I believe in the power of prayer. Prayer is an integral part of a thriving vocation (what we do) and the secret to a victorious personal life (who we are). As Christ’s disciples, it is the essential centre of our lives.
The Salvation Army in Canada and Bermuda is on the verge of something quite extraordinary. This is more than a whimsical, romanticized dream. Corps and social centres are experiencing rebirth, and in many cases, exceptional growth. God has promised that if, as a people, we commit to serious, intentional prayer, we can expect mighty results:
“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from Heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14).
Jesus urged his disciples to pray constantly and never give up (see Luke 18:1). God has entrusted each of us with a vision for the Army in this territory. The vision is not only for numerical growth, but that we will grow as a holy people—a holy Salvation Army committed to sharing with others the good news of the gospel. Empowered by the Holy Spirit, we are called to holy boldness as we infiltrate our homes and communities with the glorious, transforming message of Christ.
If, as a people of God, we commit to pray, both corporately and individually, we can expect the following miracles.
Our corps and social centres will be transformed. The celebrated preacher, Dwight L. Moody, observed: “Some people think God does not like to be troubled with our constant asking. The way to trouble God is not to come at all.” God wants us to pray sincerely and specifically for our ministry units. He wants our ministry units to grow spiritually and numerically. When we unite in prayer to this end, God will respond beyond our expectations:
“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine …” (Ephesians 3:20).
Our neighbourhoods and communities will change. I must admit that I am not the best neighbour. I would like to be more of a true neighbour, but responsibilities often take priority. Yet, I must pray for, and reach out to, my community. Here is the challenge for all of us. As Salvationists, will you pray for your community? God promises that if we pray, he will act. The great 16th-century reformer, Martin Luther, observed that “more work is done by prayer than by work itself.”
We will change. If we commit to fervent prayer, the atmosphere of the territory will improve. Officers, soldiers and adherents will change and clients and parishioners will “catch the spirit”! The historic Westminster Catechism commences with a fundamental question: “What is the chief end of humankind?” The succinct response: “To glorify God and enjoy him forever.” Do we enjoy God? Do we anticipate being in communion with him? Do we take the awesome opportunity to speak to the Creator of Heaven and earth?
When Salvationists pray, we will be a changed people. Over two millennia ago, the Early Church committed to constant prayer. What happened?
“After they prayed … they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the Word of God boldly” (Acts 4:31).
What happens when Salvationists pray? Just wait and see. It will set the stage for a marvellous, spectacular time in our territory’s history. For God is going to do amazing things in and through us all. Are you ready for it?
Commissioner William W. Francis is the Territorial Commander of The Salvation Army Canada and Bermuda Territory. His wife, Commissioner Marilyn Francis, is the Territorial President for Women’s Ministries. Commissioners Francis have two adult children, Captain William Marshall and Susan Marjorie, plus six grandchildren.