This resolution of Daily United Prayer is based on An Humble Attempt, originally put forward by Jonathan Edwards in 1748. Its design is to encourage God's people in the duty of united extraordinary prayer; setting aside some time every day to pray for the revival of His church and the advancement of Christ's kingdom in our homes, in our churches, in our nation, and in the world.
"But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren." Luke 22:32.
This week, we heard the news of another high profile Christian writer renouncing his faith. Paul Maxwell, a former Desiring God writer and the author of the book The Trauma of Doctrine, has announced he is no longer a Christian.
â€śWhat I really miss is connection with people,â€ť Maxwell said on his Instagram feed. â€śWhat Iâ€™ve discovered is that Iâ€™m ready to connect again. And Iâ€™m kind of ready not to be angry anymore. I love you guys and I love all the friendships and support Iâ€™ve built here. And I think itâ€™s important to say that Iâ€™m just not a Christian anymore, and it feels really good. Iâ€™m really happy.â€ť
â€śI canâ€™t wait to discover what kind of connection I can have with all of you beautiful people as I try to figure out whatâ€™s next,â€ť he added. â€śI love you guys. Iâ€™m in a really good spot. Probably the best spot of my life. Iâ€™m so full of joy for the first time. I love my life.â€ť
In July 2019, Josh Harris, popular Christian author of the bestseller I Kissed Dating Goodbye, made the following statement on his Instagram post:
I have undergone a massive shift in regard to my faith in Jesus. The popular phrase for this is â€śdeconstruction,â€ť the biblical phrase is â€śfalling away.â€ť By all the measurements that I have for defining a Christian, I am not a Christian.
In August of the same year, Marty Sampson, popular Christian songwriter wrote something similar on his Instagram post:
Iâ€™m genuinely losing my faith, and it doesnâ€™t bother me. Like, what bothers me now is nothing. I am so happy now, so at peace with the world. Itâ€™s crazy. ... How many preachers fall? Many. No one talks about it. How many miracles happen. Not many. No one talks about it.
These are high-profile individuals, all with massive platforms. Does this "strengthen the brethren?" I think not. Rather, it reminds me of that passage in 2 Samuel 12:14, "by this deed thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme."
The Lord Jesus told Peter, "I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not." We too need the prayers of Our Great Advocate on our behalf. In our own strength, we will fall. Do you not think so? "Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall." 1 Cor 10:12. Or as John Bradford once said, "There go I but by the grace of God." We so desperately depend on the prayers of Christ for us. This is why we pray even as the dying thief prayed, "Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom!" Indeed, Lord Jesus, remember us.
But it doesn't stop there. The Lord goes on to say "And when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren." This is the language of strength and victory. We are not meant to just crawl through this life, seeing nothing of the mighty works of God, only to barely make it over the finish line into glory. No. Peter was to enjoy a "conversion" experience, even as an already-converted man, that would allow him to strengthen others in their faith battles. We understand this to be a reference to his infilling of the Holy Spirit in the upper room and then at Pentecost. Isn't it curious that Marty Sampson makes reference to the fact that our current experience of Christianity doesn't seem to measure up to the "mighty works of God" that we read about in the Bible? "How many miracles happen? Not many." This, my friends, is why we are praying for revival. "Wherefore should the heathen say, Where is now their God?" Psalm 115:2. We desperately need to see God at work in mighty power in our lives so we may be able to strengthen the faith of our brethren. George Muller made it clear that this was the motivating reason why he wanted to see an orphanage built:
I know that the Word of God ought to be enough. But by giving my brothers visible proof of the unchangeable faithfulness of the Lord, I might strengthen their faith. This seems to me best done by establishing an orphan house-something which could be seen by the natural eye. If I, a poor man, simply by prayer and faith obtained, without asking any individual, the finances for establishing and carrying on an orphan house, this might strengthen the faith of the children of God. It would also be a testimony to the unconverted of the reality of the things of God. This is the primary reason for establishing the orphan house
And so may we have such a motivation for God's glory.
But, as Curtis reminded us yesterday, we desperately need to see God's mighty power, not only in our lives, but in the pulpits of our land as well. "And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power." 1 Cor 2:4. Let us pray for it. Let us not be satisfied until we see this prayer answered for God's glory.
"One generation shall praise thy works to another, and shall declare thy mighty acts." Psalm 145:4.
We invite you to join our dedicated and earnest group of praying participants of all ages from around the world that meet every day over Zoom to pray. At the start of each prayer call, a different individual will bring a brief Scriptural meditation. Here's the most recent: