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I have been active in the Southern Baptist denomination for the past thirty-five years. I was discipled by men who taught me how to spend time on prayer and intercession early in my walk with Christ. My first experience in an all night prayer meeting was within the first five months of my Christian life. SInce then I have had the opporutnity to particiapte in many all night and even prolonged days of prayer on many occcasions.

I have participated in several all day prayer and fasting experiences and found them to restore and rejuvenate my walk with Christ. There is however a sad and troubling commentary I have discovered as I have taught in several churches I am reminded of the condition of our churches as far as our commitment to prayer and intercession goes.

Permit me to share with you my latest poll on prayer at a recent conference where I taught two sessions on "The Prayer Life of Jesus and the Early Church." From my two sessions I had a total of twelve church leaders attend, the average age was 65 and over. I began my sessions by asking three questions of those who attended. All of these atending had been in SBC churches for over forty years.

The first question was "What was the longest time you have ever spent in prayer in your life?" The average answer was fifteen minutes.

THe second question was, "How much time does your church spend praying for the lost per week?" The average response was three minutes or less.

The third question was, "Have you ever had anyone teach you how to spend a prolonged period in prayer?" Out of the twelve who attended the two sessions, there was only one preson who indicated that they had ever had anyone teach them how to spend a prolonged period in prayer in their life.

A convicting point during the session came when we read Romans 8:34 and Hebrews 7:25 and they had to answer the question, "When are we most like Jesus?" As the adults wrestled with this question in light of these passages they all reached the conclusion that we are most like Jesus when we are interceeding for others.

A most disturbing trend is occurring in our churches, we are giving ourselves to more and more marketing strategy and less and less prayer movements. A point of encouragement though was that those who attended these sessions mentioned how convicted they were about what they had done with prayer in the past. Perhaps God will raise up a generation of seniors who will take to their knees for the next generation. I am hopeful.

Standing in the Gap until He comes,

Pastor phil

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Comment by Jenni Biegler on October 26, 2010 at 12:46am
I too had the privilege to be discipled by those who taught the importance of prayer and have spent several days and nights in both corporate and personal prayer. Nowadays, I can't think of anyone that I know who is committed to doing this. I find it mind-boggling to be see so many churches without any sort of prayer ministry.

One church that I am familiar with that has nearly 3000 members but only a handful of people show up at a prayer meeting--and none of them are the pastors or anyone in leadership. This particular church seems to be bent on not being "religious" and in the process they seem to have put aside some of the basics.

What we see in prayer, I also have seen in the area of Discipleship. I was part of a church staff where we were trying to start a Discipleship Training Center but in the process of trying to raise up leaders and polling our congregation, we discovered that very few had been discipled or understood what Discipleship was. This church had become not much more than a social club. When we began talking about the need for discipleship and what that would mean, people started leaving the church because they didn't want change. We encountered so much opposition. Unfortunately, the pastor could not withstand the opposition and decided to go back to business as usual.

God is increasing my passion for Discipleship and calling me back to a more passionate prayer life.
I want to be a good steward of what I have been taught in both of these areas.

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