It’s wonderful to get excited about prayer during a mountain top conference or after visiting a church that prioritizes prayer. But how does a church or cell group sustain prayer? Let me suggest two principles:
1. Leadership example. We’ve been reading the blogs from Rob and Cecilia. Rob believed in prayer so much that the first person he hired was the prayer pastor! Rob, Cecilia, and the staff at Cypress Creek Church exemplify prayer for others to follow. This is true of all the churches where prayer is the priority. But how do you as the pastor make prayer the priority? Or if you’re a cell leader reading this blog, how do you prioritize prayer so your cell group will follow?
2. Asking the Holy Spirit to give you the self-control to prioritize prayer. Peter the apostle says in 1 Peter 4:7: “The end of all things is near. Therefore be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray.” The NIV version here is translated correctly because it coincides with the Greek text which says that prayer is the result of self-control (this is unclear in some translations). Peter is saying that the result of a self-controlled, clear minded life is prayer. And remember that self-control is a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5: 23). You can’t control yourself but the Holy Spirit can fill you and give you the self-control to prioritize prayer. Ask him to give you self-control so that you will prioritize prayer.
I remember my good friend Kevin Strong (who is now with Jesus) read my book An Appointment with the King before it was published. He said, “Joel, I love this book, but the one problem I find with people is that they know about the need for a devotional life and to prioritize prayer but they lack the desire and passion.” I knew Kevin was right on, but I also realized that my book couldn’t instill that passion. Only God can. So it comes back to asking the Holy Spirit to work through you.
If you’re not prioritizing prayer in your church or cell group, you need to ask the God to give you the fruit of self-control so that you will prioritize prayer. He will do it and your people will be very grateful that you paved the way in prayer for them to follow.