“You will never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine.” -John Maxwell
This year, the Pacific Conference’s emphasis is one word – IMPACT. Christ wants His Church to have an impact. We are called to be the salt and light to the world around us (Matthew 5:13). Paul says that we are “His ambassadors” (2 Corinthians 5:20). None of that can happen without prayer. Jesus said that he wants us to produce much, but without Him we can do nothing (John 1:1-8).
Today’s blog is by Mitch Lee. He pastors at Jefferson, Oregon, and is the Director of Church Planting for the Conference.
I have recently been stirred by the work of JD Wald and his co-collaborators over at Seedbed. (Check ‘em out here.) As the ‘Sower-in-chief and visionary’ Wald describes the work of Seedbed as “a twenty-first century movement… whose mission is to gather, connect, and resource the people of God to sow for a great awakening.”
Sowing for a great awakening.
Many of us have turned to the search bar in recent days to look up the work and presence of the Missionary Church in the US. While on their website I was drawn to a call to Fast & Pray the first Friday of each month. (https://www.mcusa.org/prayfirst/firstfridayfast/) This prompt felt simple, elementary even. However, within the context of our movement, this call sounded profound and provocative! They write:
“Prior to the Great Awakening, a number of pastors joined together to issue what was called ‘The National Prayer Accord.’ It was a call to united prayer throughout New England. God moved in response to those prayers, and America experienced an incredible awakening.”
Sowing in prayer for an awakening.
“Perhaps somewhere in the subterranean chambers of your life you have heard the call to deeper, fuller living. You have become weary of frothy experiences and shallow teaching. Every now and then you have caught glimpses, hints of something more than you have known. Inwardly you long to launch out into the deep.” -Richard Foster
“IMPACT.” Supt. Randy writes in his blog post titled The Priority of Prayer, “We can only make an impact as we depend on God.” and goes on, “The call to pray is one of Scripture’s most commonly mentioned commands…. What’s the point? PRAYER MUST BE THE FOUNDATION OF EVERYTHING WE DO!”
Wesley famously declared, in his Plain Account, “God does nothing but in answer to prayer.” Andy Freeman reflects on this quote in his book PunkMonk (2007, p.64), “…our constant activity is fruitless without first making that humble act of kneeling to pray. I am convinced that prayer is not only our greatest privilege, but also our greatest source of power. Our prayers are still “powerful and effective” (James 5.16).”
We have a big year ahead! Refocusing the local church after two years of pandemic, voting in a new leader for the next four years, establishing strategies for reaching our communities with the Gospel of Jesus, evangelizing, discipling, equipping and empowering tomorrow’s leaders. This is no small task, but in Christ Jesus, all things are possible. And “prayer MUST be the foundation” as we seek to IMPACT the world through the Good News of the Kingdom.
I know I am not alone in desiring a big move of God in my days. As Foster states above, many of us have heard the call in the subterranean chambers of life to deeper, fuller living, inwardly longing to launch out into the deep. We can join our sisters and brothers at Seedbed, from The Missionary Church, and many others, in the work of sowing through prayer for a great awakening.
At the upcoming Pastor’s Prayer Retreat at Cannon Beach, we will be challenged toward an ongoing Rhythm of Prayer. I’d like to suggest this to all of us here. The National Prayer Accord recommends the following rhythms:
DAILY – Personally, within your household. Pray to start your days. Pray to end your days. Pray with your spouse and family. The app LECTIO 365 is a great resource for both morning and evening prayers.
WEEKLY – In private and small group prayer. Perhaps anchored in your faith community. Perhaps with a prayer partner. Certainly we celebrate Touchbase Tuesdays, where a dozen or more pastors gather each week to pray. Weekly prayer lends itself to a focus on the practices of the local church, asking the Holy Spirit to light the fires of revival by anointing our preachers and teachers each week.
MONTHLY – Place here the First Friday Fast & Prayer. Might we adopt this challenge? That our pastors, elders, and leaders would model a monthly day of committed prayer and fasting? And then to invite others to join in this joyful discipline? The suggested purpose for the monthly prayer is to pray for revival!
QUARTERLY – Prior to my joining the body at Jefferson Evangelical, they began a rhythm of three-day non-stop prayer each quarter. I’ve been deeply moved by this practice and commitment as EVERY HOUR OF EVERY DAY gets filled with prayer. Many of the hours find people in the dedicated prayer room, the other hours filled in a home. This in one of our smallest churches. Might we, as a relational network of passionate Christ followers find a quarterly prayer rhythm together?
ANNUALLY – We see prayer meetings designated to unite Christians nationally, such as the National Day of Prayer and other occasions that call millions of people to prayer. In our movement, we offer an annual Prayer Retreat for pastors. Might there be an annual offering for our broader movement?
EM Bounds writes in Power Through Prayer, “It is impossible for the preacher to keep his spirit in harmony with the divine nature of his high calling without much prayer…. Prayer freshens the heart of the preacher, keeps it in tune with God and in sympathy with the people, lifts his ministry out of the chilly air of profession, fructifies routine and moves every wheel with the facility and power of a divine unction.”
We have all been asking the Lord questions like, “What next”, and “How do we move forward, rebuild, revive, retool….” I find comfort knowing that he lovingly invites us to come boldly before his throne of grace, to ask, seek, and knock. Let us be stirred by those committed to praying for the next Great Awakening, sowing in prayer for revival. May we be counted among those sowing in this manner.
Written by Mitch Lee