few hundred and was approaching two thousand in weekly attendance, with an impressive array of programs and facilities. He described the remarkable success of recent years and then stopped midsentence, overwhelmed with emotion. Through the tears he made a profound statement:

I don’t know if what I have accomplished had anything to do with the Holy Spirit. I have been a prayerless pastor.”

Once he regained his composure I asked,

Then how do you explain all that has happened over the last decade?

I worked the formulas,” he responded very matter-of-factly. “I knew the formulas for growth, land acquisition, relocation in a growing area, children’s programming, youth events, attractive worship services, staff development, and high-impact sermons.” He continued, “Yet, if I were to stand before Christ today, I don’t know if what I have done is gold, silver, and precious stones … or just wood, hay, and stubble.

Old Paths, New Power
by Daniel Henderson

much time….

“There can be no communion with a holy God, no fellowship between heaven and earth, no power for the salvation of souls, unless much time is set apart for it.”

—Andrew Murray
The Prayer Life

“Much time spent in prayer is the secret of all successful praying. Prayer that is felt as a mighty force is the mediate or immediate product of much time spent in prayer. Our short prayers owe their point and efficiency to the long ones that have preceded them.”

—E. M. Bounds
Preacher and Prayer

Why Some See Movements And Others Don’t

“We were leading our first ever conference with Ying and Grace Kai, the creators of Training 4 Trainers or T4T. I was excited to sit at their feet and learn from them. They had seen thousands of churches planted where they worked. Since then, they had trained and equipped many others to do the same. It was a great opportunity to rub shoulders with these legendary, modern-day apostles. I felt very privileged.

What would I learn? What key would I pick up from them that I could take to our own ministry among the unreached forward?

As is typical in the country we were in, there were last minute changes. Our prior plans for the day after their arrival had to be altered. I wondered how we could best bless and host our speakers well. Maybe we could take them sightseeing in our city? Or out to a nice restaurant? I didn’t want them to feel bad that we now had nothing specific for them to do that particular morning.

I explained the situation to them and offered some suggestions. “It’s no problem,” they said. We will pray.

They spent those hours and much of that day seeking the Father. This was much more productive and important to them than sightseeing, though they had never before visited our country. Hour after hour, they lifted the names of those they would be training before the Lord.

It was one of the greatest lessons I learned from being with them. People who want to see movements default to prayer as their most critical activity.”


C. Anderson in Why Some See Movements And Others Don’t, Mission Frontiers Nov / Dec 2018

Prayer and Window Shopping

When I was first married, my wife and a young lady friend insisted on going “window-shopping.” Since I was broke, I felt a great deal of unease about the proposal, until I learned that they did not plan to buy anything: they were merely going to “shop.” And gradually I learned that a woman can shop half of a day without really expecting to bring anything home!

And so it is that people often “pray.” They “pray” and “pray” but do not get anything; indeed, they do not expect to get anything. That is not the reason they “pray.” But though they call it praying, really it is not real prayer if it does not come with a definite petition, asking something from God.

John R. Rice
Prayer: Asking And Receiving

Prayer is for war

“Prayer is the communication by which the weapons of warfare are deployed according to the will of God. Prayer is for war.

Let me show you this more specifically from John 15:16-17:

You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.(ESV)

The logic is crucial. Why is the Father going to give the disciples what they ask in Jesus’ name? Answer: Because they have been sent to bear fruit. The reason the Father gives the disciples the gift of prayer is because Jesus has given them a mission. In fact, the grammar of John 15:16 implies that the reason Jesus gives them their mission is so that they will be able to enjoy the power of prayer. “I send you to bear fruit so that whatever you ask the Father…he may give you.

So I do not tire of saying to our church, “The number one reason why prayer malfunctions in the hands of a believer is that they try to turn a wartime walkie-talkie into a domestic intercom.

