Have you ever been around someone who just radiated the joy of the Spirit?
A young Filippino missionary, Ivan Villar, and his wife, Hannah, who presented their ministry to our church on Sunday night, were both like that. Joyful, humble, wise, funny, and sweet, they “brought us to church” with their sincere and beautiful singing and testimonies at the beginning of their presentation.
The service could have ended there for me, inspiring as it was. But Villar also preached a brief message, which he promised would be short, because, as he said, he didn’t have “very much English.”
But what he managed to say in a few minutes was a simple, powerful reminder of the importance of prayer in a church. Not prayer in church, but prayer performed by the body of believers when outside the building itself.
Prayer, Villar said, is the backbone of the church. Without praying members, a church simply cannot stand.
I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour. – 1 Timothy 2:1-3
As an example of an effective prayer, he gave the example of Hannah’s prayer in 1 Samuel chapter one.
First, she poured out her heart even when others misunderstood her.
Now Hannah, she spake in her heart; only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard: therefore Eli thought she had been drunken. – 1 Samuel 1:13
Second, she prayed with humility, referring to herself as the servant of the Lord, and acknowledging that she couldn’t do anything without him.
And she vowed a vow, and said, O Lord of hosts, if thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of thine handmaid, and remember me, and not forget thine handmaid… 1 Samuel 1:11a
Third, she prayed with a promise to God, giving him a reason to answer her prayer.
…but wilt give unto thine handmaid a man child, then I will give him unto the Lord all the days of his life, and there shall no razor come upon his head. – 1 Samuel 1:11b
Direct and deeply felt, Hannah’s prayer is a worthy example to follow. The Lord must have thought so as well, as he answered her prayer with a resounding “yes!”
As you may recall, Hannah became the mother of the great prophet of Israel, Samuel.
Whose prayers inspire you? As always, I would love to hear from you!