This is the final post in a series focusing on the importance of persistent prayer in the life and ministry of a pastor. We are looking at twelve key areas in which not only we as individuals need to be praying, but also our church members. Let's consider the final three today...
10. Pray for a renewed sacrificial love for others that leads to God-honoring unity.
In ministry, it is critical to do whatever it takes to pursue biblical unity. We love our people and we pray for unity. We must strive to do the best we can to wave the banner of true, loving unity in our churches. We do this because there’s nothing more powerful and God-glorifying than a church that is unified in love, being led by the Spirit of God. I’m convinced of that. Of course, Satan hates unity and seeks to bring division whenever and however he can. We must fight for unity. And the most effective way to fight is on our knees in prayer. This is hard work we must be committed to: Praying for unity and wisdom to lead well, so that this kind of Christ-exalting unity becomes a reality.
11. Pray we will do whatever it takes to reach the lost.
Sadly, for many pastors, the longer he serves in the church, the easier it gets to become numb to the lost. It is easy to become desensitized to the reality that those apart from Christ are on their way to an eternity spent separated from Him. This should break our hearts. So we plead in prayer: “Oh God, break our hearts every time we go to the grocery store that there are people who don’t know you and may I do whatever it takes; may we do whatever it takes to reach them.” Let’s pray fervently, “Oh Lord, make my heart sensitive to those far from you. May the reality of knowing they will spend an eternity separated from you if they do not come to know Christ break my heart and move me to action!”
Of course, this is a huge challenge, which is why only through prayer can it happen. We can preach and instruct about why we need to evangelize and why we need to reach the lost, but I’m convinced that it’s only through prayer that a heart of stone becomes a heart of flesh. (Ezekiel 36:26) And that’s what has to happen in and through our churches! Not only must my heart break for the lost, but the hearts of the people sitting in my congregation must break as well. Only then will we be willing to do whatever it takes to actually reach the lost with the Gospel. We need God. “Oh Lord, move in power! Help us to be outward focused not inward focused. Make us a people who are passionate to lay down our idols in order to reach the lost. Break our hearts over the things that break Your heart.”
12. Pray for the making of disciples who make disciples and the planting of biblical churches in and through our congregations.
We have been called by Jesus to go show and tell the Gospel boldly… To make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything that Jesus commanded. (Matthew 28:19-20) This means we’re not interested in just making a few disciples and planting a few churches. We want to see, by God’s grace, a mass movement of God planting hundreds and thousands of churches for His glory! Churches where the lost are being saved and disciples are being made! As we pray for the lost to come to Christ, we pray they would see that they have been called to be disciple-makers themselves. We pray these believers would see that as Christ-followers, we have all been sent out on mission, and what a joy it is! This is what our cities need. It is what our country needs. It’s what our world needs. Join with me and fervently pray the Lord makes this happen so that His fame will spread to the ends of the earth.
Questions to reflect on:
Where is your prayer life strongest right now? Where is it weakest?
What is one step you could take to improve your personal prayer life?
How can you encourage your leaders and those in your congregation to prioritize prayer in their own lives?
What Scripture will you cling to as you strive to make prayer central to your Underdog Church Planting?
Is there someone you know who is a “prayer warrior” who you can ask to pray for you? Do it today!