Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Building a Culture of Prayer Part 3

These book titles sound familiar, right?

"A Purpose Driven Life." "Your Best Life Now." "Become A Better You." "Eat, Pray, Love," which isn't much abour prayer as one might think.

"The Shack."

We are quick in our culture to run to gimmicks, to jump on the band wagon of, "Quick solution. Easy answer. Short cuts galore."

Remember the "Prayer of Jabez" book? How about "Servant Evangelism" or "Seeker Friendly" which boiled down to "shh, don't talk about Jesus and sin on Sunday morning. It makes people uncomfortable."

Good. If we love them, we preach Jesus, the Cross and the corruption of sin.

Jesus, the leader and authority on social justice said this, "Preach the Gospel to the poor."

If we don't tell them the truth, who will? What good does it do to feed the poor while they dying and going to judgment without a Redeemer.

I've not read any of the books I listed. Why? Because I'm living my best life now. I have to admit, that title cracks me up. It sounds like all the "cool" titles were taken so they pulled a Tony Robbins.

I have Someone greater living in me (Col 1:27) who teaches me about my best life. Who gives me a purpose driven life. The Holy Spirit. He knows me better than I know myself. He teaches me how to live the BEST life.

I can read all the how to books and still end up in the same place. What I want and need is to be transformed into the image of Christ.

There is no short cut. No secret prayer. No quick solution. Heart and soul change comes from time, diligence and spending time with Jesus.

You want to have a purpose driven life? Start a weekly prayer meeting at your home or church. Invite people to come. Spend an hour or two worshipping -- play a CD -- and asking God for His Kingdom to come on earth as it is in heaven. Ask Him to use you, to give you purpose.

We want change. We want God. But we don't want to put our shoulder to the wheel and do what it takes to encounter Him.

Most churches don't have weekly corporate prayer meetings. If they do, they are poorly attended. We've lost the vision of prayer. We don't know how to pray.

Back in 2000, Hubby and I visited the International House of Prayer in Kansas City. We'd both been passionate about prayer for years, but when we saw what God was doing in the arena of prayer and the Word intertwined with Worship, our hearts were engaged.

We came home and tried to institute the model in our youth meeting and worship times. Ooo, there was resistance. We discovered people don't like to be told how to worship. Or how to pray.

But we persisted. We developed guidelines. We taught on how to pray using the Word and interacting with a worship team.

Now, it's easy for our church members to participate. The prayer meetings are organized and focused. There are not long minutes of silence while no one knows what or how to pray. Big corporate prayer meetings are well attended.

The last Friday of the month, fifteen to twenty people squeeze into our living room for an evening of soaking in worship and prayer.

We are building a culture of prayer.

What if we started running to prayer meetings the way we run to the book store for the latest "How to be a great Christian book?" What if we learned how to encounter God in prayer instead of enduring an hour of unfocused, weak prayer. What if we used His Word as a guide for our prayers instead of reading a daily devotional.

Look, I'm not against those type of books! I know they've changed lives. But we need to mature in the arena of prayer. We are still drinking milk. Time for some meat.

We need change that endures. We need to get God's heart on what He's doing in the earth today. This is our watch. We need to stand on the wall.

That is the purpose of prayer. To bring God's will from heaven to earth. We are not pawns in His game. We are working with Him for His purpose. How can He execute it if we are not waiting, listening, praying, asking for Him to use us.

We are bored with prayer because we don't know how to pray, why to pray or if it really changes the world around us.

If it really changes "me."

Well, it does. In Luke 18 Jesus tells us to "pray at all times and not lose heart."

Paul reminds us in 1 Thessalonians to "pray without ceasing."

Jesus Himself, the God-Man, was devoted to prayer. The disciples watched and saw something in Him they did not possess and said to Him, "teach us to pray."

Peter and John, on their way to prayer, healed a crippled beggar.
On their way to prayer!

It is on our way to prayer, out of a contemplative, prayerful heart, God will do miracles through us. He will changes us. Set us on our purpose driven path and give us our best life now. And in the age to come.

We must become a praying church. We must.

1 comment:

Diane Markins said...

This post was bold and inspired, Rachel. About a year ago I met with our young pastor when he'd been leading the church for a couple years. I encouraged him to not fear offending people by praying too much, using too much scripture or talking about sin and tything. I assured him some folks might leave but this would be a pruning process and those who stayed would be strong and faithful.
I won't take any credit for his actions, but in the past six months he's been going through the Bible and teaching it. Our church is exploding with growth. My prayer partner (for more than 20 years) has begun a commited prayer ministry and people are stepping up to get involved.
This world is full of hungry people...they are starving for God's love because they haven't heard the truth about how to get it.
Thanks for your thought-filled post.