Joe Aldrich — then President of Multnomah School of the Bible and one of the leaders of the church in the Pacific Northwest — tells of an encounter he had in Philadelphia. He was working with the Billy Graham organization and was attending a dinner. He happened to sit next to an African-American man, about 5’4 in his 70’s. He had no idea who the guy was, whether he was a pastor or a janitor at the local college.
“So, what do you do?” Joe asked. “I’m a pastor,” the little man replied. “How did you get into the ministry?” Joe continued. “Well,” the pastor said, “I resisted the call for 14 years. But one day I was shaving and all of a sudden the mirror began to fill up with faces…the faces of people who needed Jesus. I dropped on my knees and surrendered to the Lord, right there next to the bathtub. The next Sunday, we met in our basement, myself, my wife and our two children. We sang a few songs, I preached, and we took an offering. It was our first Sunday.”
Not a very auspicious beginning, but out of politeness Joe didn’t stop there. “Tell me about your church.” “Well we have a church in downtown Philadelphia, and the Lord has blessed.” The pastor in Joe couldn’t resist the “nickels and noses” questions. “How big, how many.” “Well we have about 10,000 people.” “10,000 people! Where do you put them all?” “Well we just finished a 17.5 million dollar 5200 seat auditorium.”
“What do you attribute this too,” Joe asked.
“Prayer.” Ben Smith replied.
Well of course — he is going to answer prayer, would not be appropriately humble to say, “my great preaching.” But Joe wasn’t content with “prayer.” “What do you mean? Tell me about prayer at your church.” This quiet unassuming man began to detail the place of prayer in his church. Well every day, I get up at 3:30 in the morning and pray till breakfast, sometimes right through breakfast. We have eight staff people who do nothing but pray. On the first week of every month, we have 250-300 people who pray 24 hours around the clock for 5 days. In the summer, about 300 people go away for a week to pray for the church.”
Why do iPray? Or maybe the more appropriate question is, “why should iPray?” Because when we work, we work, but when we pray, we partner with God.
A great student of prayer once said that the crying need of Christians and the church today is not better plans and planners, our crying need is for powerful people of God, spiritual leaders…people of prayer… people filled with the spirit of God; who exhibit in every area of their lives, the awesome, unspeakable power of God. The crying need of the church today is for the supernatural power which makes us more than a social organization; more than a gathering of people; the power which causes us to be not only in name but in practice… the body of Christ.
When iPray, iPray because I love the body of Christ and want to see us be the hope of the world.