So what does prayer that transforms congregations and communities look like? Fervency is one of the keys. Fervent praying is intense praying. It’s not the ritualistic, formulaic prayers for which Jesus condemned the Pharisees. Fervent prayer acknowledges the utter dependence that we have on God. Jesus said, ‘I am the vine, you are the branches. Apart from me you can do nothing.’ It is an attitude of utter humility.
Only as believers experience a deep sense of the utter hopelessness of their situation—a place to which many of us in our great cities have come—will we cry out to God as our only hope. When we come to that place, our prayers will take on a fervency that has long been missing.
The country of Uganda was once infamously overridden with suffering, disease and mass executions from brutal dictatorships. The nation was so corrupted by evil that thousands died each year, just for praying! Out of this place of devastation, the pastors in Uganda started praying together and seeking God’s will for their country, and God responded in miraculous ways. He wiped out the dictatorship, ended mass killings, and removed the dark cloud of fear that permeated every aspect of their lives. He replaced it with Christian leaders who implemented Biblical principles into every level of our society.
Though the implementation will vary from place to place, it is this kind of fervent, united prayer that will provide the foundation for the transformation of our city.