We were delighted to have Pastor Jim Cymbala at this year’s MinistrieSummit. Here are some words of encouragement from Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire.
PRAYER IS THE SOURCE of the Christian life, a Christian’s lifeline. Otherwise, it’s like having a baby in your arms and dressing her up so cute— but she’s not breathing! Never mind the frilly clothes; stabilize the child’s vital signs. It does no good to talk to someone in a comatose state. That’s why the great emphasis on teaching in today’s churches is producing such limited results. Teaching is good only where there’s life to be channeled. If the listeners are in a spiritual coma, what we’re telling them may be fine and orthodox, but unfortunately, spiritual life cannot be taught.
“Does anyone really think that America today is lacking preachers, books, Bible translations, and neat doctrinal statements? What we really lack is the passion to call upon the Lord until he opens the heavens and shows himself powerful.”
Pastors and churches have to get uncomfortable enough to say, “We are not New Testament Christians if we don’t have a prayer life.” This conviction makes us squirm a little, but how else will there be a breakthrough with God?
If we truly think about what Acts 2:42 says—“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer”— we can see that prayer is almost a proof of a church’s normalcy. Calling on the name of the Lord is the fourth great hallmark in the list. If my church or your church isn’t praying, we shouldn’t be boasting in our orthodoxy or our Sunday morning attendance figures.
In fact, Carol and I have told each other more than once that if the spirit of brokenness and calling on God ever slacks off in the Brooklyn Tabernacle, we’ll know we’re in trouble, even if we have 10,000 in attendance.
Copyright © 1997, Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire, The Zondervan Corporation.
We had to have a visitation of the Holy Spirit, or bust.
“I haven’t been trained. All I know is that Carol and I are working in the middle of New York City, with people dying on every side, overdosing from heroin, consumed by materialism, and all the rest. If the gospel is so powerful …” I couldn’t finish the sentence. Tears choked me.
Then quietly but forcefully, in words heard not with my ear but deep within my spirit, I sensed God speaking: If you and your wife will lead my people to pray and call upon my name, you will never lack for something fresh to preach. I will supply all the money that’s needed, both for the church and for your family, and you will never have a building large enough to contain the crowds I will send in response.
“Visiting Brooklyn Tabernacle and seeing the many lives that have been changed by the power of God makes you want to raise your voice and sing ‘Lord, Your grace is so amazing. Wonderful! Wonderful!’ Whether it is a Tuesday night prayer meeting or a Sunday service, you sense such reverence and awe as people from all walks of life gather to meet with the King of Kings!
When times were hard and the struggles many, God was faithful to Brooklyn Tabernacle and to its pastor, Jim Cymbala. God met him and told him to lead the people to pray, and he was ‘not disobedient unto the heavenly vision.’ The miracle-working prayers of his faithful congregation are evidenced by the life-changing testimonies that have not only been proclaimed in Brooklyn but have traveled around the world.” – Rev. Penny Wheatley – PennDel Ministry Network