What do great churches do that sets them apart? If there is a “secret” in the sauce of transformative, disciple-making churches, it’s this one. Pray.
This goes without saying, right? Right. Except that most of us have somehow missed this one in the busyness of being about the Lord’s business. We talk about it. We preach on it. We love to share prayer requests, update our prayer apps, send out our prayer chains, update the good ole’ prayer sheet and somebody leads in a prayer in every service. However, the challenging question is, do we actually pray? Do we pray with a sense of perseverance and passion? Do we cry out to the Lord? Do we listen in prayer? Do we lift holy hands? Do we whisper our longings and shout our praises in prayer? Do we?
The Lord said through Isaiah, “And foreigners who bind themselves to the Lord to minister to him, to love the name of the Lord, and to be his servants, all who keep the Sabbath without desecrating it and who hold fast to my covenant— these I will bring to my holy mountain and give them joy in my house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house will be called a house of prayer for all nations.” The Sovereign Lord declares— he who gathers the exiles of Israel: “I will gather still others to them besides those already gathered.” (Isaiah 56:6-8, NIV).
Jesus would then quote this passage (Matthew 21:13, Mark 11:17; Luke 19:46) when He cleansed the temple. He seemed to be saying, “You are robbing God and yourselves when you make this thing called church about you.”
DL Moody has reminded us, “Prayer does not mean that I am to bring God down to my thoughts and my purposes, and bend his government according to my foolish, silly, and sometimes sinful notions. Prayer means that I am to be raised up into feeling, into union and design with him; that I am to enter into his counsel and carry out his purpose fully.”
How do you know His purpose for your ministry and tap into His power to carry it out? Make prayer a priority? Here’s a simple phrase that pays…
“Every meeting a prayer meeting.”
In other words, an attitude of prayer just doesn’t cut it. Whether it’s a staff meeting, worship team rehearsal, elder meeting, greeter training, parking team huddle… you name it, prayer can and should be an intentional part of the experience.
Experience prayer and you’ll experience God.
Over the years I have been asked the same question, “Why don’t we see the Spirit of God move like ‘back then?” My answer has also been the same and is two-fold: prayer and holiness. Whether “back then” was in the early church or merely a generation removed, our purposed practice of prayer in the North American church is grossly lacking.
Put it this way, little prayer, little power. That’s just the deal.
What can we do about it? It’s simple. Not easy or convenient or comfortable. But simple. Start praying! “Where do we begin?” I’m glad you asked!
Download our free PrayerMinistry guide. No, this isn’t THE way to pray and prayer can’t be confined to any system. However, it is what we have been growing into in a purposed way as a lead team and congregation. It’s an in-house document; part guide and ongoing “to do” list. Feel free to use any or all of it and tweak it to fit your ministry context.
Can I get personal with you for a moment? I’ve pastored 4 churches, two of which saw amazing things when it comes to leading people to Jesus, miracles of restoration and healing, overcoming of addictions, viral volunteerism, crazy levels of generosity and partnerships from the local to global levels! The other two… not so much. The difference? More than this post can cover. However, the common denominator was prayer. In the first two people partnered in prayer with a passion that sparked, well, passion in every other area! The other two, again… not so much.
Please, I’m begging you on this one. If you only grow in one of the 10 areas we are suggesting in this series of posts in preparation for 2019, take your personal, lead team and congregational prayer life to a new level!
Need some help getting prayer ministry into the DNA of your leadership and ministry life? I would love to come and experience with you a weekend Prayer Summit! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s talk about a partnership in 2019.