Power Of Prayer In The Congregation
What follows are some incredible excerpts
from Pastor Jim Cymbala's book Fresh Wind, Fresh
Fire. This book should be ordered and read in its
entirety to see just how Pastor Cymbala applied these
powerful principles of local church evangelism through
the power of answered prevailing prayer and the Holy
Spirit. You can order this book online from either:
In 1972, the Brooklyn Tabernacle's spark
was almost out. Then the Holy Spirit lit a fire that
couldn't be quenched. Here are some short excerpts from
pastor Jim Cymbala's incredible story about evangelism
in action, taken from his book "FRESH WIND, FRESH FIRE".
This book is a must for any individual, pastor or church
congregation who earnestly desire to know the true secret
of evangelizing and Christian church growth.
pp. 57-58, "Trouble is one of God's great servants because
it reminds us how much we continually need the Lord."
p. 58, "Prayer begets Revival, which begets more prayer."
p. 59, "The reason "other churches" don't grow: "Jim,
the truth is, I couldnt have a real prayer meeting
in my church. I'd be embarrassed at the smallness of
p.66, "Persistent calling upon the name of the Lord
breaks through every stronghold of the devil, for nothing
is impossible with God. For Christians in these troubled
times there is simply no other way."
p. 69, For all of us involved in preaching the gospel,
performing music, publishing Christian materials, and
all the rest, there is an uncomfortable message here:
Jesus is not terribly impressed with religious commercialism
(Mark 11:15-18). p. 70, I am dismayed by the contracts
required by some contemporary musical groups. To perform
a concert at your church, the stated fee will be so
much (in either four or five figures) plus round trip
airfare--often first class, not coach. Every detail
of the accommodations is spelled out, down to "sushi
for twenty persons" waiting at the hotel, in one case.
All this is done so that the group can stand before
an inner-city audience and exhort the people to "just
trust the Lord for all your needs."
century money changers were in the temple, but they
didn't have the spirit of the temple
out of sync with the whole purpose of the Lord's house.
"The atmosphere of my Father's house," Jesus seemed
to say, "is to be prayer. The aroma around my Father
must be that of people opening their hearts in worship
and supplication. This is not a place to make a buck.
This is a house for calling on the Lord."
p. 71, "The feature that's supposed to distinguish Christian
Churches, Christian gatherings is the aroma of prayer
the Bible ever say anywhere from Genesis to Revelation
"My house shall be called a house of preaching?" Does
it ever say, "My house shall be called a house of music?"
Of course not. The Bible does say, "My house shall be
called a house of prayer for all nations." Preaching,
music, the reading of the Word--these things are fine--but
they must never override prayer as the defining mark
of God's dwelling.
p. 72, "What does it say about our churches today that
God birthed the church in a prayer meeting, and prayer
meetings today are almost extinct?"
Secret of Grace"
pp. 80-81, "Paul outlines in Romans 10:13-15
a chain of events that describes New Testament salvation:
"Every one who calls on the name of the Lord will be
saved. How then, can they call on the one they have
not believed in? And how can they believe in the one
whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without
someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless
they are sent?" Churches often refer to this passage
in connection with overseas missionary work. "We need
to give a good offering today in order to send out preachers"
they say--which is true. But that is just the beginning
of Paul's sequence. Sending leads to preaching. Preaching
leads to hearing, hearing leads to believing [faith],
[and] believing [faith] leads to calling on the name
of the Lord." Notice that believing is not the climax
is one more step for demonstrating a real and living
faith, and that is calling out to God with all of one's
heart and soul. The clearest instructions about Church
life come in the Pastoral Letters where Paul tells young
pastors such as Timothy
"I urge then, first of
all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving
be made for everyone
In the same chapter (vs. 8)
Paul says, "I want men everywhere to lift up holy hands
in prayer, without anger or disputing." That is a sign
of the Christian Church.
p. 83, "Over the last 30 years more books have been
written about marriage than in all the preceding 2,000
years of church history. But ask any pastor in America
if there aren't proportionally more troubled marriages
today than in any other era. We have the how-to's, but
homes are still falling apart. The couple that
prays together stays together. I don't mean
to be simplistic; there will be difficult moments in
any union, but God's Word is true when it says, "Call
upon me, and I will help you. Just give me a chance."
