When we launched this blog just over a year ago I announced that it was not going to be about prayer, it would not be about praying. It was going to focus on helping your church develop into a House of Prayer. There are innumerable resources on prayer. Books, blogs, songs, sermons. But, in spite of the fact that the Founder of the church told us how He wanted it to be identified, “My house shall be a house of prayer for all people,” (Matt. 21:13), there is very little “how to” resourcing available. In my faith community there are virtually no books on the topic of becoming a praying church.
I’ve been a pastor since the mid-50’s but I am admittedly a slow learner. So for the last year or so I’ve struggled to learn all I could about how that radical transition might happen in a local congregation. I’ve slogged around in the template left for us by the early church. In many ways they got it right. When we do it His way, the outcome will reek with excellence and effectiveness. Any other way, not so much. I’ve sought to isolate some of those inspired principles and they appear in early blogs in this series. It’s been a voraciously inspiring journey.
But one of the most rewarding elements of my search has been to watch what’s happening in those churches where there is an irrevocable commitment to move away from the comfort of the “club,” which is designed primarily for the benefit of the members, and commit to the down-and-dirty mission of being agents of redemption to a horribly broken world.
At the risk of being accused of prescribing a formula, I’d like to describe what I’m seeing in the part of the church world I’m watching. As a Movement we were born a century and a half ago into a basically Christian culture. We found Christian people and said to them, “You need more information; we can help you with that.” We called it evangelism; to be more accurate we probably should have called it education.
But the target moved. A high percentage of the world we want to speak to today doesn’t even understand the language we speak. They don’t know Genesis from revolution. Information isn’t going to solve the profound brokenness they bring. Only the supernatural, miraculous, unearthly, transformational power from the throne can undo the damage sin has done. And God has declared that that comes down only in response to serious intercession by His people.
Jesus knew that. That’s why He described how He wanted His house to function.
We’ve got to get more specific next time.
-By Don Jacobsen