This was an excerpt from an article written by Rev. Martyn Ballestero Sr.
Bro. Ballestero preached for us last night and is preaching for us this weekend.
This is pretty long, but well worth the time. Unfortunately the message is true. As a church and as children of God, we must bring back old time prayer. We are moving in the wrong direction. In the world we live in, we should be moving toward God and trying to get as close as possible to Him, instead, we are filling our lives with everything else. No wonder we have such empty lives and live so far below what God intended. God help me, I know my prayer life isn't where it should be, help me to desire more time with you in prayer.
Bring back Old Time Prayer!!
Intercessory Prayer, We Miss You!
This is just a line to let you know how things are since you’ve gone. It’s not the same without you, nor will it ever be. Although our lives seem shallow and empty when you’re not here, we’ve learned to make up for you in other ways. We’ve learned to live without you.
We now run the aisles, leap for joy, jig to the music, sing catchy choruses, and tap our feet in time to the rhythm of the drums. We use sticks, banners, black lights and our sign teams do a tremendous job acting out recorded music. We’ve learned to worship without you.
The prayer rooms are mostly silent now. Those that do go there, for the most part, come away dry-eyed. A lot of praying now is chanting and singsong style. That’s how we know we’re in the groove. We pray memorized phrases that come automatically. We love what we call Prayer Walks. Most of us don’t even close our eyes anymore during prayer. We just walk and pray while we look around. We pray because it is required.
No one prays till they break through anymore. We just pray till our ten minutes are up...
Oh sure, we still believe in prayer, as such. But not very many of us are anxious for you to come back. (You were always the polite type, you know, never forcing yourself on anyone. You never came uninvited. You only left because you were ignored.)
The sad truth is you’re not really needed anymore. You see, most of us have hospitalization insurance now. (It sure takes away that old desperate feeling we use to have.) So now, there’s no need to pray more than the few minutes it takes to drive to the Emergency Room. Also, we don’t have to ask for our daily bread like we used to. We now have better jobs with good benefits and government programs to fall back on...
We are having revivals now without you. It’s not hard. The pastor fasts and prays, along with a couple others. The evangelist preaches mostly just to sinners now. Most of us try to get to church in time for the first song or two. We justify the fact that the number of new converts is down. Yes, there seems to be diminished conviction, less lasting victory, fewer miracles and many young people are backsliding. We agree, however, that it’s not us that are at fault here; it’s just the times we’re living in. It’s like this everywhere.
As your friend, I’m writing this to you, knowing how much it must hurt you to have folks say they miss you… and yet in their material and intellectual progress, they’ve weaned themselves away from the haunting memory of you.
What hurts, I know, is that we were children you personally raised. You were always there when we needed you. (But now… we don’t.) You taught us about faith. You taught us about miracles. You taught us about a move of God. You taught us about revival. You taught us about how to touch God. Thank you for that, but you see, this is a new day and we are trying to go to the next level. Our services are structured differently now.
Do you know… can you believe, that now when you are ever mentioned in church, everyone gets real quite? They all feel guilty I’m sure. It’s like they experience a momentary twinge of guilt while they consider their part in your disappearance. Once in awhile some even get misty eyed when we talk about the old times you shared with us. But all that feeling vanishes along with the pizza right after church.
No, Intercessory Prayer, your coming back really wouldn’t work right now. We’re too blessed. We’re doing too well. We’re comfortable. In your day, you served your purpose, but the sentiment of most today is that we can manage OK without you now. We’ve got better clothes, cars, homes and prettier and bigger churches than ever...
You would be proud of our church buildings. Carpet on the floors, there are pews now instead of benches and they are padded too, besides. The arched beam are beautiful, we also have the loveliest of imported chandeliers. Our pastor has polish too. He doesn’t preach long. We are more concerned about sermon length now, than content. Our pastor spices up his sermons with cute sayings… but I guess that’s progress for you. “Win some, lose some.”
Speaking of “lose some”, we’re losing a surprising percentage of our young people. An unbelievable number of marriages have gone on the rocks. Many lives have been in jeopardy. But that’s to be expected I guess. Teenagers seem to be at war with their parents and want to dress more and more like the kids at the public school. Our youth meetings may not have much in the way of prayer, but we have great icebreakers, skits and games.
We have plenty of medicines nowadays to help our aches and pains. What more could we ask for? Sure we miss you, but I guess we really don’t NEED you right now.
I hope you’re not offended. I don’t mean for you to be. You’ll always have a special place in my memory. You were very kind and generous to me. You sure got me out of some hard times. I can’t thank you enough!
Still, this is a generation now that doesn’t know you at all. Your coming would probably scare them...
A good many never got to know you well. And most never knew you at all. Those that knew you personally have waited so long to talk to you that they are now, to say the least, embarrassed.
So while we are trying to work out our feelings about you, and see where you might fit into our plans in the future, you might try your luck someplace else. Try Brazil, Ethiopia, or how about the Philippines? You might have better luck in Third World Countries, or behind the iron Curtain. You might even luck out and find someone to talk to you in some little storefront on the other side of the tacks. Surely someone somewhere needs you.
We’re terribly sorry, Intercessory Prayer, we miss you, but we really don’t NEED you… right now!
(excerpted from a piece written by Reverend Martyn Ballestero, Sr.)