FIRST-PERSON: Calling churches to prayer
OWENSBORO, Ky. (BP) -- The Southern Baptist Convention would not exist without churches. The health of our local churches will inevitably affect the health of our state conventions and our national convention. I know of no better way to keep our churches healthy apart from prayer meetings.
Every church needs an active prayer meeting. Here are several reasons why:
1. God's house is to be a house of prayer (Matthew 21:13).
Some would argue that we already have enough prayer in our congregations. We may pray before the service and before the offering, but are we collectively crying out to God together? I would suggest a special service be set apart just for praying.
2. Prayer requests deserve to be prayed over.
Many times we collect names for our prayer list but we hardly pray for them. We may spend 10-20 minutes collecting names only to then pray a prayer that does not specifically mention the requests that were voiced. James tells us if anyone is sick, for example, they should call on the church to pray for them (James 5:14-15).
3. We may lack resources or revival if we are not praying.
Again, James tell us that we have not because we ask not (James 4:2). The Lord will provide our needs but He waits for us to offer them. James would also say that we have not because our motives are wrong, so we need to pray for things that are within God's will. When this happens, we will experience God's provision.
4. Our missionaries need our churches to pray for them.
We are so grateful for our missionaries who are serving throughout the world because of the International Mission Board and North American Mission Board, and they need us to pray for them. Missionaries face many challenges that will attempt to hinder the Gospel. Let's heed the apostle Paul's exhortation for all churches to lift our missionaries in prayer for God's Word to go forth (1 Timothy 2:1-3).
5. Churches may die if they don't pray.
This is a sad reality but a real one. Without a vital connection to the Holy Spirit, churches may lose their candlestick. Churches that return to their first love will experience a dynamic power within their congregations (Revelation 2:4).
If you don't have a prayer service in your church, I urge to begin one. Invite people to prayer, call on the Lord, wait on the Lord and experience the value and vitality of prayer.