A Community of Prayer Champions, Praying Churches, Prayed-for Communities

“The Prayer-Shaped Disciple” - It’s the name of the textbook I wrote for use in Seminary classes on prayer. It is also the name of the seminar I lead occasionally in churches. I led such a seminar in a church in west Texas earlier this month and will lead one in a church in Oklahoma next month. It is often the title of a sermon series I preach where I serve as Interim Pastor. To be shaped in the image of Jesus is to be prayer-shaped. He prayed at his baptism, He prayed from His cross, and He prayed all the way in-between. The most used verb in the ministry of Jesus was the verb, “to pray.” After all that they had experienced, His disciples requested that He teach them to pray (Luke 11:1). According to the writer of Hebrews, Jesus is even on this day, interceding for us, in prayer with the Father (Hebrews 7:25). Prayer is the priority of the Christian life. Oswald Chambers wrote, “Prayer does not fit us for the greater work; prayer is the greater work.” The more nearly we are shaped in the image of Jesus, the more nearly the world will be shaped by prayer. Mother Teresa said it this way, “God shapes the world by prayer. The more praying there is in the world the better the world will be, the mightier the forces against evil." At the beginning of each semester, I would say to my Seminary students, that everything you need to do ministry, properly, comes from God. So how can you minister effectively without being shaped in His image through prayer? Prolific prayer author, E.M. Bounds wrote, “Prayer makes a godly man, and puts within him the mind of Christ . . . and of prayer. If we really pray, we will become more like God, or else we will quit praying.” What kind of spiritual shape are you in?

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