Advance means to “move forward, typically in a purposeful way.” This is a great descriptive term for the life of a follower of Jesus Christ. The Apostle Paul put it this way under the Holy Spirit’s inspiration, “Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:12-14).
One area of greatly needed advancement in believer’s lives today is in the blessed privilege of prayer. R.A. Torrey said, “Oh, how easily most of us take our praying, how little heart we put into it, and how little it takes out of us, and how little it counts with God.” The older I get in age and in the faith, I see the necessity of prayer, and not the kind of prayer mentioned by Torrey, but passionate, believing, faith-filled, scripture-saturated, God-sized (BIG-requests), transparent, honest, pleading, crying out, intentional, with all your heart prayer.
That’s one of the many reasons I love these prayer events called Prayer Advance because it helps you do exactly what it is called. You are so challenged to move forward in a purposeful way in what should come before any decision, action, or plan in all of your daily walk with Christ in every area of your life. You are taught how to pray; how to spend an hour in prayer; how to deal with issues of the heart that hinder prayer; how to pray corporately; how to bear other’s burdens in prayer; how to be engaged in that which Satan hates—-a believer living in Matthew 6:5-7 and Hebrews 4:14-16.
And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words.
Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Robert Murray M’Cheyne, a Scottish preacher passionate about prayer said, “I ought to spend the best hours of the day in communion with God. It is my noblest and most fruitful employment, and it is not to be thrust into any corner.”
Before Christ advanced to the cross, He prayed (Matthew 26:36-46). Before you advance, pray . . . really pray.