Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Building A Culture of Prayer Part 1

In the summer of 2002, several youth pastors in our county gathered to begin what we hoped would be a House of Prayer in our central Florida region.

For six and a half years, we labored in worship and prayer two hours, one night a week. Fire Dweller, as we called our group, grew in numbers. We shrunk in numbers. We changed venues. And eventually, we laid the ministry down.

Not prayer. But the venue of prayer.

It's hard to get people to pray. We have such an individualistic attitude toward prayer. We've taken the "spiritual gifts" test and scored low on intercession and decided "prayer is not my gift."

So we offer shout-outs to God as we drive to work or taking the kids to sports and lessons, as we fall asleep at night. When there's a church wide prayer meeting, we don't go. Too tired. Not my "thing." Leave the prayer to the intercessors.

No wonder the Church is weak and straying from the truth.

Prayer is the cornerstone to every believer, to the life of a church and a church community. Prayer is the force that will save a nation. The prayers of the Elect effect more than the actions of the elected.

Does a quiet bride say, "Talking is not my thing. I'll let the other women talk to my husband?" Ha! Never. Why then are we not talking to our Beloved?

We must engage God in prayer. Jesus said in Matthew 21:13 "My house, will be called a house of prayer." We've become a house of shows and events, a social gospel without power.

Paul writes in Romans 12:12 that we are to be "devoted to prayer." In 1 Thessalonians 5:17 we are admonished to "pray without ceasing."

Prayer is not a specialty on a personality test. It is not option. It's not something others do while you serve in hospitality or pass out bulletins. Prayer is not a "quiet time" with an Oswald Chambers book for fifteen minutes in the morning. Certainly those things are good, but prayer is heart-to-heart, engaging and encountering God for His Kingdom to come on earth as it is in heaven.

Prayer is work. And we are all called to labor in prayer -- individually and corporately.

After laying down Fire Dweller, my husband and I began to talk to a local pastor about what we could do to build a culture of prayer in our city. How can we encourage all Believers to pray? Revelations 5 and 8 is clear that the bowls in heaven are filled with the prayers of the Saints. And to those prayers, God adds incense from His own altar and hurls it back to earth.

God's purposes are fueled by our prayer. You want change in your life, your family, community and nation, you must pray. There is no way around it.

Think of how much more powerful evangelism, hospitality, serving, loving the poor is if it's bathed in prayer. Our "spiritual gifts" are emboldened by prayer not to be used in place of prayer. How often do we start church programs out of a desire for growth, or out of a need, but without real, face toward heaven prayer?

We need prayer. As we meet with Pastor Tim Franklin and his wife, Kelly, and our senior Pastor Gary Stebbins and his wife, Bonnie, we developed MyHop, a house of prayer in our county that is built on a "culture of prayer."

What is a culture of prayer? Churches and believers praying for the Body of Christ, for our region and country, asking for God's heart and revival.

Our vision is: We desire Brevard County to be a House of Prayer consisting of networked churches and believers committed to night and day corporate prayer.

We network with any church or home meeting with a regularly scheduled prayer meeting. We are have a corporate gathering with all networked churches and prayer meetings the first Friday of every month.

We want praying believers. We want to see the church empowered from on High.

Next: Two keys to fueling prayer. Bridal love and the End Times

1 comment:

Sharon Hayes said...

Thanks Rachel, I'm looking forward to part II. You always write something that strikes home to my heart. Love Mom