Critical mass most often refers to the material needed to create a nuclear explosion. If there is not enough material to spark and maintain the burn until the explosion, it is much like a match that sparks but fails to ignite an ongoing flame.
Many times our prayers lack critical mass. They create a spark. There is that temporary flame, but they fail to have the heat needed to create a sustained reaction. The flame is not able to ignite the secondary materials that will burn in a sustained way, and so it flickers and goes out.
We see prayer as a magical action. We speak and something unexplainable happens. Sometimes we speak and nothing happens. We explain the difference between the two in a way that one of those prayers had the “magic” and one did not. Sometimes we say that the difference is “faith,” but we are generally hard pressed to explain what qualifies as faith and what doesn’t.
All things work by spiritual authority. In the Middle Ages, sickness was seen as magical. People did various ritual things to ward off sickness. They spoke things or did things in a seemingly powerful way to try to prevent something that was caused by germs. There was an explanation for the cause of sickness. The people in that time just didn’t have a clue of real truth.
In the same way, there are spiritual factors that drive whether or not a prayer will have the critical mass needed to move reality. Sometimes the forces of darkness are great enough that the critical mass needed to move a situation is great. A single prayer is not going to get the job done. Elijah seven times to look for clouds while he was praying for the drought to end (1 Kings 18:42-45). In 2 Kings 4, Elisha stretches himself out, laying on the body of the dead child as he prayed. He gets up and walks around, continuing to pray. Then stretches himself out on the dead body once again before his prayers are answered. Sometimes it takes a while for the critical mass to build.
Many times people pray only a single prayer and they get great results. Being the egotistical people that we are, we assume the best about ourselves believing that the power of our single prayer was the sole mover to bring about that answer to prayer. More often than not, it is not the power of a single prayer that gets results, but the power of a number of people whom God has called into intercession over a single situation. One of the laws of the spiritual realm is that team accomplishes more. The person who gets the answer thinks that he or she has done the work. Frequently, there was a team that provided the critical mass.
The power of the spirit realm flows through connection—sustained connection. To start a fire, you generally need to get a secondary substance that will burn on a more sustained bases to catch fire. If there is something there to diffuse that first flash of heat, the fire goes out. Many times there are spiritual diffusers. Things like an independent spirit, distrust, or offenses can act as diffusers.
When Jesus went to Nazareth, he was seen as “one of the boys.” There was a cynical attitude toward Him that blocked connection. The power of God was mostly shut down and only a few healings were done there (Mark 6:5). Heart attitudes make a difference!
When conditions are wet or windy, it is hard to get a match to light and stay lit. When the enemy has gathered together his forces to attack us, it can take much more prayer to get the match lit. Not all battles are created equal. Some are pivotal struggles. Because the enemy knows it is an important battle, he will go all out to win. A simple prayer will not win that kind of battle.
When the disciples came together in one mind and one accord, amazing things happened. There was connection. There were results. Critical mass happens when we come together in a way that releases the unbelievable power of God into our lives. A spark and burnout happens when we fail to get on the same page, thinking that the power of one simple set of words will do the job.
Yes, the prayers of a single righteous person do change many things (Jas. 5:16). But the power that sustains righteousness is a connection to God and to godly people. When we get on the same page, it is life. When we go our own way, the life we have burns out to nothing.
Connection is life. Are you helping generate a c