Persistent, Believing Prayer

from Feb 15, 2009 Category: Articles

Left to our selves, there are many things of which we are capable: we can persuade people intellectually; we can arouse and inspire them emotionally; and we can win them to ourselves psychologically. But the one thing we cannot do is to regenerate them spiritually. That task is exclusively God’s. When one of my friends, who had been in the pastorate for many fruitful years, was asked by some seminary students, “What, in your experience, is the best and most effective evangelistic method?” he replied, after some thought, “Prayer—persistent, believing prayer.”

Now, if you think about it, that reply does not come from some profound theological insight. Rather, it comes from a foundational truth. If only God can save, then to whom do we turn to see our friends brought to salvation? The logical answer is, “To God!” The awkward question that sometimes follows is: “Then why is it that in most ministries and churches, prayer is supplemental rather than fundamental?” This is the background against which we need to think about evangelistic preaching.

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Quoted in Feed My Sheep: A Passionate Plea for Preaching. 2nd edition, 2008 by Reformation Trust Publishing, an imprint of Ligonier Ministries. Available here.