‘Whatever opposes prayer opposes the whole work of ministry.’ (John Piper)
This has been my experience. When I’m busy doing ‘good things’ I can forget the ‘best thing’ – prayer. It’s not long before those ‘good things’ are getting in the way of God’s work.
We need reminders that we are dependent on God. It’s all too easy for us to assume our church plant depends on us.
As God’s people entered the land of Canaan, God told them to erect altars and memorials. In all the ‘busyness’ of conquest they needed to pause to reflect on God’s goodness. They need prompts to remember they were dependent on him. We, too, have a tendency to drift toward self-reliance. So we, too, need reminders that we are dependent on God. It’s all too easy for us to assume our church plant depends on us. A focus on our endeavor squeezes out time for prayer and perhaps squeezes out room for God to work.
So in our church we have set up reminders that reorient us toward prayer. For the past four years, for example, I have prayed over the seats in our auditorium each week. I realize the seats are inanimate objects and don’t need prayer! But the souls who sit in them week after week do need prayer. Those empty seats serve as a reminder for me to pray for my people.
When I’m done praying over the seats, I make my way to the lobby where we have a display of photos of our brothers in the Acts 29 US Southeast network. They’re there to remind us to pray. We ask our people to lift up these men every time they pass the display.
As a church, we regularly highlight an Acts 29 pastor in our local south Georgia region. We make pre-addressed postcards available so our people can send them encouraging notes. This quarter, for example, we’re praying for Matt Ford, pastor of Restoration City Church in Hampton, GA.
A life marked by a lack of prayer declares, “I’m all my church plant needs.”
Daniel Henderson says, ‘Prayerlessness is our declaration of independence from God’. Of course we never consciously announce that we no longer need God. But in practice a life marked by a lack of prayer declares, ‘I’m sufficient. I’m all my church plant needs.’
Recognizing that we’re dependent on God drives us to our knees in prayer and prayer reminds us that we’re dependent on God. So let’s drill deeper and reach wider by praying for God’s sufficient power to be made known in Acts 29 churches around the globe.