Assemblies of God SearchSite GuideStoreContact Us

Daily Boost

  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...



 
Connections: George O. Wood

The 7:14 Prayer Movement

George O. Wood, general superintendent of the Assemblies of God, recently visited with Pentecostal Evangel Editor Ken Horn about the importance of prayer and the 7:14 Prayer Movement.

evangel: Tell us about the importance of prayer, both in the life of the Christian and in the local church.

WOOD: Every effective church and every great spiritual movement has been based on prayer and bathed in prayer. God has left some things up to us that He will not do unless we pray. His word is very clear about it.

We are using 2 Chronicles 7:14 as the basis of the 7:14 Prayer Movement. It begins, “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray” (NIV).

Throughout Scripture we see this focus on prayer, especially in the life of the Early Church. The Early Church was a praying Church, and if we are going to be a New Testament Church, we must have New Testament practice as well as New Testament belief.

When I was a young pastor, Armin Gesswein, who had been a prayer leader for Billy Graham, said to me, “If you look through most church bulletins you will find a lot of references to social activities. But you will find very few references to prayer meetings.”

That alarmed me. I immediately grabbed my church bulletin, and I was glad to find some prayer meetings listed.

I am reminded of a conversation I had when I was a young pastor. It was with E.S. Williams, former general superintendent (1929-49). He was about 94 at the time.

I asked him, “What are your concerns for the Assemblies of God?” He replied, “That we will become a social organization. Do you know what happens? Christians become comfortable with one another over the course of time, and church becomes kind of like a social club. If we fail to remember why we are here, to be people of prayer, to be people who know God, and to be people who evangelize, we will be just another club.”

His great fear was that we would lose our spiritual identity, which really is fashioned through prayer. So I take that to heart. I am very concerned our churches, our ministers and our people not only have a personal life of prayer, but they also participate in corporate prayer.

evangel: Tell us about the 7:14 Prayer Movement.

WOOD: As I mentioned, it comes from 2 Chronicles 7:14. It was discussed in the General Presbytery meeting this past August. There was a resolution offered that the leadership of the General Council give focus to an emphasis on prayer as we lead into our centennial celebration — which will begin in 2013 and extend through 2014. We wanted to give special focus to affirm that the people of God are people of prayer.

evangel: Talk about your heart for the 7:14 Prayer Movement. What do you see coming out of it?

WOOD: I am greatly concerned, first of all, about the life of the church. We have close to 12,700 Assemblies of God churches in the United States. We’ve looked at the statistics, and about 80 percent of them are not growing. Some of them are declining.

I believe that part of the reason for the decline is a lack of prayer. There are many other reasons as well, but where there is no prayer, things begin to dry up. Prayer is the spiritual nutrient for growth in the kingdom of God.

So many times my experience is that there is very little corporate prayer in churches. There’s a lot of singing and there’s preaching and there’s teaching. But there must also be people praying together, having times of response — whether it’s at an altar or inviting people forward to be prayed for.

We must not let services go by where there is never a moment to pause and pray, or where the prayer simply becomes a list of people’s needs rather than deeper things.

We need to repent over prayerlessness — not because we feel guilty that we haven’t prayed but because we honestly want to have an authentic relationship with the Lord in prayer. Intercessory prayer, praying in the Spirit, is the kind of prayer that has so galvanized this Movement throughout its 100 years of existence. If we stop doing that, we are in great trouble.

We need to be praying for this culture. I just noticed a study that shows how the trend is rising among young adults to forsake faith. If we are not careful this country could go the way of Europe, where there is a small minority of Bible-believing, evangelical Christians.

There are some good things happening, with immigrants coming from Africa into Europe and starting largely African churches. Other nationalities are starting churches as well.

But there has been an abandonment of faith by huge segments of the population in our country, and as a result we observe the coarseness in our culture. We get all kinds of societal evils, whether they be abortion, the gay agenda, sexual relationships outside marriage, mistreatment of the poor, or racial injustice. This litany of problems such as crime, violence, urban decay — all of these things are a result of a decline in the moral and spiritual fiber of the nation. So we need to be praying for our country, that the Lord will spare us and bring revival, lest we fall under God’s judgment.

evangel: Any final thoughts?

WOOD: Through prayer, Christians must create an updraft of intercession that sustains this culture, sustains this country, on a path of righteousness. Proverbs 14:34 says, “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people.” That Scripture is absolutely true.

Connections


Previous Years


2013 Connections

2012 Connections

2011 Connections

2010 Connections

2009 Conversations

2008 Conversations

2007 Conversations

2006 Conversations

2005 Conversations

2004 Conversations

2003 Conversations

2002 Conversations

2001 Conversations

2000 Conversations


Email your comments to pe@ag.org.