Harnessing the Church’s prayer potential
By Pastor Austen Ukachi
Prayer creates the track on which the wheel of missions moves. An unstable track inevitably slows down the pace of movement. If we are to evangelise the world, then we must step up the pace of our prayers.
Fortunately, one of the greatest strengths of the Church in Africa is its praying potential, thanks to our numerous problems, which God has used to train us to pray. The Church’s prayers need to be harnessed to shape the destiny of the continent and beyond.
Granted, some prayers are misdirected, but none would doubt God has used the peculiarities of our environment to groom the Church in aggressive praying. She must arise and use this God-given strength to transform the continent.
Not all Christians occupy strategic positions in society to influence their respective sphere. However, every Christian can maintain the track on which the wheel of missions runs – prayer.
In this light, the Church has a mandate to pray for all people and those in authority. “Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence… Who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (I Tim. 2:1-2, 4 NKJV).
This text explains that the Church should pray for all the segments of society, irrespective of religion, gender, tribe, and occupation. God has positioned Christians as watchmen so that his presence will be extended to every sphere of the nation. “O Jerusalem, I have posted watchmen on your walls; they will pray day and night, continually. Take no rest, all you who pray to the Lord. Give the Lord no rest until he completes his work, until he makes Jerusalem the pride of the earth” (Is. 62:6-7 NLT).
The Church’s prayers need to be harnessed to shape the destiny of the continent and beyond.
Why do the prayers of Christians over their nation matter to God? They matter because the Church has a priestly and prophetic responsibility to society. Through prayer, the Church creates the atmosphere for peaceful coexistence and for people to be saved.
Our prayers serve as the catalyst for God’s plans and purposes. Thirdly, according to Revelation 8:3-5, God uses our prayers to do his work on earth. “Then another angel, having a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense that he should offer it with the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, ascended before God from the angel’s hand. Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and threw it to the earth. And there were noises, thundering, lightning, and an earthquake” (Revelation 8:3-5 NKJV).
Our responsibility is to pray, and God’s duty is to answer the way He sovereignly deems fit. The Church has a unique ministry towards national transformation, like no other arm of society. Intercessors must shift their focus from the bless-me syndrome to what matters most: the kingdom. In this way, the African church can shape the destiny of the continent and world through prayer.
Pastor Austen C. Ukachi is Senior Pastor of He’s Alive Chapel in Lagos, Nigeria. He is also Coordinator of the Strategic Prayer Network of the Movement for African National Initiatives (MANI), and Executive Member of the International Prayer Council. Volunteers are welcome to join in the monthly Zoom prayer conference for Africa’s unreached peoples every last Wednesday of the month. firstname.lastname@example.org