Most churches pray, but not all are praying churches. Most churches pause during their gatherings to pray, sometimes out of ritual, but certainly out of sincerity. But, how does a church make the leap to become a praying church, where prayer is the engine and fuel behind every spiritual advancement?
1. Prayer is modeled
Prayer is caught more than taught. Praying pastors model a prayerful life and those that are influenced by them tend to lead a prayerful life of their own. We just started 21 days of prayer and fasting with prayer meetings happening 24 hours a day. I am leading many of these meetings because I really do believe it is powerful when two or more gather to pray in unity.
2. Prayer is first
In a praying church, the first response to any difficult situation is to pray. When there is still no solution, the answer is to pray again. Repeat as needed.
3. Prayer is proactive
When Jesus taught his disciples to pray, he told them to first ask for God’s Kingdom to come to the earth. Later in the prayer, he told them to ask for daily bread. It is true that the most attended prayer services are normally after a national or local crisis and that is certainly warranted. However, we should be proactive in our prayers, asking now for the Kingdom to come.
4. Prayer is the assignment
In Eugene Peterson’s classic book, Working the Angles, he writes that many church members make it difficult for pastors to spend unhurried time in prayer. It is easier to point to new buildings, compelling sermons and increased attendance as signs of their success. Instead, a praying church sees prayer as a primary assignment of their leaders.
5. Prayer is worship and worship is prayer
A praying church prays with a singing voice. Their songs are anthems, prophetic declarations and pronouncements of faith. We sing as we pray and we pray as we sing. A praying church believes in the power of words spoken and words sung. They believe God hears all of it and responds to all of us.