This is the third post in my series on church planting. What my husband and I say and do as church planters must emerge from what we have learned in private prayer.
“In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps.” ~Proverbs 16:9
Well, the church has been launched and tomorrow we will hold our third service. As a pastor’s wife, lay leader, and administrative assistant, there are more than a few duties I need to do each week. Read and reply to emails. Post status. Prepare children’s message. Type, print and fold bulletins. Pick up juice and muffins. Wash tablecloth. Iron hubby’s shirt… With a line-up like this, it’s tempting to just begin plowing through the day.
There may be noble things we want to do in the world, but to go about them without praying all along the way would be a waste of time. Even worse than that, Satan would devour us. It is a serious error to gloss over prayer, thinking we can move the hand of God by mere activity.
“I have learned to move man by prayer alone.” ~Hudson Taylor
When Rob and I pray together, we are engaging in a shared dialogue with God. It’s much more than giving Him information about our needs, projects, and so forth. It’s more of resting in Him, releasing our thoughts into His hands. We can suggest things we would like Him to do, but as we pray and allow His Spirit to nudge us, we sense an internal shift. Prayer changes our perspective.
During prayer, we express our love for God. We let Him love us. We pause to listen to Him, waiting in open attentiveness. We become aware of Christ’s presence within us. We are made channels of His power. We rest in His will.
Dear Reader, if prayer for you is a once-in-a-while thing, if it is boring, or even bothersome, I beg you to not fall silent.
Put a priority on prayer.
Maintaining an effective prayer life takes consistent, daily effort. Set a time to get face-to-face with God, and whether you feel like it or not, just show up and pray. There is nothing worse than the pain of not praying.
Perhaps your prayers are flat and aimless. Do you want prayer to become less of a duty and more of a desire?
Practice prayer out of love, not legalism.
Keep prayer conversational; speak naturally to God. Tell the LORD your troubles. Talk to Him about your hurt, your pain, your sadness, your fears. Don’t even try to polish your prayers. Just be raw. Forget your inhibitions and speak to Him from the heart.
Intentionally, purposefully, turn your worries and concerns into prayer. Tell Him your dreams, your hopes, your longings, your goals and aspirations, and name His adequacy. Your soul will become in tune with God, and mind will be under new management. So pray on, my friend!