Only by Prayer
In 2006 God called me to plant a new church in a highly unchurched area that was full of crime, drugs, and every form of evil imaginable. For the first two years, we stayed busy working hard out in the community through servant evangelism, block parties, backyard bible schools, and whatever else we could think of doing. We knew the potential of what God could do in this community that had forsaken God. Although we saw glimpses of God’s hand moving, we never saw the breakthrough that we had expected upon first starting the church.
We were doing all the right things, making all the right contacts, building all the right relationships, and making a presence in the community. In those first two years, we had become well-known as a kind, loving, and giving church. People that were once very standoffish began to open their hearts and their doors. However, the breakthrough of deliverance had still not come. We had worked hard with little to show; and by the time the third year had come, we were all spiritually and physically exhausted. I knew something had to change, or we would not see a fourth year as a church.
One day the Spirit of the Lord spoke to my heart and allowed me to know what was missing; prayer! It wasn’t that we were not praying as a church; it was that we were not devoted to prayer as a church. We had our quick prayer time early on Sunday mornings before the visitors would come, and we opened and closed in prayer as was expected of every church. We prayed before any event we had and even called a few special times of prayer. But, it wasn’t our focus. Again, we were not devoted to prayer.
God then placed upon my heart to set aside one night out of the week for an intercessory prayer meeting. A true prayer meeting where the actual focus was on prayer, and where the only order was to pray. We set it up where people could submit prayer requests before the prayer meeting so that when we come in, nothing needs to be said; we simply come in to focus on God and pray. We start off by spending some quiet time with the Lord, getting ourselves spiritually prepared; then we spontaneously start proclaiming praises and exulting the name and character of God. We then distribute the prayer requests and call them out to God. Our main prayer request is praying for spiritual awakening in our community. There are times while in our intercessory prayer meeting that it seems we will never stop praying! But that’s ok with me because we have seen the hand of God move through this prayer time in so many spectacular ways that we can’t help but to give God praise for all He has done.
Today, as a church we are devoted to prayer. You may find people standing in the parking lot or gathered in a corner or huddled in a back room at any given time on a Sunday for the purpose of praying. During the week you will find our members texting needs, gathering to lift them up, and prayer walking or prayer driving in just about any given area. It is also our goal to individually pray for every home and every person in our community. As the pastor of a praying church, I don’t have to call on people to pray as the needs arise. They just start praying. Spontaneous spurts of prayer that are not calendared, scheduled, or even penciled in; just praying as the Lord leads and as the needs arise. I am very proud to say when I ask the church today to pray for a need I have, I have no doubt that they will.
We are not the biggest church, nor the richest church, or even a church without issues. However, when I look out into the congregation on Sunday morning or throughout the week, I see faces with the joy of the Lord on them. I see those who were former drug addicts, gang members, or alcoholics. We have former drug dealers, meth cookers, prostitutes, and people whom the devil had bound in many ways among us; yet, today, they are living testimonies of the power of God. Our church has become the testimony of a praying church. Someone once said of our church (not in a condemning way but a confirming way) that we are a church of misfits. We liked it so much that we were tempted to change the name of the church accordingly! However, we are misfits who have been transformed by His power.
Again, we are far from a perfect church; and unfortunately, not everyone in the church participates in our intercessory prayer time. As a matter of fact, those who do participate are, unfortunately, in the minority. It is my heart that one day all would participate. However, we have seen God use these few in phenomenal ways. Can you imagine if everyone would step up to the plate and pray? Could you imagine if every church was a testimony of a praying church?
We are in a spiritual battle for the souls of mankind. In the last section I mentioned that in Mark chapter 9 the disciples were unable to cast the evil spirit out of a boy. The disciples latter came to Jesus and asked Him why they were unsuccessful. Jesus told them in Mark 9:29, “This kind cannot come out by anything but prayer.” In Matthew’s recollection of the event he said, “but this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.” (Matthew 17:21). We are in a fierce spiritual battle for the souls of men. We cannot afford to fight this battle the way we chose to fight for the first two years as a church. We must pray. We must pray and fast. It is the only way.
Day 25 Prayer Guide
- Ask God to reveal any sin or mindset that would prevent Him from hearing your prayers.
- Repent of any such hindrance and ask for God’s forgiveness.
- Ask God to remove any doubts and keep you focused on Him.
- Seek the Holy Spirit to consume you during this time to lead you. Be obedient to Him.
- Spend some time praising God for the fact that He is able. Quote some scriptures or some of His characteristics to Him in praise.
- Pray that the people of God will repent of sins and mindsets that dishonor and hinder Him.
- Pray that God would reveal prideful attitudes of self-sufficiency and bring about repentance.
- Pray that Christians will know the importance of intercessory pray and walk in it.
- Pray that God would raise up prayer warriors with a heart for revival in our churches and a great awakening in our land.
- Pray that our churches will be houses of prayer.
- Pray that the people of God will stand in faith knowing God can reclaim this land.
- Pray that our churches would be devoted to, and peruse the things that honor God.
- Pray that the people of God would see the need for revival and begin to seek God for it.
- Pray specifically for revival in your church. Pray for your pastor and church leaders.
- Pray that the people of God will be broken hearted over the lost.
- Pray that the church will be a gospel centered church with a heart to evangelize the world while starting in their own back yard.
- Pray that the power of God would fall on the church moving them to prayer and sowing the gospel seed.
- Pray for a great awakening in your community. Name off streets and neighborhoods.
- Do not be judgmental in this, but pray that if there is any within the church who do not have a genuine relationship with Jesus that God would convict their heart and save them.
- Make a list of individuals who are not saved and begin petitioning God for their salvation.
- Pray for repentance of sin and a great awakening in our nation.