Prayer is the Price
Over 20 years ago, I read Jim Cymbala’s book “Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire.” I was in graduate school before I answered the call to full-time ministry. I was inspired to start a weekly prayer group at our church, so I invited our men’s group and Sunday school classes to attend. It was a church with 800 people in worship, so my hopes were high!
I showed up expecting a crowd of people gathered to pray. Instead, there was one other person - a friend who must have sensed I’d be alone if he didn’t show up. I appreciated him greatly, but we never met again. That was my first experience in organizing a prayer ministry!
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Fast forward through the years. I still believe prayer is essential to be the kind of Church that God will visit in power. In spite of that, I’ve rarely seen a regular prayer group grow to over five or six people on a consistent basis.
A few months ago, my wife and I entered a new season of ministry. In this new season, we are committed to regular prayer as a church. Every week, from 5:30-6:30PM on Monday nights, our church prays. I don’t mean we come together and talk about prayer or discuss prayer needs. Even though I do provide a little guidance at the beginning, our simple structure is to pray. We get on our knees. We move through the sanctuary and pray for those who will be in worship each week.
We ask God three things (guided by the wisdom of Pastor Todd Smith’s book, “Unless We Pray.”
To help us seek His face, and to actively seek His face in prayer.
We ask God to reveal His glory in increasing ways.
We ask for the Holy Spirit to reveal anything in us that grieves Him and to make us quick to repent.
Here is what we see happening. 15-20% of our church is coming to pray. God is moving. We feel the gentle, but relentless Presence of God. We see people being challenged and transformed. We see people touched by the love of God. We see healing tears and radical surrender. God is moving.
Here’s the takeaway. The church of God will experience the outpouring He desires to give when it becomes a praying church. God wants a church that won’t just TALK about it. He wants a church that will BE about it! Our world is tired of talk. Followers of Christ are tired of talk. They’re tired of seeing scripture as distant and disconnected. They’re ready for a supernatural display of God’s Presence. The price is prayer. It is time to pay the price.