Impacting Cities & Communities thru Prayer
A Community of Prayer Champions, Praying Churches, Prayed-for Communities
Recently we had a Prayer Conference with Mark Batterson. I have been pondering three thoughts that personally challenged me from the conference and thought they were worth sharing.
First, Mark emphatically stated, “That everything begins with prayer.” This is important to me because I have to confess that even though I am the Prayer Pastor and pray a good deal, not everything I do starts in prayer. I sometimes run ahead of God, and those times are easy to pick out because they are flat and not very useful. I don’t think I am alone in my struggle. You may need to hear this concept also. I think he is right. Prayer is to be where we get inspiration to move forward with a project or the wisdom to deal with a tough situation. Prayer is where the compassion comes from to walk with another through a trial and the fortitude to be the only one left standing when that is necessary. Prayer is indeed where everything starts, at least anything of any value. For Bible support you could look to Acts chapter 10 and the opening of the church to the gentiles that came out of Cornelius prayers or Acts chapter 13 and the sending out of the first missionaries that was formulated after fasting and prayer in a prayer meeting of the early church.
Mark’s approach to personal consecration was very powerful also. He asks the Lord to forgive any human strategy he has pursued that was not conceived in prayer. I have never heard anything like this before… talk about setting a high standard. I wonder how my life and ministry would be different if I asked the Lord to forgive me for everything I do that was not birthed in prayer. I have a feeling this would be revolutionary. I intend to see!
Would you be willing to stop striving and pursue God for your marching orders? This sounds like an incredible step of faith but I bet it would be worth it.
Jesus reminded us in Matthew 7:21- 23, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
There are lots of ways to view this passage. Some would deal with salvation and others hypocrisy. Another view might be in the last times there will be lots of people running around doing this “for the Lord” or that for “for the Lord”. But few of these actions will have been birthed in prayer. Those plans and initiatives (the ones conceived in prayer) will be most valued.
The third point Mark made was most practical. Mark believes that the Bible was meant to be prayed. As you read the Bible, God will speaks to you about something from His word. That thought is where you should start your prayer time for the day. We have been taught that prayer and Bible reading are two different things. But Batterson puts a whole new light on these disciplines. Although I have been working on this for a while, Mark has fired me up to grow in this area. The more I practice this principle, the more I like it.
Paul Cover is the Prayer Pastor at Central Christian Church a mega church in Mesa AZ and the author of Threshold: Transformational Prayer; Transformational Prayer Leadership. His book is available at Amazon.