A praying church is a safe church. A church that is serious about interceding for those who belong there is warm, attractive, almost irresistible. It’s interesting to note that the New Testament urges us more frequently to pray for other believers than it does to pray for the lost. The reason for that I think is because a healthy, welcoming church is the tool God most often uses to reach the lost. And also to heal and equip those He wants to commission.
You perhaps have detected, too, that it feels different just to walk into a prayer-saturated church? It’s not easy to define but it’s unmistakable. It’s not like any place else. Let me tell why I think that’s true. It’s because those who make up the membership of that church have decided that criticism is the devil’s substitute for intercessory prayer.
Have you seen the YouTube video, “Battle at Kruger”? It’s an amateur 8-minute video and although it’s hard to watch it has been viewed more than 77 million times. Three water buffalo – a female, a bull, and a calf – approach a watering hole in Kruger Park, South Africa. Four lions pounce on the calf with the intention of making a meal. The male and female buffalo try to rescue the calf but they are no match.
Enter the herd. At least a hundred buffalo hear the commotion and appear on the set. They form a circle around the little buffalo and one at a time the brawny males charge the four lions. You can watch the melee as a bull hooks a lion with its horns and throws it ten feet in the air. The other three are still attacking the calf till a second bull gores a second lion and chases him off. The herd tramples a third.
Finally the calf twists away from the lions and runs to the protection of the herd. Some of the largest bulls attack together and send the pride of lions scrambling into the bush. The calf walks away with hardly a limp.
The parallel is too obvious to need comment. A bit like a story I heard long ago from World War II. A battalion of GIs was notoriously irascible and constantly fighting each other. Then they were sent into battle in Europe. Suddenly they became each other’s guardian. Any one of them would give his life for any other. They discovered that when they faced a common enemy and shared a common cause they became a band of brothers. Sort of like God’s church.