Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years.
~ James 5:17 (NIV)
Rev. Dr. David Cho who pastors the largest church in the world—a cell group based church—is also very strong on the significance of prayer. As a pastor of a growing Korean church, he felt he could not pray less than five hours a day.
He distinguishes between the type of prayer we usually think of—fellowship prayer—and what he calls “task” prayer. Both are important forms of prayer but task prayer is terrific labor and takes much energy. It is closest to intercessory prayer and is usually very focused prayer about an intense need.
Here are the characteristics of “task” prayer:
1. Have a clear goal – be very focused
2. Use simple words
3. Mobilize all the emotion in your heart
4. Be persistent (Luke 18:1-8)
Believers in China are very much involved in this type of prayer. Here is one description of believers who had gathered for a special meeting in a cave twenty-five feet below ground level. After a three-hour message:
They prayed with tears running down from their eyes, and the stream of tears intermingled with their ‘noserun,’ dripping down like transparent noodles, which they ignored. For their hearts were so turned to the face of Christ that they became totally oblivious of their own unkempt state. One sister prayed for over 45 minutes standing, pleading with the Lord to release her fellow-evangelist and her fiancé from prison. He had fasted for many days and refused to divulge any information on the churches’ evangelistic activity.
RESPONSE: When I have an intense need, I will practice task prayer.
PRAYER: Lord, help me to have the faith, persistence and emotion of Elijah when I pray.
1. Ross Paterson, Heart Cry For China (Chichester, UK: Sovereign World, 1989), p.190.
Standing Strong Through The Storm (SSTS), a daily devotional message by SSTS author Paul Estabrooks. © 2011 Open Doors International. Used by permission.