The story has been told about a young man in Bible school who offered to help David Wilkerson minister on the streets of New York City. Wilkerson asked him how much time he spent in prayer. The young student estimated about 20 minutes a day.
“Go back, young man,” Wilkerson quickly replied. “Go back for a month and pray two hours a day, every day for 30 days. When you’ve done that, come back. Come back, and I might consider turning you loose on the streets where there is murder, rape, violence, and danger. If I sent you out now on 20 minutes a day, I’d be sending a soldier into battle without any weapons, and you would probably be killed.”
We get get into heaven without a lot of prayer, and we can even be respected church members. We can have merely a one-minute quiet time every day, and God will still love us. But can we expect to reap a mighty harvest on one-minute conversations with God? Will that kind of prayer enable us to penetrate the hard places where Jesus is not known and worshipped? Will that amount of prayer allow us to influence and impact people whose minds have been blinded by the god of this world? (2 Corinthians 4:4)
Samuel Chadwick gave this warning to Christians who think they can accomplish great things for God without an adequate prayer life: “The one concern of the devil is to keep the saints from praying. He fears nothing from prayerless studies, prayerless work, prayerless religion. He laughs at our toil, he mocks at our wisdom, but he trembles when we pray.”
Does this mean that it is all right to continually sit on our easy chairs, praying for God to take action, while we ourselves are unwilling to take action in obedience to His Word? Of course not. Faith without works is dead. (James 2:26) The proper balance is pointed out by S.D. Gordon: “You can do more than pray after you have prayed, but you cannot do more than pray until you have prayed.”
So what kinds of prayers will successfully result in an expansion of the Kingdom of God? Certainly not “Now I lay me down to sleep” kinds of prayers! Rather, it will take passionate, persistent prayers, as Jesus instructed us: “Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:10)