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“Here’s our problem: prayerlessness is spiritual suicide.”

~ John OnwuchewaPrayer, 39.

“This is our problem–and it seems many churches simply don’t realize how little they pray together, or how little their prayers reflect the bigheartedness of God.” pray more. Not rocket science, I know.”

~ John OnwuchewaPrayer, 14.

“Something is wrong with us. Our natural desire to pray comes from Creation. We are made in the image of God. Our inability to pray comes from the Fall. Evil has marred the image. We want to talk to God but can’t. The friction of our desire to pray combined with our badly damaged prayer antennae, leads to constant frustration. It’s as if we’ve had a stroke.” 

Paul E. MillerA Praying Life2.

“Almost every Christian leader today laments a lack of personal prayer, but very few are determined to do anything about it. We are not sufficiently concerned to make a radical alternation in our diaries and get down to the ‘unproductive’ and unnoticed battle of assaulting heaven. We would all prefer to be compared with Hezekiah rather than his father Ahaz, but it was the latter who ‘shut the doors of the Lord’s temple’, and in our lack of prayer we have done just that.”

Brian H. EdwardsRevival! A People Saturated With God76-77.

“Here’s our problem: prayerlessness is spiritual suicide!” 

John OnwuchekwaPrayer39.

“A total absence of prayer in the church isn’t a likely problem. Maybe a church somewhere out there never prays at all, but I don’t assume that’s happening in yours. I don’t know your church, But I bet there are times you come together to pray. Such praying may sparse and sporadic, but it happens. And therein lies what I think is the biggest problem: not a complete lack of prayer, but too little prayer.”

John OnwuchekwaPrayer, 18.

Prayer

“The greatest tragedy of life is not unanswered prayer, buy unoffered prayer.”

F.B. Meyer 

prayer-rainer

No Prayer, No Power

The early church in Jerusalem was at a crisis point.

This time the problem was not an external foe. It was not heretical teaching in the fellowship.

It was simply a body of believers that had misplaced priorities.

The church was in danger of losing its passion for prayer.

Good Question, Bad Answer

The congregation had a legitimate question. The story is told in Acts 6:1-7. They wanted to know who would take care of the Hellenistic Jewish widows. Who in the church would take care of those widows and get them food every day? Good question. After all, the Hebraic Jewish widows were getting their food. We can’t leave out one group, the church declared, while another group gets its needs met.

It seems, though, that some were suggesting that the apostles should add this duty to their growing list of responsibilities. That was a bad answer. Still, the Twelve handled the situation well. They selected seven men of godly character to lead in this ministry. The widows were fed. The church was pleased. And the number of disciples multiplied greatly.

Crisis averted.

Fascinating Response

The particularly fascinating response in this passage takes place in Acts 6:4. The apostles said: “But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the preaching ministry.”

They could not, under any circumstances, neglect prayer or the preaching ministry. As important as pastoral care to the widows was, prayer and preaching could not be minimized.

So we leaders in churches around the world have rightly held high the priority of preaching in our churches. That clarion call should never be silent.

But it’s the first part of Acts 6:4 that we don’t see often in churches in America today: “But we will devote ourselves to prayer . . .”

Prayerlessness = Powerlessness

Did you get that? The Jerusalem church would not just have a weak prayer meeting. Prayer would not be an addendum to their worship services. Prayer would not be simply preparation for the consumption of food.

The church would be devoted to prayer.

The church at Jerusalem had power because they had prayer.

In a study we did several years ago on the most effective evangelistic churches in America, we found one of the highest correlated factors to that effectiveness was a passion for and a devotion to prayer.

It seems like we have little power in our churches today because we have little prayer.

Not just perfunctory prayer.

Not just an offertory prayer.

Not just a hospital prayer.

Powerful churches have a passion for prayer. They are consumed with prayer. They are devoted to prayer.

For the rest of the post…

Dave Butts has written a chapter in the short book, My House Shall Be a House of PrayerThe name of the chapter is, Prayerless Leaders = Prayerless Church. Butts write that many church leaders do not lead in the area of prayer…

For many churches, one of the biggest roadblocks to increased prayer is the indifference of–or even opposition from–its leaders (elders, deacons, board members). Many leaders simply do not recognize the importance of prayer to the life of a church. 

(My House Shall Be a House of Prayercomplied and Edited by Jonathan L Graf and Lani C, Hinkle, 32)

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