There is probably nowhere else that I have been that I have seen the power of prayer so dramatically and consistently displayed than at the First Evangelical Free Church of Los Angeles. I believe a big reason for this is that because we are a body of believers that have very few material resources we are forced to rely on the much more powerful and eternal spiritual resources that God provides. In short, ministering in the inner city coerces one into living by faith. Here you must live it or loose it. When faced with the tsunami of sin that washes away many inner city ministries, impoverished churches cannot throw money at spiritual dams to redirect and avoid problems. Three options are available to the inner city Christian. Run (which I have done from time to time), get swept away with the tide (I must admit to this one as well), or let himself be bound to the Rock that is Christ and face the full brunt of the storm in the strength of the Lord (thank You Lord for these times). I believe that this is a large part of the reason that prayer is one of our church's most powerful ministries. Our prayers are desperate. They are the first and last and only means of survival.
A very recent example of God's gracious response to the prayers of our church was seen in an incedent where a very large amount of money was needed for some neccessary repairs to the church building's plumbing (I've been in bathrooms in Africa that smell way better than ours). However, not as much money as expected came in for the project and the night before the payment was due, we were still short about 20,000 dollars. Our church once again went to our knees. Throughout that night, church members came to the church to give the money that the Lord had put on their heart to give. Now mind you, very few members of our church have money to spare yet by 10 the next morning the money that was needed for the project to go forward had come in!
Now I know that just because we pray for something doesnt mean we will get it and God could have easily said "No" to our request for money. And that would be fine. Our prayers must be founded on a correct view of who God is and who He has made us to be, as well as directed by the Holy Spirit. I believe that God has used this forceful answer of "Yes" to unite our local body even more as we seek to restore and renew our passion for Him.
By His grace, for His glory