Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Prayer & Church Planting

It will, I'm sure, be no surprise that the first "invariable mark" of church planting movements around the world is that they have a sincere and enduring devotion to prayer. And, as Dr. Slack so aptly pointed out, their devotion to prayer has little or nothing to do with a "program of prayer," rather it is their heart's desire, it is their passion. The leadership of these movements do not have to expend a lot of energy convincing their people to pray, for praying is the very thing their people are eager to do.

When Kim and I were serving in Mexico in the early 1990s, the thing that touched me most about the Mexican church was their devotion to prayer. We would often arrive 30 or 45 minutes early to prepare for the service, and there would always be a room full of people on their knees praying. Prayer was not on the schedule, nor was it a stated expectation from the leadership, rather it was the passion of the people to call upon their God with all of their heart and soul and mind and strength. We never had to try to convince people to pray in Mexico, it was an assumption. And so it is with church planting movements all over the world: they are passionately and invariably devoted to prayer because of their passion for Jesus.

If we are to see church planting movements in the U.S.A. that, at the very least, keep pace with population growth, we will first have to see a renewed passion for prayer in the hearts of the people. It's fairly easy to get people in this country to show up for a potluck or a social event or a workday, but it's very difficult to get more than a handful of people to show up for prayer. This should not be so. Jesus said in John 15:5, "“I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he fit is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” How else shall we abide in him and bear much fruit except by prayer and the Word?

Will you pray with me that God will ingnite a great passion for him in the hearts of his people all over this country so that they will be eager for prayer and fly to prayer? If the Father will be pleased to answer this prayer, we may yet see a great outpouring of his Spirit in our day, and see churches being planted in such a way that we outstrip population growth. Oh Lord, may it be so! For the sake of your glory in the salvation of so many lost people, may it be so!

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