Thursday, June 5, 2014

Becoming A Church That Prays

I shared yesterday a short review of Thom Rainer's new book, Autopsy of a Deceased Church. In the book, as he articulates the evidences of those things that ended up killing churches. In one of the chapters, he mentioned a silent killer is when the church starts praying together less and less. That struck a chord with me.

Over the past six months, I have had this impression that our church does not pray together "quite enough." Now on one hand, I'm not sure what "quite enough" would look like. Do you? Does it mean that everyone comes to a prayer meeting every week? Does it mean that when prayer requests are sent out by email, 100% of those emails are opened and people actually take time praying? Maybe the term "quite enough" is not a good qualifier for what I'm feeling. I simply feel as though it could be easy for us to get on the path of self-dependence by not calling out on the Lord to do His work in our midst.

It sure seems as when I read the book of Acts, the people got together and prayed together. In the book, Rainer makes this observation:
"When the early Jerusalem church members devoted themselves to prayer, they were doing a lot more than reading names off a list. They were fervent, intense, and passionate about prayer. They had no doubt that god was listening and responding. A failure to pray was tantamount to a failure to breathe. Prayer was not an add-on to give them permission to eat a meal. It was serious stuff for a serious group of church members. Prayer was the lifeblood of the early church" (67).

What would it look like for a group of people to get together to pray with one another for the sole purpose of crying out to the Lord?

How would it change a church if people prioritized prayer and didn't treat it like an add-on or something they had to do before they ate lunch?

What would it say to new people if the church continually sought the dependence of the Lord in all things at all times?

This has been something that has been on my mind for some time now. I have begun reading books and actually praying myself, that I would learn what it means to pray. I want to dig deeper into this subject. Will you with me? Will you just take 10 minutes today to pray? Not just for health issues, but for praise and worship out of a spirit of dependence upon the Lord. And the next time you are together with people from the church, would you consider praying with each other for each other?

All to His glory and our good!

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