Lately, one healthy topic of discussion between staff members at CrossPoint has been about prayer.
How do we become more of a house of prayer? Are we truly a prayerful people? Are we growing in prayer?
Throughout our ministry, we should always be improving, tweaking, and pruning things as we keep in step with the Spirit in order to produce as much fruit as possible. Yes, we already include prayer in what we do, but can we pray more?
Needless to say, we could use improvement in every single area of our ministry. Though good fruit is being produced, we'd be foolish to think we have this all figured out. Here's a secret for you to know — we don't have everything figured out.
What we do know at CrossPoint is that God is alive, he has made us different to make a difference, and his work is totally worth being a part of.
Now, prayer is obviously an activity that every Christian is commanded to exercise.
Paul said, "First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people" (1 Timothy 2:1). Not only are we to pray, but we are to pray for others. By default, it's easy to pray for ourselves, but not for others — especially for those who abuse you. Jesus said, "Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you" (Luke 6:27-28).
The Bible includes many verses that command us to be prayerful people. Furthermore, how can we have a personal relationship with God if we are not prayerful? What is prayer other than simply talking with God? Every Christian is called to walk in a personal relationship with God and be prayerful.
But are we truly walking as prayerful people?
If we were honest with ourselves, I bet most of us use prayer as a last resort rather than a first go-to.
Once a problem arises, we immediately try fixing it on our own instead of handing it over to the God of the Universe. We mistakenly try to repair the damage instead of asking the Great Physician for his healing hand. It's only after we have tried restoring things ourselves that we go to God in prayer.
This is what it means to pray reactively. We wander through life prayerlessly until something bad happens. And when things get too difficult for us to handle we go to God in prayer. It's almost as if we pray just to put out fires.
Instead of only praying reactively, we should also begin praying proactively.
Some of the difficulties that force us into prayer could have been totally avoided if we would have been proactive in our prayers in the first place. We should be praying to God every step we take through life.
We act reactively (rather than proactively) in other areas than just prayer. It could even be argued that most people attend weekend church services as a reaction to their mess from last week. They come seeking comfort and encouragement for last week's troubles instead of proactively partnering with other believers to make disciples in the upcoming week.
Our Christianity is good for more than reactions. God deserves more of our attention and trust than just rescuing us for our mistakes.
He is able to guide us. He can show us the way to life, good direction, and grant us discernment.
There's a lot of good in praying to God reactively! He can certainly comfort us in every affliction, rescue us from hurts, and pick us up when we're low. That is usually where our prayers begin. As God matures us and sanctifies us in his truth, he teaches us how to pray proactively too.
Jesus has been producing a lot of good fruit at CrossPoint. I get to serve primarily in Lindsborg, and I've seen firsthand that his church is growing. For instance, children have come up to me quoting Bible verses, our Grow Groups are serving different places around town, and we celebrated two Lindsborg baptisms this month.
We have plenty to proactively pray about! We want more of these fruits to keep on coming!
May we walk in this and become more of a house of prayer. I believe this is a great step in the right direction. You can't go wrong with prayer.
I need it. You need it. Our church needs it.
Being able to approach God and our church family as a reaction to things that happened last week is a great blessing. It's also a blessing to actively follow God's lead and proactively partner with the local church for the upcoming week.
It's a new week with new mercies. Let's pray, and make some new disciples in new places with the same old gospel.