Today is the day which the Lord has made we will rejoice and be glad in it
I give glory and honor to God almighty for making it possible for me to be here this morning sound in body and spirit to undertake the review of the Book “PRAYING THE PRICE” written by Reverend (Dr.) Ademola Ojo. Let me say that I was surprised when he asked me to review the book at this occasion I wondered why since I am not a Pastor nor a theologian but I know that it was part of the grand design of God that I be here today. I therefore once again give honor and glory to God almighty for keeping faith with me to ensure that I am here today. The challenge of this book review was the fact that along with my busy schedule I had to find time to go through a three hundred and seventy seven page document in one week and it has not been easy. I have had to pray that God Himself will be the author of this review and I did not put pen to paper until I was inspired to do so which was barely 48 hours ago when I had a clear understanding of the direction which the review was to go.
PRAYING THE PRICE
The title of the book struck me as unique and inspirational. I however thought that there was really nothing new under the sun and thus started to do my own research on the antecedents of the title and what I found was amazing which I will share with you before going into the book review itself.
I found an article written by The Rev Dr Stuart Robinson the Senior Pastor at the Blackburn Baptist Church in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. The article gave an historical perspective to praying the price and he traced the history from 1952 when Albert Einstein was asked by a Princeton university doctoral student what was left in the world for original dissertation research? Einstein replied, ‘Find out about prayer’.
English preacher Sidlow Baxter, when he was eighty five years of age, said, ‘I have pastored only three churches in my more than sixty years of ministry. We had revival in every one. And not one of them came as a result of my preaching. They came as a result of the membership entering into a covenant to pray until revival came. And it did come, every time’. Chaplain of the United States Senate, Richard Halverson, advised that we really don’t have any alternatives to prayer. He says, ‘You can organise until you are exhausted. You can plan, program and subsidise all your plans. But if you fail to pray, it is a waste of time. Prayer is not optional. It is mandatory. Not to pray is to disobey God.’ Roy Pointer, after extensive research in Baptist churches in the United Kingdom, arrived at the conclusion that wherever there was positive growth, there was one recurring factor: they were all praying churches.
In the United States of America, at Larry Lea’s Church on the Rock in Rockwall, Texas, numerical growth was from 13 people in 1980 to 11,000 people by 1988. When he was asked about such amazing growth, he said ‘I didn’t start a church I started a prayer meeting’. When David Shibley, the minister responsible for prayer in that church was asked the secret of the church, he said, ‘The evangelistic program of our church is the daily prayer meeting. Every morning, Monday through Friday, we met at 5.00 am to pray. If we see the harvest of conversions fall off for more than a week, we see that as a spiritual red alert and sought the Lord’
In Korea, where the church has grown from almost zero to a projected 50% of the entire population in this century alone, Pastor Paul Yonggi Cho attributes his church’s conversion rate of 12,000 people per month as primarily due to ceaseless prayer. In Korea it is normal for church members to go to bed early so they can arise at 4.00 am to participate in united prayer. It is normal for them to pray all through Friday nights. It is normal to go out to prayer retreats. Cho says that any church might see this sort of phenomenal growth if they are prepared to ‘pray the price,’ to ‘pray and obey.’ Cho was once asked by a local pastor why was it that Cho’s church membership was 750,000 and his was only 3,000 when he was better educated, preached better sermons and even had a foreign wife? Cho inquired, ‘How much do you pray?’ The pastor said, ‘Thirty minutes a day.’ To which Cho replied, ‘There is your answer. I pray from three to five hours per day.’
In America one survey has shown that pastors on average pray 22 minutes per day. In mainline churches, it is less than that. In Japan they pray 44 minutes a day, Korea 90 minutes a day, and China 120 minutes a day. It’s not surprising that the growth rate of churches in those countries is directly proportional to the amount of time pastors are spending in prayer.
The battle which Joshua won, as recorded in Exodus 17:8-13, was not so dependent upon what he and his troops were doing down on the plain. It was directly dependent upon Moses’ prayerful intercession from on top of a nearby hill, with the support of Aaron and Hur.In the Old Testament, not counting the Psalms, there are 77 explicit references to prayer. The pace quickens in the New Testament. There are 94 references alone which relate directly to Jesus and prayer. The apostles picked up this theme and practice. So Paul says, ‘Pray continually, for this is God’s will for you’ (1 Thessalonians 5:16).Peter urges believers to be ‘clear minded and self controlled’ so that they can pray (1 Peter 4:7). James declares that prayer is ‘powerful and effective’ (James 5:16). John assures us that ‘God hears and answers’ (1 John 5:15). In the book of Acts there are 36 references to the church growing. Fifty eight percent (i.e. 21 of those instances) are within the context of prayer. We would all love to see growth in every church in the world like it was at Pentecost and immediately thereafter. The key to what happened there is found in Acts 1:14 when it says: ‘They were all joined together constantly in prayer.
They were all joined together one mind, one purpose, one accord. That is the prerequisite for effectiveness. Then, they were all joined together constantly in prayer. The word used there means to be ‘busily engaged in, to be devoted to, to persist in adhering to a thing, to intently attend to it.’ And it is in the form of a present participle. It means that the practice was continued ceaselessly. The same word and part of speech is used in Acts 2:42: ‘They devoted themselves… to prayer.’ Over in Colossians 4:2, Paul uses the same word again in the imperative form: ‘Devote yourselves to prayer.’
Thus praying the price is an essential ingredient to Christian living, church growth and winning souls for Christ In reviewing the book, I identified the main themes of the book before looking at content to confirm the appropriateness of the content in relation to the themes of the book. The major themes are praying and price. Dr. Ojo in his book placed emphasis on the need to pray in different situations to achieve peace, understanding, deliverance, open heavens, reversing blunders and failures, weapon against enemies and prosperity. The book also dwelled on patterns of prayer, praying in the name of Jesus, praying in truth, praying in faith, invoking the blood of Jesus, praying with understanding amongst others.
The other theme which came out clearly was the price needed to achieve the promises of God through prayers. The first theme on prayers provided an insight into the power and benefit of prayers. The sermons on price interspersed the praying discourse. The writing of the book was lucid which makes for easy understanding by the reader. It also demonstrated that the contents were well researched and inspired by great divine influence. I found the book fascinating and inspirational. The book offers every Christian a chance for revival and improved preparation for the second coming.
In the forward written to this book certain key words were used by those who wrote them which showed agreement on the perception which comes throughout the book.
Pastor Olagunju, the General Superintendent CAC Worldwide wrote “Prayer is the link between man and his source, any river that breaks the link with its source will dry up”
Dr. Onagwa, the National Coordinator, Youth Fellowship CAC Worldwide wrote “Here are the five loaves of bread and two fishes placed in your hand by Dr. Ojo with a divine commission.”
Dr. (Pastor) Paul Obadare from Baltimore Maryland wrote: “ The paradigm in this book is based on Jesus prayer life which I like to describe as the ammunition which enabled him to succeed in the work of redemption. The scriptures reveal Christ’s pattern which Christians ought to follow. This is because prayer is the only key that connects us to the right source and the only instrument of change in human life.
Finally, Professor (Pastor) Olusola Akinyele my older brother also from Baltimore, Maryland USA wrote “Christians cannot live a life of devotion to God in worship without prayers. It is an important part of entering into the presence of God. The author himself in the preface wrote” I do not attempt to set forth rudiments or basic principles of answered prayers. Instead my aim, with the help of the Holy Ghost is to provide the believer with a deeper understanding and appreciation of prayers as a multifaceted instrument for unlocking heavens abundant and limitless resources.