— John Piper

Dawson Trotman’s prayer life

One of the biographies that most impacted my life is the life story of Dawson Trotman (1906–1956), founder of the Navigators. He was a very ordinary man with an extraordinary passion for God and prayer who launched a worldwide organization that especially left a deep spiritual impact on the U.S. Navy in World War II. As a young man he often met God early in the morning in the hills of Southern California to pray. Once he covenanted to pray two hours early every morning before work for forty straight days. Near the end of the forty days, he and a prayer partner prayed over a map of the world.

Amazingly, before he died at the young age of fifty (while saving someone from drowning), Trotman saw the fruit of his labor spanning the globe in answer to those early prayers. His biographer writes, “Dawson held on to his consuming purpose to become a man of God, a man of prayer … in looking back later, he had little doubt that his disciplined practice of prayer during the first five years of his Christian life laid a foundation for all of his subsequent ministry.”

The Prayer life of John Wesley

“In all his journeyings John Wesley used to carry about with him a little note-book for jottings, the first crude draft of his Journals. On the front page of each successive copy of this memorandum book he always recorded a resolution to spend two hours daily in private prayer, no evasion or proviso being admitted.”

from The Hidden Life of Prayer
by David M’Intyre

Korean Revival of 1906

Jonathan Goforth, a missionary to China visited Korea to see firsthand the massive revival that was underway in 1906. He wrote:

I had not been in Korea very long before I was led back to the source from which this great movement sprang. Mr. Swallen, of Pingyang, told me how that the missionaries of his station, both Methodists and Presbyterians, upon hearing of the great Revival in the Kassia Hills of India, had decided to pray every day at the noon hour until a similar blessing was poured out upon them. “After we had prayed for about a month,” said Mr. Swallen, “a brother proposed that we stop the prayer‑meeting, saying, ‘We have been praying now for a month, and nothing unusual has come of it. We are spending a lot of time. I don’t think we are justified. Let us go on with our work as usual, and each pray at home is he finds it convenient.’ The proposal seemed plausible. The majority of us, however, decided that, instead of discontinuing the prayer meeting, we would give more time to prayer, not less. With that in view, we changed the hour from noon to four o’clock; we were then free to pray until supper‑time, if we wished. We kept to it, until at last, after months of waiting, the answer came.”

By My Spirit
By Jonathan Goforth

Luther on time management…

Martin Luther (1483–1546) towers as a giant in church history. The highly active and influential pastor, professor, author, and father of the Protestant Reformation understood the power of prayer to save time and effort. When asked of his plans for the coming week, Luther mentioned that he generally spent two hours a day in prayer, but the coming week was extra busy. Therefore, he said, “Work, work from early till late. In fact I have so much to do that I shall spend the first three hours in prayer.”

from Prayer: The High Impact Secret of High Impact Leaders by Dave Earley

Things God does without prayer…

“I scoured the New Testament some time ago, looking for things God does in ministry that are not prompted by prayer. Do you know what I found?


I don’t mean I had trouble finding an item or two: I mean I found nothing.

Everything God does in the work of ministry, He does through prayer. Consider:
• Prayer is the way you defeat the devil (Luke 22: 23; James 4: 7).
• Prayer is the way you get the lost saved (Luke 18: 13).
• Prayer is the way you acquire wisdom (James 1: 5).
• Prayer is the way a backslider gets restored (James 5: 16–20).
• Prayer is how saints get strengthened (Jude 20; Matthew 26: 41).
• Prayer is the way to get laborers out to the mission field (Matthew 9: 38).
• Prayer is how we cure the sick (James 5: 13–15).
• Prayer is how we accomplish the impossible (Mark 11: 23, 24). … everything God wants to do in your life; He has subjugated to one thing: Prayer.

David Jeremiah, Prayer: The Great Adventure (Sisters, OR: Multnomah Publishers, 1997), 40–41.

Prayer and Small Groups

“a survey of small-group leaders revealed an interesting correlation between time spent in prayer and small-group multiplication. It revealed that leaders who spent ninety minutes or more in daily devotions multiplied their groups twice as often as those who spent less than half an hour.”

Joel Comiskey, Home Group Cell Explosion (Houston: Touch Publications, 1998), 34