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Dave Butts has written a chapter in the short book, My House Shall Be a House of PrayerThe name of the chapter is, Prayerless Leaders = Prayerless Church. Butts began by describing the Brooklyn Tabernacle, the church built around prayer, pastored by Jim Cymbala:

Recently, when I I visited the Brooklyn Tabernacle’s Tuesday night prayer meeting (with more than 2,000 in attendance), it impressed me that the first three rows in the sanctuary were roped off. These rows were reserved for the leaders of the church. They were expected to be there–down front–and visible to the rest of the congregation. That was their place as leaders of prayer for the church

Brooklyn Tabernacle understands that godly leaders need to step out by faith in the direction that God lays out before then, and the people of God will follow–especially in the area of prayer. The local church will not become a house of prayer until its leaders become people of prayer. When prayer has its proper place in the life of the church leaders, it will move to a place of centrality in the rest of the church  (My House Shall Be a House of Prayercomplied and Edited by Jonathan L Graf and Lani C, Hinkle, 32).

Westwood Baptist Church was organized on October 14, 1962. After a location change, it became Harvey Oaks Baptist Church. It was the church I was saved it…and today I am the Senior Pastor! How cool is that?

We have been doing this once a month now for several years. The Good News? Four prodigals have come back home to their Heavenly Father!

“It is with a reflection of this joy that we approach the return of those who are lost, those who have left their Father and are wandering alone. Forgiveness and the joy of reconciliation wait for them to return. We have to be ready to receive and welcome these wanderers as they make approaches to turn to the Father.” (www.prayingprodigalshome.com)

This weekend was the 35 year high school class reunion (Millard High School in Omaha, NE, 1977). Many of my classmates and I attended Harvey Oaks Baptist Church, which, by the way is the church I am pastor of today. Today after church, we had 1970’s Harvey Oaks Baptist Church Youth Group Reunion. We had pizza, pop, desserts and lots of fun! Many of us are still walking with Jesus!

In our weekly Bible study and prayer at Harvey Oaks Baptist Church in Omaha, NE, we not only talked about revival but we also prayed for it!

May it come Lord Jesus!

This morning in my sermon I quoted the last words of Eric Liddell. He was also known as “The Flying Scotsman”. Liddell was the winner of the men’s 400 metres at the 1924 Summer Olympics in Paris. His Olympic training and racing, and the religious convictions that influenced him, are depicted in the Oscar-winning 1981 film Chariots of Fire, in which he is portrayed by fellow Scot Ian Charleson.

His last words were:

“It’s complete surrender!”

Liddell died of a brain tumor in a Japanese internment camp on February 21, 1945.

 

The Bible teaches that we Christians are to pray. Earlier today in my Sunday school class, we looked at Acts 2:42, a verse that describes the activities of the early Christians in Jerusalem: And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. My wife and I had the great opportunity to teach third, fourth and fifth graders how important it is to read our Bibles, to fellowship and to pray. These things help us grow as Christians.

Prayer, both individually and corporately, allows us to experience the joy of answered prayer and to see the power of God work among us. If God is going to work powerfully in our lives, then we cannot avoid the discipline of prayer. The neglect of prayer will simply translate into a life where the hand of God is rarely seen in our lives and in church. For people to come to Christ in large numbers, we at Harvey Oaks Baptist Church must be a house of prayer.

We must cry out to God day and night for people to come to Christ. Do we pray for at five people five minutes a day? God uses the prayers of his people on earth to work out his will in the world and in the lives of people. Ephesians 6:18 exhorts us to pray at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication and to keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints.

Our weapons are spiritual. Prayer is our most powerful resource to advance the kingdom of God on the earth. The Bible is clear: we absolutely must pray if lives are to be transformed by the Lord Jesus.

One of my favorite verses in the Bible is Jeremiah 33:3. God, through the prophet Jeremiah said: Call to me and I will answer you, and tell you great and hidden things that you have not known. God invites us to call to him! Earlier in chapter 29, verse 12, the Lord said: Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you.

God promises that when we call to him, he will answer us. What a great promise! God will answer us. He also promises that he will tell us great and hidden things that we have not previously known! God will reveal future things.

One the great books on the power of prayer in the local church is called Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire by Pastor Jim Cymbala. In it he writes:

If we call upon the Lord, He has promised in his Word to answer, to bring the unsaved to Himself, to pour out His Spirit among us. If we don’t call upon the Lord, He has promised nothing—nothing at all. It’s as simple as that. No matter what I preach or what we claim to believe in our heads, the future will depend upon our times of prayer. This is the engine that drives the church.

Prayer is the engine that drives the church. Let us call to God! He promises to answer!

Pastor Bryan

This evening the elder’s of Harvey Oaks Baptist Church (Omaha, NE) met for our bi-weekly meeting. We spent the first portion of the meeting on our knees praying for the church and lifting up praises and supplications to the God Most High!

It was a sweet and powerful time! Thank you Jesus!

Dear HOBC Family,

This Sunday, I will preach on the foundation of prayer in our lives. Jesus set the example for us. Luke 5:16 says this about Jesus: “But he would withdraw to desolate places and pray.” In my sermon, I will include this quote by Bruce Ware:

One great and glorious reason God devised prayer was to use it as a mechanism to draw us to himself, to help us to see how much we need him, to set before us constantly the realization that he is everything we are not, and he possesses everything that we lack. We are weak, but he is strong; we are foolish, but he is wise; we are untrustworthy, but he is faithful; we are ignorant, but he is infinitely knowledgeable; we are poor and empty, but he is rich and full.

I am looking forward to worshiping with you this Sunday!

Pastor Bryan

Yesterday (October 7), I drove outside the city limits of Omaha to pay a visit to a church member.  Bill and I have known each other for years.

Bill is deeply concerned about the spiritual state of the church.  After I parked my truck in his driveway, we walked out to his pond where there was a bench.

We chatted for a few minutes and then we spent a significant portion of time in prayer for our church.

We prayed for revival!

It was one of the most refreshing times of prayer I have ever had.

We plan to do to again!

May the Lord send revival!

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