Priscilla Shirer in her most recent book, Fervent declares the following about prayer…
We pray because our own solutions don’t work and because prayer deploys, activates, and fortifies us against the attacks of the enemy. We pray because we’re serious about taking back the ground he has sought to take from us.-Fervent p. 14
That’s what we do. And I hope it’s what you do…But make no mistake, this enemy will seek to discourage you from doing it. Dissuade you. Disarm you by putting a distaste for prayer in your mouth. He wants to see you passionless, powerless and prayerless. Quiet. And because prayer is the divinely ordained mechanism that leads you into the heart and the power and the victory of Christ, he knows you’ll remain defeated and undone without it. Tired and overwhelmed. Inching forward but mostly backward. Trying to figure out why the hope and enthusiasm you feel in church doesn’t follow you to the four walls you live within.
And If I were your enemy, that’s exactly what I’d want. I’d want to make you devalue the most potent weapons in your arsenal. I’d strategize against you, using carefully calculated methods to disorient and defeat you.
The church I pastor is in the process of rebuilding…not a physical structure, but a new, strong, vibrant, evangelistic and disciple making ministry. It is not easy. In fact, it can feel daunting. We have a small group of faithful, giving, loving individuals. However, the hard work of transitioning racially, culturally and location wise has been a struggle. In 2016, our congregation has covenanted to focus upon persistent, specific and strategic prayer. We have asked and answered the questions, “What do I want to see happen in my church in 2016? What am I willing to commit to doing to help bring this to pass?” Each member wrote their desire and commitment on a slip of paper, signed their name and placed it in a special prayer box in our sanctuary (our congregation is less than 50 so this was not a herculean task!).
As pastor of a small congregation that has gone through many transitions over time, I admit that keeping my “passion” for prayer and ministry focus is a challenge. Yet the Spirit of the Lord continues to move us onward, beckoning us to engage in fervent prayer and work through this ministry.
We are beginning the process of having “Cottage Prayers.” Throughout this year, individuals and families within our congregation signed up to host a Cottage Prayer Meeting. Cottage Prayer meetings will happen once monthly for a 12 month period (all months except one have been taken!) The pastor and associate ministers will go to our member homes for about 1 hour and 15 minutes to study scriptures concerning prayer and to pray, specifically and strategically with those in attendance. We will also pray about our desires and commitments for the church. Members have been encouraged to invite family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, etc.
Our hope is that we will help people to gain or revive a passion for prayer and seek a deeper relationship with the Lord. We also hope to increase “laborers for the Covenant Ministry Vineyard!” Beginning in February, we will together study the book, Fervent. We will engage in specific, strategic prayer, incorporating scriptures from God’s Holy Word as we go. As we move forward, we will revisit our special prayers written on slips of paper and placed in the prayer box to review our commitments and give praise for God’s answers.
I have intentionally chosen to share with a measure of transparency the “wrestlings” of our congregation as we pursue God’s vision for the ministry in which we are presently called to serve. Maybe others are struggling too. Know that you are not alone. Planting looks a lot like a burial…By faith, however, believe that “spring time” is coming!
There is power in persistent, strategic prayer. Our enemy is a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. At times, we become disillusioned and frustrated…wondering if our prayers are making a difference, if things will ever change, if things are getting better… But God is answering our prayers. Sometimes, before the beauty comes forth, the ugly has to be revealed, removed and life can then be restored.
Prayer unearths some things
Prayer shakes up some things
Prayer dismantles some things
Prayer replaces some things
Prayer restores some things
Prayer revitalizes some things
Prayer changes somethings!
Will you pray with us for passion filled, fervent, strategic prayer? Will you engage in fervent, strategic prayer in your own life? Let’s do this thing in 2016!!!
To read more about the Covenant Baptist Church Ministry and our 2016 Prayer focus, visit www.covenantbaptistministries.org
Post a comment or send me an email at Shepastor1@hotmail.com
Until next Wednesday,
In Faith, Hope and Perseverance,