The time for a revival of prayer is past. For the last few decades, many have prayed urgently for a revival of prayer. The intention is good but in most churches there's not anyone left who can remember when congregational prayer was the heart of worship. I've talked to old timers who were children in the late 1800's that remembered fervent prayer during worship, but those folks are all in Heaven now. Revive means to bring something back, but if no living person knows what they're trying to revive - well - it's very unlikely to happen. We need something more than a revival of prayer.
It's time for a revolution of prayer! I was teaching a seminar on How to Build the House of Prayer to a church staff. The worship leader seemed uninterested, but was dutifully taking notes. As I finished talking about prayer at the heart of worship; he set strait up in his chair, slapped both hands on the table, and said as he continued to stare at his notes, "This is a paradigm shift in our whole understanding of worship."
Yes it is. For most churches; putting congregational prayer at the heart of worship is a radically different understanding of what worship is at it's very core. For most worship leaders, worship is about adoration and communion with God through music. For most preachers, worship is about proclaiming the Word of God and the music is just to get folks warmed up and ready to hear the sermon. Few understand that without congregational prayer; worship isn't.
I've taught these truths in churches all across the country. In every one, the staff and leadership say, "This is right. This is of God". But in many; it never takes hold. Nothing changes. The difference is leadership. Leadership makes the difference!
The pastor and/or worship leader will obviously have to implement changes in worship, but enduring change must germinate and come to full flower in the hearts of lay leadership. It's a wonderful thing for a minister to bring prayer to the heart of worship, but if he doesn't convince lay leadership; it will vanish with the next staff cycle.
Your church leadership will likely find it hard to believe that they've been off base on an important issue. They have to be convinced that this isn't just the latest worship fad, but actually a Biblical mandate from God.
That's where this series of articles comes in. Print up Part 1, The Priest. Give this to several church leaders, including the pastor and worship leader. Three days later, call them and ask them what they thought about it. Don't ask them to do anything, just ask them what they think about it. If they haven't looked at it. Call them again three days later. Again, no pressure. You just want them to read it.
Don't expect quick change. In fact, don't expect change at all. A farmer doesn't expect a harvest in the spring. He must cultivate the soil, plant the seed, and then patiently nurture the plant if he's to have a harvest in the fall. This first article is just cultivating the soil.
After a week or two; do the same thing with Part 4, The House of Prayer. This will plant the seed. After they've read it and you've asked them about it; don't do anything else for several weeks. Let the seed germinate. Then ask them if they're interested in seeing the whole series.
For several reasons, it has become difficult for me to get out a newsletter every month. I'll continue to send out articles from time to time, but no longer promote a 'monthly' newsletter.
Thanks for your patience and time.
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