Cultivating a Movement: Pray Through!

I’m in the home stretch of a sermon series on Cultivating a Movement (see Surrender, Rely on God’s Power, Pursue Holiness, Scatter Seeds, and Preserve Unity).

Too Busy Not to Pray!
We often live as if we’re too busy to pray. In an effort to get things done, we cut out prayer time. This is a pitfall even for people in ministry. A. W. Tozer said, “In an effort to get the work of the Lord done, we often lose contact with the Lord of the work.”

In reality, we are too busy NOT to pray (see Bill Hybels’ book of the same title)!

And, this is so important for the church, because prayer is the heartbeat of a movement!

In Matthew 6, Jesus teaches his followers about prayer. He says they shouldn’t pray for the purpose of impressing others. Rather, Jesus says …

… when you pray, go to your room, shut the door, and pray to your Father who is present in that secret place. Your Father who sees what you do in secret will reward you. (Matthew 6.6, CEB)

After talking about prayer, Jesus turns his attention to fasting, and instructs his followers …

When you fast, brush your hair and wash your face. Then you won’t look like you are fasting to people, but only to your Father who is present in that secret place. Your Father who sees in secret will reward you. (Matthew 6.17-18).

In both cases, Jesus says God is “present in that secret place.”

In The Circle Maker, Mark Batterson states, “In the grand scheme of God’s story, there is a footnote behind every headline. The footnote is prayer. And if you focus on the footnotes, God will write the headlines.”

Jesus begins his model prayer, “Our Father …” Our prayers are determined by our view of God. Batterson suggests, “The size of our prayers depends on the size of our God. And if God knows no limits, then neither should our prayers.”

Jesus prays, “Bring in your kingdom so that your will is done on earth as it’s done in heaven” (Matthew 6.10), or in the traditional language, “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. ”

This is a core prayer for a movement. It’s all about God’s kingdom!

Batterson suggests, “The bigger the vision, the harder you’ll have to pray!” God has given the church a mission, a mission that’s bigger than we are. It’s more than we can accomplish on our own. We must rely on God’s power. Prayer is the heartbeat of a movement!

Some practical ways I invited people at Centre Grove to pray through, especially over the next several weeks (at least through Easter), include …

  1. Use the prayer guide for cultivating a movement (we’ve been praying some of these prayers for a while) …
  2. Develop a prayer idiosyncrasy, a prayer practice that’s unique and meaningful for you.
  3. Practice fasting, perhaps the Wesley Fast (described in this post on fasting).

Prayer is so important. Prayer can never be the only thing we do, but it will always be the most important thing we do! R. A. Torrey said, “There have been revivals without much preaching; but there has never been a mighty revival without mighty prayer!”

Prayer is the heartbeat of a movement!

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