Rick McDaniel: Here's what happened after I prayed for 12 straight hours

I love the question, "When is the last time you did something for the first time?" What would your answer be? For me it was several weeks ago when I prayed for twelve straight hours from Friday night at 7:00 until Saturday morning at 7:00.

I’ve done some lengthy spiritual practices. I have twice fasted for 20 days drinking only water. I once preached for 15 straight days. I’ve even prayed for hours but never that long.

I did it as the leader of an all-night prayer vigil for my church. Almost 130 people showed up throughout the night to pray for one hour or even longer. I stayed throughout the entire vigil.

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We felt there were issues that needed special prayer attention. We based it on Mark 9:29 where Jesus said, "Some things cannot be done except through prayer." And also, Luke 6:12, "Jesus went out into the hills to pray and spent the night praying to God." We figured if Jesus did it, maybe we should too.

Set aside time to pray. Unburden yourself to God. Tell him what is troubling you. Share with him your needs. Ask him to help those you love. And pray in faith.

The Korean church has been doing this for years. There are churches that have an all-night prayer vigil every week! And the results of their prayers are legendary. The largest church in the world is in Korea, where many amazing miracles have happened as well.

Many people who attended had never prayed for an entire hour. They thought it would be hard to do. But with some direction the prayer time moved right along, and before they knew it, the hour was up.

It was a phenomenal experience. One of the highlights of my spiritual journey with Jesus. I still feel the effects weeks later. I have a marvelous peacefulness. I am not as stressed and I am excited about the future.

And we have already seen answers to some of our prayers. The church has received provision — financially and in the form of summer intern help. We are expecting more answers in the days and weeks to come.

I have seen God work in my life as well. Assistance with my new book coming out this fall, help for family and clear direction on key decisions. It was certainly a challenge praying that long and even staying awake but clearly it was worth it.

We began our time of prayer each hour talking about how to prevail in prayer. To prevail is to ultimately gain victory but it may take time for that to happen. Sometimes we have to pray for longer than a few minutes to see God bring breakthroughs.

Prevailing prayer originates from two areas – desire and fervency. Desire is born out of need, fervency is born out of love. When there is a significant need, we can pray with great hunger. When someone we care about is struggling in some way, our love causes us to pray with great passion.

When you combine hunger and desire with fervency and passion you get prevailing prayers. That kind of prayer will result in answers. You get God’s attention when you pray like that.

Many of us have significant needs in our lives and those we love. We try to solve problems ourselves or figure a way out. But we don’t pray about it. We fail to realize how much God loves us and wants to help us.

One of the simplest but most amazingly ignored scriptures in the Bible is when Jesus says, “You have not because you ask not.” If you don’t ask you can’t receive. How many are suffering, stressed and overwhelmed but have never asked God to help them. Let alone keep praying until they get an answer.

We worry about our loved ones, have anxious thoughts about them but don’t pray for them. The most loving thing you can do for someone is to pray for them. All the time we spend worrying and scheming we could be praying. The difference is huge.

There is simply great power in prayer. Much in life is beyond our control. We do not possess the power necessary to bring change - only God can do it. Through prayer we can look at our circumstances in the light of God’s power instead of the shadow of our problems.

God can do amazing things when we pray. It is a privilege to watch how God works. Prayer reveals the unknown in so many ways. But we miss it if we don’t set aside time to pray regularly and consistently.

Maybe you should consider an extended time of prayer. You’ve tried everything else and nothing has worked. The problem is still there, your anxiety is increasing and you are filled with fear.

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Set aside time to pray. Unburden yourself to God. Tell him what is troubling you. Share with him your needs. Ask him to help those you love. And pray in faith.

Then get ready to see what God does.

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