Prayer Revolution, John Smed. Chicago: Moody Publishers, 2020.
Summary: A call to kingdom prayer movements based in houses of prayer through which Christ comes, the Holy Spirit advances, and renewal spreads in cities, nations, and globally.
I write this review amid a global pandemic with accelerating case numbers and deaths and in a nation in the middle of efforts to violently subvert the constitutionally governed processes of presidential succession. If ever there was a time for a prayer movement, it seems now would be a good time.
John Smed would agree. He believes we are in a world desperately in need of a prayer revolution, and having led prayer movements, he lays out in this book a biblical basis for prayer movements, how prayer movements break out and how they break through to bring renewal to church, city, and nation. Jesus is central to his focus as the risen King who comes to his people as they seek his kingdom in prayer. He writes as one who has prayed what he preaches. He writes:
Immersing myself in the prayer practices of Jesus, my prayer life changed. Praying like Jesus became a discipline and a habit. Like Jesus praying all night before choosing His disciples, before major decisions and crossroads, I take seasons and days of prayer. Our team does not make plans, we make prayer plans–meeting regularly for interactive times of prayer and planning. We have learned to face the ever-present onslaught of electronic noise and busyness by waiting on God.
Smed begins by laying a basis for kingdom prayer movements by talking about how the king comes as his people pray. The Lord’s prayer shows the Lord’s strategy for prayer–focused outward on kingdom advance rather than inwardly. He wants to work through “houses of prayer.”
This kind of prayer breaks out. The ascended Lord hears his people throughout the world as they gain a vision for renewal. This leads to advance through the work of the Spirit who empowers the church in multiplying ministry. That can scale to a global movement and to the renewal of our cities.
Ultimately, kingdom prayer breaks through. It brings national renewal and repentance from idols. In scripture it has sustained exiles, and those present day “political exiles.” Churches are revived and cities renewed.
Appended to this work is a ten step description of how to implement kingdom prayer, a prayer grid using the Lord’s prayer, and a prayer exercise that may be used for praying for nation or city. Also, the author includes stories of kingdom advance through prayer in history from the Moravian movement, the Welsh revival, the Fulton Street awakening, and the prayer movement in Cuba.
What is puzzling to me in our present moment is that there are professing Christians who have joined in violence, others who are making statements of all sorts. Most of us are just “doomscrolling” through endless stories on our phones that make us sadder or angrier. We are watching bodies stacking up massively while we argue with instead of submitting to sensible public health mandates. Where is our urgency in prayer? Where is repentance? Where is pleading for the peace of our cities and for the inbreaking of the just rule of Jesus?
Prayer Revolution is that call to prayer. It is a book that offers hope of what God may do and vision for how we as God’s people may pray. It’s a book for our time. Many times in history prayer movements break out in desperate times. And God hears. How desperate must things get before we pray?
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.