What is a praying church? I am asked this question, in some form, regularly. There are mulitple ways I could answer this question, but perhaps the most constructive is to talk about the values of a praying church.
I believe it’s critically important to know the “why” before you find out the “what” or the “how” in just about anything you do. Most of the time leaders want to know “how” to do a ministry without knowing the key premises behind that ministry. If we have a clear picture of the “why”, i.e. the values behind something, the “how” tends to work itself out. Often we spend too much time on “how” because we don’t know “why”. Over the last several years, I have spent hours dialoguing with leaders from the prayer & mission movement about the “why’s” or the values of a praying church. These values are ones that we considered to be essential to help form and grow a community with a culture of prayer. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but hopefully it’s helpful.
- Orthodoxy of the Faith – Firmly rooted and grounded in the historic Biblical doctrines of the Christian Faith. With the post modern drift from orthodoxy, this point becomes essential.
- Prayer Based Community – Establishing prayer as the centerpiece of body life. This is prayer as a culture and not as an event or ministry. For prayer to have this level of importance in a church community the senior leader has to take initiative in cultivating it. A praying church must have a culture of prayer.
- Fasted Lifestyle – Embracing and living the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus spelled out the value system of the Kingdom of God in the Sermon on the Mount. For a prayer based community, or any other Christian community to thrive, it must embody this way of life.
- Great Commission – Engaging in regular evangelism, compassion and justice initiatives to the lost, poor and the oppressed. Obedience to the great commission goes hand in hand with persevering prayer and helps strengthen intercession.
- Spirit Led Ministry – Operating in the power of the Holy Spirit to accomplish works of ministry, from the basis of communion and intimacy with God. Without the power and leading of the Holy Spirit our ministry is lifeless and powerless.
- Spiritual Breakthrough – Contending for revival and spiritual breakthrough that releases another Great Awakening. Jesus desires a bride from every tribe, tongue, people and nation. Massive widespread breakthrough is necessary for Him to receive the reward of His sufferings.
- End Times – Preparing the church with urgency for the Lord’s return. Great revival and great difficulties are coming to the earth, culminating with the Lord’s return. Leaders must prepare people to stand through the most challenging time the earth will ever see (Mat 24:21, Dan 12:1).
My prayer is that the church across our nation and the nations of the earth would embrace a value system that launches her into radical encounter with God through a culture of prayer. The church’s greatest hour is still before us and her destiny is to be a praying people, fully in love with Jesus, abandoned to His will (Rev 22:17). The bride will be a praying church!
What values do you think are important for the church to become a praying church?