The same holds true for parenting
Again J.B. Phillips points out a great insight:
"The Holy Spirit has a way of short-circuiting human
problems. Indeed, in exactly the same way as Jesus Christ
in the flesh cut right through the matted layers of
tradition and exposed the real issue;
so we find
here [in Acts] the Spirit of Jesus dealing not so much
with problems as with people. Many problems comparable
to modern complexities never arise here because the
men and women concerned were of one heart and mind in
Since God's Holy Spirit cannot conceivably
have changed one iota through the centuries,
is perfectly prepared to short-circuit, by an inflow
of love, wisdom and understanding, many human problems
p. 86, "God says to us, "Pray, because I have all kinds
of things for you; and when you ask, you will receive.
I have all this grace, and you live with scarcity. Come
unto me, all you who labor. Why are you so rushed? Where
are you running now? Everything you need, I have."
If the times are indeed as bad as we say they are
the darkness in our world is growing heavier by the
if we are facing spiritual battles right
in our own homes and churches
then we are foolish
not to turn to the One who supplies unlimited grace
and power. He is our only source. We are crazy to ignore
p. 97, "The key in not money; organization, cleverness,
or education. Are you and I seeing the results Peter
saw? Are we bringing thousands of men and women to Christ
the way he did? [pastor Cymbala can rightfully ask these
questions.] If not, we need to get back to His power
p. 103, "When we get serious about drawing on God's
power, remarkable things will happen." Acts 4:1-3, 4-14,18,21-31.
"The priests and the captain of the temple guard and
the Sadducees came up to Peter and John while they were
speaking to the people. They were greatly disturbed
because the apostles were teaching the people and proclaiming
in Jesus the resurrection of the dead. They seized Peter
and John, and because it was evening, they put them
in jail until the next day. But many who heard the message
believed, and the number of men grew to about five thousand.
The next day the rulers, elders and teachers of the
law met in Jerusalem. Annas the high priest was there,
and so were Caiaphas, John, Alexander and the other
men of the high priest's family. They had brought Peter
and John before them: 'By what power or what name did
you do this?' Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit,
said to them: 'Rulers and elders of the people! If we
are being called to account today for an act of kindness
shown to a cripple [Acts 3] and are asked how he was
healed, then know this, you and all the people of Israel:
It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom
you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that
this man stands before you healed. He is 'the stone
you builders rejected, which has become the capstone.'
Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other
name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.'
When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized
that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished
and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.
But since they could see the man who had been healed
standing there with them, there was nothing they could
Then they called them in again and commanded
them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus
further threats they let them go. They could not decide
how to punish them, because all the people were praising
God for what had happened. For the man who was miraculously
healed was over forty years old.
On their release, Peter and John went back to their
own people and reported all that the chief priests and
elders had said to them. When the people heard this
they raised their voices together in prayer to God.
'Sovereign Lord,' they said, 'you made the heaven and
the earth and the sea, and everything in them. You spoke
by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of your servant,
our father David: 'Why do the nations rage and the peoples
plot in vain? The kings of the earth take their stand
and the rulers gather together against the Lord and
against his Anointed One.' Indeed Herod and Pontius
Pilate met together with the Gentiles and the people
of Israel in this city to conspire against your holy
servant Jesus, whom you anointed. They did what your
power and will had decided beforehand should happen.
Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable
your servants to speak your word with great boldness.
Stretch out your hand to heal and perform miraculous
signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant
Jesus.' After they had prayed, the place where
they were meeting was shaken. And they were filled with
the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly."
What you just read was an early Christian prayer
meeting, held to meet a governmental threat head-on--David
and Goliath style.
p. 105, The prayer of the early believers recorded in
Acts 4 highlights three fundamentals from which we are
in danger of sliding away:  "Enable your servants
to speak your word
 with great boldness
Stretch out your hand to heal and perform miraculous
signs and wonders" (vv. 29-30)."
p. 112, "The trouble with man-made novelties is that
they don't produce the impressive results that are often
p. 113, "There is no better example of God's moving
mightily in a city than the account told in Acts 11:20-21,
men from Cyprus and Cyrene, went to Antioch and
began to speak to Greeks
telling them the good
news about the Lord Jesus. The Lord's hand was with
them, and a great number of people believed and turned
to the Lord." Such a harvest occurred that Barnabas
was dispatched from Jerusalem to check things out. "When
he arrived and saw the evidence of the grace of God,
he was glad
And a great number of people were brought
to the Lord" (vv. 23-24). Who were these men who launched
such a mighty church
? We don't know their names.
