by Dr. Ronnie Floyd, Senior Pastor of Cross Church in Springdale, AK and Former President of the Southern Baptist Convention
Prayer is often the last action people take. Should not prayer be the first choice we make? Why should it take a bad diagnosis, a major business loss, or a big problem to move prayer up in our daily action plan? How important is prayer to you?
I believe now is the time to bring prayer back into our personal lives and the worship services of our churches.
WHEN WE PRAY
In our independent world, we must refuse to declare independence from God. Dependence on God is essential. Therefore, consider these thoughts on prayer and its importance in your life:
1. When we pray, we are depending on God. When we do not pray, we are depending on ourselves.
Therefore, pray. Talk to God daily. Talk to God throughout the day. Carry on a continual communion with God.
Talking to yourself may make you feel better, but only God can help you through your life. Talking to others may provide counsel, but Jesus is the Wonderful Counselor. He will counsel you, coach you, and be your constant through your life. Bring prayer back into your life.
2. Prayer is faith.
When you pray, you are declaring absolute dependence on the Lord! Therefore, pray whenever you need to exercise any level of faith, because prayer is faith. When you pray, you are trusting in the Lord completely.
In fact, faith is built up greatly when we pray with and for one another. I regularly pray with and for others. My ongoing daily prayer list is continually changing. Prayer builds faith in my life. It creates expectancy for God to move in the situation.
3. Prayer is action.
When you start your day with God, you are taking action upon your day. When you pray anywhere about anything, you are taking action.
Oftentimes, we take matters in our own hands. Our impulsiveness or impatience shows we are depending on ourselves and not upon God. Please remember: Prayer is not inaction; but prayer is your greatest action.
Clearly understand: The greatest action you can take is prayer. This does not eliminate other actions. It is a matter of priority and prominence in your life. If a person needs a job, we do not simply pray for a job, but also take the action of trying to find a job.
NOW IS THE TIME TO BRING PRAYER BACK INTO OUR CHURCHES
Christians want prayer back into the schools; however, we ought to bring it back into the worship services of our churches first! Most churches spend more time in their worship services promoting the ministries of the church than praying. Jesus wants His church to be a house of prayer for all the nations!
When is the last time you experienced an entire Sunday morning worship service dedicated to prayer? Has this ever occurred? Has prayer received more than a small focus in any worship service you have attended recently?
If not, why not? If we are not filling God’s churches with passionate prayers that are focused with purpose, what are we filling our church worship services with? Could it be that we are not filling God’s churches with prayer because we are not seeing that our greatest need is the power of God to intervene in our life, church, and nation? Could it be because we do not connect the deep need for prayer with the greatest need—to take the Gospel of Jesus Christ to all the nations?
FOUR CHARACTERISTICS OF PRAYER SERVICES
Churches of all membership sizes have and are committing entire worship services on a given Sunday to the ministry of prayer. There are four characteristics of an effective prayer service:
1. Biblically based: Each prayer time needs to be based on a teaching time from God’s Word. We stand on His Word, not on our words or passions.
2. Prayer-focused: Each prayer time should be focused on principles like repentance, revival, surrender to the Lordship of Christ and the filling of the Spirit, spiritual awakening, and reaching the world for Christ beginning in your own community.
3. Spirit-led: Worship and prayer moments should be led as God’s Spirit leads, not necessarily the order of service.
4. Worship-expressed: Hymns and worship songs are given to us to express our worship of Jesus Christ as our Lord. These can be powerful expressions as transition moments, moving from one prayer time to the other.
Just imagine what could happen in your church if an entire Sunday morning service was turned into a prayer service. You could experience God move in ways unlike you have seen in a while or may have never seen before. People could come to Christ. Personal repentance could result in a releasing of the Spirit upon your church, unleashing the church to worship and ministry. Here is a website with sermons and prayer services from Cross Church as well as other pastors and churches: pray4awakening.com/southernbaptists. Please feel free to use any of them as you plan your services.
HERE IS WHAT I DO KNOW: IF WE DO NOT PLAN TO PRAY, WE WILL NOT PRAY!
It is past time for us to prioritize prayer personally and in the church. For far too long, we have seen what we can do; it is time for us to see what God can do. This can only happen when we pray.
Acts 4:31 says, “When they had prayed, the place where they were assembled was shaken and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak God’s message with boldness.”
- Make prayer your first choice.
- Realize that when you pray, you are demonstrating great faith in God.
- Live like prayer is important to you.
- Make prayer a priority in your church.
- In your life and in your church, pray like it matters.
Now is the Time to Lead,
Ronnie W. Floyd
Reprinted with permission, Decision Magazine.