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12-10-14 It All Begins With Prayer!
by Pastor Jerry Pinzon
|A group that went forward to accept the Sabbath.|
Was I ever! Just the day prior my elder, Kenneth Lane, and I took the time to evaluate the situation at the Gallup All Nations Seventh-day Adventist Church. We had lost three of our most solid couples within the first six months of the year and one last couple was also making plans to leave. Some moved due to retirement, others to career changes and the last couple would soon leave to work full-time in an Adventist mission field in Papua New Guinea. Within months our already small congregation was significantly reduced.
That afternoon my elder and I encouraged each other, and discussed our plans for doing a small evangelistic campaign in October. We decided to leave everything in the Lord’s hands and finally we knelt down and prayed. The very next day I received the wonderful text message; “The Southwestern Union Conference is willing to help.”
Our plans to hold a small evangelistic effort quickly turn into a great event, with a major mail-out that reached the entire population of Gallup NM, and all the surrounding areas as far away as 60 miles around the town and into the Navajo reservation. The Southwestern Union provided the services of experienced evangelist Scott Hakes, and with a combined fund from the Union and the Texico Conference we were ready to have a full-scale evangelistic campaign.
Our main goal was outreach to the Native American population surrounding the Gallup All Nations Church. The Gallup church is strategically located between the largest Native American Reservation in the United States, and the city of Gallup. Where the church is located is the only hub for services and commerce for at least 100 miles around the reservation. The city itself, with a population of 21,000, is home to almost 8,000 Native Americans. These statistics are also reflected in our church membership where more than 50% of our members are Navajo Natives.
Rather than just giving a report concerning our meetings I want to also reflect on the power of prayer. The Lord moved in such a powerful way here in Gallup that all we can do is worship His Holy name and recognize His Holy Spirit for moving ahead of our prayers. Ever since the Lord called me into ministry I have faced several challenges that have led me to bow the knee continually.
Very quickly after leaving my military career to go into ministry, I realized that everything begins with prayer. The Bible clearly presents this often-neglected principle. Jesus shares the secret of victory when He tells us to "Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.” Matthew 26:41 Paul bids us to “pray without ceasing” 1 Thessalonians 5:17. The apostle also takes the concept of prayer in Ephesians 6 and expands its significance in the context of the Great Controversy. He presents to us the method through which God turns a simple human into a true warrior; a prayer warrior.
Paul tells us in his letter to the Ephesians: “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. . . .For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; And for me, that utterance may be given unto me. . .” Ephesians 6:10-20 In this passage the Apostle presents to us the source of true power in Whom we can be strong, then he presents to us the reality of the conflict which is of a spiritual nature and for what we have no strength or power of our own, then he presses the need for us to take the whole armor, and finally he describes the course of action once the armor is taken on.
I believe many of us have overlooked this course of action laid out by Paul. The apostle is clearly implying that once you are wearing the armor, you pray! Let us apply Paul’s analogy to a real life scenario: what takes place once the soldier is armored and ready for battle? War! The apostle is telling me and you that once you put on the armor of Christ you are ready for battle, you are ready for war, you are ready to fight. In this way, prayer is the war itself.
Many a Christian who have taken the armor of Christ are fighting their own battles using their own means, not realizing that battle takes place on our knees. We believe that we must do something and that just praying equals doing nothing, when in reality prayer is everything! It all begins with prayer. If you are not praying, according to Paul you are not fighting thus you are losing the fight already. According to Jesus if you are not watching and praying you are fallen into temptation already. Now when we hear Paul tell us “pray without ceasing,” we understand that his invitation is for us to fight continuously and achieve victory on our knees. I know that remaining on our knees 24/7 is not a realistic scenario and the Bible is clear when it comes to prayer, that it can be done continuously and in whatever situation you may find yourself. David prayed while laying down on his bed, Nehemiah standing before the king in the court, many others bowed to the ground and worshipped and Enoch walked with the Lord. The invitation is for us to walk in constant communion and in a prayerful attitude before the Lord. Our lives ought to be a constant prayer in every way.
It all begins with prayer! Today is October 3, 2014. Just last Sabbath, I had one of the most wonderful days of my life. Our meetings in Gallup began and ended as an answer to prayer, and not just mine and my elder’s prayer, but everyone’s prayers that have been lifted up concerning the work in Gallup. The Spirit of the Lord moved so powerfully last Sabbath it would have made a believer out of any skeptic who witnessed what took place.
Every single thing I asked the Lord, He gave it and more. This past Sabbath we baptized 20 souls into Christ and His kingdom, most of them Native American Navajos and there are few more who have expressed interest. We literally fought against the Devil this whole month. We fought on our knees and the Lord gave us a tremendous victory. We live in a place that is surrounded by souls who do not believe in Christ and whose religion is centered in spiritualism. Here in Gallup Ephesians 6:11 takes a whole new meaning, but we know that all begins with prayer.
I am willing to fight the fight on my knees, and I want to invite you to do the same. The testimonies from these meetings are very powerful and I would like to write another article specifically to share them. Today I worship the name of my Lord Jesus Christ for everything He has done in Gallup New Mexico! I pray this weekend will just be the beginning of a work that will change the course of our ministry in this area forever.