We don't know their methodology
whether they were
pre-millennial or postmillennial or amillennial. But
we do know a couple of things: They spread "the Good
News about the Lord Jesus," and "the Lord's hand was
with them" (vv. 20-21)."
p. 115, "Let's forget the novelties. If we prevail
in prayer, God will do only what he can do.
How he does things, when he does them, and in what manner
are up to him. The name of Jesus, the power of his blood,
and the prayer of faith have never lost their power
over the centuries."
p. 121, "When I ask fellow pastors the same question,
I get the same answer--plus two others: "Membership
is at five-fifty, we've just finished a new education
wing, and our gross income this year will top out at
$400,000." Attendance, Buildings, and Cash, A-B-C. The
new holy trinity."
p. 122, "No church, including the one I pastor, should
be measured by its attendance."
pp. 122-123, "Then what kind of spiritual things DO
matter in a book-of-Acts church? The apostles' prayer
in Acts 4 provides our next benchmark:  "Enable your
servants to speak your word with great boldness"
(v. 29). What the disciples wanted was not numbers but
an essential quality that would keep them BEING the
church God intended. Boldness can only be imparted by
the Holy Spirit."
p. 124, "The apostles realized that without a bold aggressive
attitude in proclaiming God's Word, they would not build
the church Jesus intended, the apostles weren't trying
to finesse people. They had not the faintest intention
of asking, "What do people want to hear? How can we
draw people to church on Sunday?"
The Bible does
not say we should aim at numbers but rather urges us
faithfully to proclaim God's message in the boldness
of the Holy Spirit. This will build God's church God's
p. 125, "God nowhere asks anyone to have a large church.
He only calls us to do his work, proclaiming his Word
to people he loves under anointing power of the Holy
Spirit to produce results that only he can bring about."
p. 135, ""There will come a day, Paul says, when all
our work will be shown for what it is, because the Day
will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire,
and the fire will test the quality of each man's work"
(I Cor. 3:13). The gold, silver, and precious stones
will endure while the wood, hay, and straw will go up
in smoke. Paul doesn't say that the QUANTITY will be
tested. He says nothing about attendance totals. Everything
will focus on QUALITY
"What's the difference between
these materials, besides the obvious--that one group
is fireproof while the other isn't?" Wood, hay, straw
But if you want gold, silver, and
costly stones, you have to "dig" for them. They're not
just lying around everywhere. You have to go deep into
the earth. To me, these words are profound. Spiritual
"construction" that uses wood, hay and straw comes easy--little
work, little seeking, no travail, no birthing. You just
slap it up and it will look adequate--for awhile. But
if you want to build something that will endure on Judgment
Day, the work is much more costly."
p. 138, [Part III of the Acts 4 formula], "BEYOND HEAD
KNOWLEDGE: The absent element is what is expressed in
the final sentence of the prayer recorded in Acts 4:
 "Stretch out your hand to heal and perform miraculous
signs and wonders.""
p. 139, "In too many churches today, people don't see
manifestations of God's power in answer to fervent praying.
Instead, they hear arguments about theological issues
that few people care about."
p. 140, "People pay attention when they see that God
actually changes persons and sets them free. When a
new Christian stands up and tells how God has revolutionized
his or her life, no one dozes off. When someone is healed
or released from a life-controlling bondage, everyone
takes notice. William Law, an English devotional writer
of the early 1700's wrote, "Read whatever chapter of
Scripture you will, and be ever so delighted with it--yet
it will leave you as poor, as empty and unchanged as
it found you unless it has turned you wholly and solely
to the Spirit of God, and brought you into full union
with and dependence upon Him."
One way to recognize whether we suffer from this disconnection
is to look at our concern for people who are dirty
who are "other"
people who don't fit the core group's
image. The ravages of sin are not pleasant--but they
are what Jesus came to forgive and heal. "The Son of
Man came to seek and to save what was lost" (Luke 19:10).
Yet Christians often hesitate to reach out to those
who are different. They want God to clean the fish before
they catch them."