In several of my latest blog posts, I’ve mentioned the Risk Factors of church planting, and I’ve provided you with very concrete scales of measurement. A higher score means higher chance of success. But now I want to shift focus into something I call “spiritual dependence”. Though it’s equally, if not more important than the Risk Factors, it’s the part of the “readiness” equation that you can’t measure on a scale.
Dependence Through Prayer
Prayer is a key part of spiritual dependence. Prayer is our critical weapon, and it can be fostered in numerous ways, beginning with ourselves. We have a need to be men and women of prayer, and we also have a need for intercessors who uphold us. I am blessed to receive an email each day from an intercessor of mine whose only request is that I inform him how to pray that day. There is never any feedback, only an understanding that he will pray. Another intercessor weekly sends me a text message for the same purpose.
Movement-wide, prayer can be cultivated in some ways that are familiar to you, and some which may be new. Intercessor teams, prayer letters, social media blasts, prayer retreats, prayer walks, focused times of fasting, and regular times of office prayer.
At an organizational level you can schedule staff prayer for fifteen minutes at the same time each day. Choose a reoccurring monthly day of prayer and fasting, with team members being encouraged to fast for at least one meal that day. In anticipation of major events you can have elongated calls to fasting, including “Daniel Fasts” where participants choose an element of their lives (television, for instance) to refrain from during the fast. Ask God to give you those who can lead segments of your intercession, and let them run with it. Never ever have a meeting of any kind without offering a prayer. Try things for a specified period of time, and let some things drop if they’re ineffective. I once was a part of a “Go-To-Meeting” national prayer meeting and it flopped.
When the Map Matters
One last thought on prayer. As a regional leader, I would always have a map on my wall, and I would always take a map with me wherever I went. The visual reminder of the span of our region and the harassed lives that comprised it was a powerful stimulus to prayer for myself and others. At the conclusion of many meetings I would pull out a map, unfold it, and gather people around to pray.
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