Christians know that prayer is powerful. It gives us the opportunity to express our gratitude, ask for guidance and seek comfort in difficult times. Not only does it help to bring us closer to God and align ourselves with His will, but it also strengthens our relationship with Him by building trust.
The Australian Prayer Network has been operating for over 30 years, and is one of the largest interdenominational prayer networks in the southern hemisphere. Up to 100,000 people have connected with them, either directly or through churches and local prayer groups.
Brian Pickering leads the Australian Prayer Network, and has trained thousands of people up to advanced levels of prayer. He recently joined us on 20Twenty to talk about how praying can transform our lives and help us in times of change, difficulty and uncertainty.
Covering Australia in Prayer
‘We have a national 24-hour prayer watch,’ says Brian. ‘Thousands of people are a part of that. They commit to praying for one hour a week for our nation. So, we are covering Australia in prayer 24/7.’
Brian believes that a lot of people only pray when they are in desperate need. ‘It’s a last resort to cry out to God for help,’ he says. ‘But prayer is much more than an emergency call. For most people, there are two kinds of prayer. One is the way individuals engage in personally communicating with God. The other is daily devotions.’
For Christians who take prayer more seriously, there is a recognition that this is the way God changes the world. He changes our circumstances through what we call prayer. Brian describes it as a conduit of power that flows from the throne of God into the world.
Seek God’s Heart
‘In that kind of prayer we seek to pray what’s on God’s heart,’ says Brian. ‘Not just sharing what’s on our heart. What are the things He wants us to pray about? We become the conduit between the throne room and the circumstances by praying what is on His heart.’
The world needs all sorts of people, from servants to evangelists. Brian says no one should feel guilty if they aren’t spending hours in prayer every day. ‘Praying is for every Christian. But there are a group of believers who are called to a deeper walk in prayer, and we call them intercessors. They are people who intercede on behalf of others.’
Brian believes one of the reasons there isn’t lot of prayer in our local churches is because of a lack of teaching given on the subject. ‘It’s assumed that people know how to pray,’ he says. ‘It’s assumed that you learn as a child and continue to grow without getting fresh understanding or revelation. There are many people in churches who are lying dormant as a resource and are probably called to a deeper level of prayer. But the opportunity isn’t given to them.’
Called by God to Lead
While church prayer meetings can sometimes be very fulfilling, they also have the potential to become a bit arduous. Unless you know how to conduct a prayer meeting properly, it can quickly fall into everyone just praying their own agenda, instead of seeking the Lord’s desire.
‘The secret to a good prayer meeting begins with leadership,’ says Brian. ‘The leaders of prayer should be people who are called by God to give leadership, and they should spend as much time preparing for that prayer meeting as they expect their pastor to prepare for his Sunday sermon.’
Most people don’t listen to what others are praying, and are often distracted and worried about what they’re going to say when it’s their turn to pray. ‘But if you have a prayer meeting that’s flowing with everyone listening to each other,’ says Brian, ‘by the end of the night you reach your destination.’
‘In a good prayer meeting, there isn’t control. There is releasing, equipping and encouraging.’
Listen to Brian full interview on 20Twenty below: