Enjoyable prayer and abiding in Christ go together. You can’t have one without the other. It is in that vital union with Christ that our prayers will go forth with power, and our feet will begin to carry the Gospel message with us wherever we go. We have not seen this yet in most countries, but we soon will, because we won’t be able to contain the truth within us any longer. The Good New is just too good! It will bring abundant fruit.
But can we actually begin to enjoy prayer? Prayer does not have to be hard and laborious—it can become something we love doing. We can delight in an intimate relationship with God.
What does it mean to enjoy something? Webster’s Dictionary describes the word “enjoy” as: “something capable of being enjoyed, possessed or used with pleasure, to take pleasure or satisfaction in the experience of, to have, hold or occupy as a good or profitable thing, and to delight in the possession of.” You and I have the privilege of experiencing God in the prayer room. He is capable of being enjoyed. He is truly our satisfaction—He wants us to enjoy prayer and an intimate relationship.
The primary identity of the Church before Jesus returns to earth will be a cherished Bride who has a revelation of Jesus as the passionate Bridegroom. Only enjoyable prayer will sustain us as we enter into day and night prayer. Mike Bickle, who has been involved in non-stop, day and night prayer for many years, says the following:
“The power to engage in night and day prayer is found in having a heart that soars in God.”
Evangelism and joyful intercession stimulate one another. Evangelistic success brings joy to the prayer room; lack of success brings urgency and burden to the prayer room. Either way, our prayers are fired up because we are touching the world that Jesus loves so deeply. And all of this leads to worldwide harvest and missions. We begin to really understand God’s heart. Empowerment comes in the marketplace as we go out of the prayer room, and empowerment comes into the prayer room as we come back. They go together. Jesus wants to fill us with overflowing joy in the prayer room so that we can take it out into the streets and neighborhoods where we live.
Here at IHOP we have an inner-city ministry called Hope City. Prayer meetings are held at the Hope City prayer room from 8:00 A.M. to 10:00 P.M. from Monday through Friday. Lunch is served at noon. The prayer room is open to all. Hope City is like a “church on the streets” with two weekly services at night. The services focus on knowing and loving God, developing a relationship with Him, and the end times. Dinner is served after the services. On Monday afternoons healing ministry is available. Through enjoyable prayer and outreach to the poor and needy many lives are dramatically changed.
Prayer together with action brings transformation into the city one person at a time. The following are testimonies from those who have been touched in the inner city through Hope City:
- Butch (40 years old) – “About three years ago I jumped down some stairs while I was under the influence of drugs, and I hit a concrete wall head first; I was in a coma for four months. I woke up at St. Luke’s Hospital. I lost some of my brain function and was moved into a nursing home where I live now. I’ve been coming to Hope City’s ministry center for about a year. I gave my life to Jesus on the first night.”
- Kris (20 years old) – “I was homeless, without any family, and living under some stairs when it was zero degrees Fahrenheit outside. Hope City gave me a sleeping bag and some food, then I began attending the prayer meetings. Since then, I have seen the changes Jesus makes in people’s lives and I gave my life to Him. I have to go to rehab for a while, but Hope City continues to be my visiting family, and I can’t wait to get back there and help!”
- Connie (48 years old) – “I’ve lived over twenty years on the streets as a drug dealer and a drug user. I’ve always wanted God but could never encounter Him in a way that set me free from my issues. I am now glad to say that I am free from some of the things that have had a hold on me. I consider myself a vital part of Hope City’s ministry.”
- Barbara (54 years old) – “My friend Randy invited me to a ‘church deal’ dinner on Monday night. I liked the surroundings and I liked the people; I have been coming three times a week for about a year. I am a Jewish woman who didn’t realize I needed a savior. I prayed to receive Jesus in my heart about two months ago. I like reading my Bible during the prayer time.”
There are other testimonies, but this should bring great encouragement as to what God can do when our Houses of Prayer lead to heartfelt action that brings forth fruitfulness. Individuals working with Hope City learn how to minister in the city by leading in the prayer room, serving in the soup kitchen, participating in the food distribution project, and ministering to gang members, drug addicts, and the homeless. They focus on a lifestyle of prayer and develop skills they need to minister in the inner city.
By Debbie Przybylski
Intercessors Arise International