If you’re a pastor, you should certainly be striving for greater excellence as a communicator, as a leader and as an organizer. You need a vision. You need a strategy. You need a solid, biblical theology of ministry and the church. But you can have all of these and remain stuck in mediocrity without God’s power. The greatest work you’ll ever commit to as a pastor is the work of prayer.
Praying churches, those that experience the miraculous power of God, are led by praying pastors. This is why Jesus spent time teaching his disciples how to pray. He knew that once he had ascended back to heaven, his church would need to connect with him, and the way we connect with God and receive his direction and his power is through prayer.
Jesus gave his disciples at least four reasons to keep on growing in the area of prayer.
1. Prayer is an act of dedication.
It is an opportunity to express our devotion to God as well as our dependence on God. Our biggest problem when it comes to the frequency and passion in our praying is that we don’t feel the need to completely depend on God. The reason why a lot of leaders fail to pray is because it costs us something. It requires our openness and transparency with God. Prayer is a declaration of dependence upon God.
In John 15:5-7, Jesus is giving an illustration of a plant and he says, “If a man remains in Me and I in him, he will bear much fruit, but apart from Me, you can do nothing. If anyone doesn’t remain in Me, he’s like a branch that’s thrown away and withers. Such branches are picked up and thrown into the fire and burned. But if you remain in Me [if you be dependent upon Me, express your trust in Me] and My words remain in you, you can ask whatever you wish and it will be given to you.”
That’s an unbelievable promise in prayer! It’s like a branch and vine. The branch is connected to the vine or stem. If you cut the branch off, it loses all its strength and power. When we fail to pray, we wither.
2. Prayer is an act of communication.
You can’t communicate with somebody unless you know your relationship to them. What is our relationship to God? In John 15:15-16, Jesus says, “I no longer call you servants because a servant doesn’t know his master’s business. Instead I have called you friends for everything I’ve learned from My Father, I’ve made known unto you. You didn’t choose Me, but I chose you to go and bear fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in My name.”