Are you finding it a difficult assignment to help move your church toward becoming a truly prayer-saturated church? Why is that? I can’t recall the number of emails I’ve received that asked something like, “Pastor Don, why is it we all want our church to become a praying church but it just doesn’t seem to happen?” Or, “We want to follow Jesus’ words and become a house of prayer, but we’re finding it very hard to get there. Why is that?”
I’m not a professional diagnostician but let me make some observations.
- We have an enemy who is dead-set on preventing it from happening. He trembles, you know, at the sight of the weakest saint on his/her knees. So he will do all he can to distract us. Someone in your church must commit to being sure that distraction doesn’t happen.
- We are inclined to forget how inert we are in our own strength against the sworn enemy of the church. A while back I asked the Board chair if I could begin the meeting with an urgent devotional time. He answered, “We would be glad for you to do that; please keep it brief because we have a long agenda.” I know of some places where the Board has agreed they will not spend less time in pre-business worship than they do in discussion of business items. I think they’re on to something.
- Deeply-entrenched customs are often difficult to change. I’ve been attending church board meetings for sixty years and only recently do I recall that the practice has begun to move away from the shallow, “please bless us…” prayers to pleading with God for His wisdom. It’s difficult to operate in a deeply spiritual mode if we begin with nothing more radical than, “Dear God, please be with us tonight and help us to make the right decisions, Amen.”
- This is not a meeting of the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company. We are not likely to conduct effective business against a spiritual enemy if we bring to the table nothing more than our best skills and strong personal agendas. We must not assume His answers until we first seek His heart. God can trust His big answers to those who spend enough time with Him to sense what they are. It’s not till then that we “hear a voice behind [us] saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it…’”
My friend Mark says, “God honors bold prayers because bold prayers honor God.” So let’s listen till we are sure we hear clearly what His next step is.