Prayer: The Lifeline for Your Church
I knew it, and others in our congregation knew it too. On the surface our church appeared successful and prosperous. We had bought into all the best methods for church growth that experts and consultants could offer. We pursue the intensive training and employed the latest technology. We went to the conferences and studied the systems.
Our pastoral staff was made up of dedicated, capable servants of God. Our church membership had grown in the previous 10 years from several hundred to several thousand. Our growing stewardship programs had led to financial success, which fueled our expanding ministries and built our new buildings.
Everything looked good, hut something was missing— something important and something defining. Something had been left out that was vital to our very nature and identity. And we knew it.
After everything else—after the crowds and the recognition, after the growth and the success—we awoke to a startling realization: Success wasn’t enough. We were thirsty. Achieving our measurable goals and obiectives did not satisfy the lingering, growing suspicion that there was something more. There just had to be. And we were becoming desperate to recapture it. Spiritual asphyxiation was smothering the Spirit’s life out of us. We faced spiritual life or death.
So we began to pray.
Our need for God drives us to our knees No doctrine of prayer or philosophy of ministry alone will bring us to the place of prayer. No belief system or planned program will lead us to linger at the altar 0f incense. This is evidenced in the cry that resonates between church leaders and laity alike, We don’t pray as we should.’
Statistics report that five minutes a day is the average time spent in prayer even among the clergy in our country. Our churches are houses of almost everything hut prayer. A mere philosophical assent asserting prayer’s importance will not prioritize prayer in our lives or incur churches.
PRAYER MUST FIRST CHANGE US BEFORE OUR CHURCHES WILL BECOME HOUSES OF PRAYER
When you begin to recognize the immensity of your need, when you finally sec that your best plans and thinking and efforts fail to produce anything of eternal value, then you will pray.
When you finally pray with the sense of desperation that arises out of need and nut necessity, God will meet with you in ways rhat will begin an inner transformation;
• Your love for the Lord Jesus will he enlarged.
• Your desire to spend yourself for others will increase.
• You will weep for the lost once again.
• Your image will be changed.
As you spend prolonged time in His presence, He will imprint His image upon you.
As it was with Peter and John when they stood before the Sanhedrin, it will become evident that you have been with Jesus. And as these things begin to take place, people will see the change in you as a pastor or leader.
Day by day and week by week, people will see and will begin to ask, “What has happened to you?”
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