As I’ve traveled around the world proclaiming the gospel, the most common feeling that I’ve had is one of inadequacy. I often feel that the task given to me is overwhelming. But it’s that same feeling which drives me to seek God’s face. His strength is always perfected in our weaknesses (2 Cor. 12:9 NIV). Roy Hession, a great missionary who was mightily used of God, said that people often have the wrong idea of what revival is. “They think that it’s the top blowing off,” he said. “But in reality, it’s the bottom falling out. When the bottom falls out, we only have one place to look – up!”
I had the greatest opportunity for evangelism that I had ever known in my ministry in 1999, and it caused me to look up – to seek God’s face. I traveled to Ethiopia for an evangelistic meeting in Addis Ababa, the capital city. I preached to the largest crowds I’ve ever spoken to. Approximately 300,000 people heard me speak in four days.
I woke up the morning of the third day of the evangelistic meetings to discover that my voice was completely gone. The bottom had fallen out. I was shattered. I was scheduled to speak to 75,000 people that afternoon. And I could hardly utter a word. I cried unto the Lord, “Why have you allowed this to happen? I thought that You called me to this work. You’ve given me a race to run, and I want to run it like a champion. But now I can’t even run in the race.”
I’ll never forget what I heard in my heart that day. God’s Spirit seemed to be saying, “In My kingdom, this is how a champion runs. It’s not by your abilities. Not your oratory skills. Not your power. You must run the race in My power.”
I asked God to forgive me. “Help me, oh God,” I said, “to always run in Your power and not my own.” I went to the stadium that afternoon and barely eeked out my message. Yet, thousands came to Christ. It was a wonderful moment in which God taught me an invaluable lesson. God’s power doesn’t come through our abilities and skills. It doesn’t come from our great efforts and works. It only comes through prayer.
There’s an undeniable link between prayer and the power of God. The men and women whom God has used over the years have been those who’ve learned to build their lives and ministries on the power of prayer. Spurgeon was used of God because of praying men under the pulpit. Moody’s ministry was impacted by a prayer meeting at the YMCA. Whitefield was seen returning from the fields after having prayed all night. God’s instruments have always been bathed in prayer before the Master utilizes them. It’s no different today. Zechariah, the prophet of God, heard the Lord speaking and wrote, “Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit” (Zech. 4:6 NASU). It’s God’s Spirit that releases God’s power. And God’s Spirit falls when God’s people pray.
There’s much talk about God’s power today. But His power is released to the heart that has learned to tarry in His presence. As the old saying goes, “much prayer – much power; little prayer – little power.” Which do you have?