022 - Why Corporate Prayer Is a Critical Church Growth Principle - Leaders.Church

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022 – Why Corporate Prayer Is a Critical Church Growth Principle

What’s in this Episode?

You know, you might hear a statement from the old timers. Something like, “hey, I gotta head out to the prayer meeting.” Prayer meetings, kind of old school, right? The reality is prayer meetings, times of corporate prayer, are absolutely critical to the church. And you might ask, “well, how can I make that a reality in my church?” Well, you’ve come to the right place here at Church Tips, because that’s exactly what we’re going to talk about today.


Read the Transcript

Dick Hardy 0:30
I remember back in the day, when I first came on staff at James River, the pastor, the worship pastor and myself all with our wives headed off to visit Brooklyn Tab in New York to view their prayer meeting. The James River, at that point was on the very early… only like a couple of years going in their prayer meeting, and we went to see a prayer meeting that was beyond anything I’d ever seen before. And the presence of the Lord was there in such a real way and I remember Pastor John saying to Randy me, “we’re not here yet, but this is where we’re going.” And I have just watched the journey at James River over these years, probably 20 years since that point, where I’ve watched the presence of the Lord come into be very real in the time of prayer together, much like what we saw when we were there at Brooklyn at Tab. Doesn’t happen overnight, but it was an absolutely powerful time for us to be together in the presence of the Lord and see God do things way beyond what we ever could have seen previously. Now, we want to jump in today to talk to you about why corporate prayer is so critically important as a growth component to your church. Now, if you kind of go, “oh, yeah, come on. That’s old school,” you’re gonna miss this entirely. Pay attention to what we’re talking about, because these are very, very real things for you to factor. We’re going to talk about five things and Jonathan and I experienced both of these because we were on staff at James River at separate times. But why don’t you get us started here, Jonathan, with the very first point?

Reason #1: Prayer Meetings Center The Body On Prayer

Jonathan Hardy 2:06
Yeah, so the first thing is that prayer meetings center the body on prayer. So basically, it just keeps the church focused on dependence on God. And that’s the bottom line there is we have to keep coming together corporately and seeking God together because that’s helping all of the church body at your local church, stay focused on this dependence on God. And it helps everyone get on the same page with what’s going on. And then as as a pastor, maybe you’re kind of walking people through some of the things you’re celebrating some things, you’re talking about what’s to come and so people are really seeing and understanding what’s happening in the community and in the church. And this is going to help the church then keep that focus on prayer as the whole body and I might even mention to when we’re talking about prayer meetings, we’re not talking about, you know, everyone just coming and sending, probably should have qualified that. You know, this isn’t just hours of just like preparing, because there’s that stereotypical…

Reason #2: Prayer Meetings Provide An Opportunity For The Pastor To Teach

Dick Hardy 3:09
Everybody goes in a corner and that’s not what we’re talking about here. Second thing is that prayer meetings provide an opportunity for the pastor to teach. So to this point, you’re not just coming into an empty room and praying.

Jonathan Hardy 3:24
Lay it out a little bit.

Dick Hardy 3:25
Well, you are praying, but you’re doing varieties of things. You’re worshiping, you’re starting with praise and worship. The pastor comes up and maybe gives the kind of thing you were talking about. Celebrate something good that’s happened. And you’re going into a time of prayer for this, prayer for this. Yeah, maybe you’re singing a song again, you’re mixing all these things. It moves very quickly, but there’s always a component in there where the pastor can teach. Here’s the deal, I’ll have pastors tell me or our people they know how to pray. Your people don’t know how to pray. You don’t know how to pray you don’t know. We’re all learning how to pray. And so it is a great privilege for the pastor to be able to teach people on prayer. And where’s the end of that? There is no end. There is always more to learn on prayer, and you want to do everything you can when you’re teaching people on prayer to debunk myths, you know, people will say to you, “oh, well, prayer meetings are boring.” Really? So when God asks us to commune with him, that’s boring? It’s your job as a pastor to help debunk that myth. “Prayer meetings are crazy.” Really? Well, you teach and you guide. They’re not. Prayer meetings are this prayer meetings are that. You need to help teach people what prayer is to look like at your church and do it from a biblical perspective, not what your heritage says or how you used to do it, but do it the way the Bible says. That’s all part of the teaching that you need to do with the body.

Reason #3: Prayer Meetings Create Anticipation In The Body

Jonathan Hardy 5:05
Yeah, very good. Okay, number three: prayer meetings create anticipation in the body. So there’s this sense of expectancy that happens, because the body is coming together on a regular basis. I know James River, you guys have been doing it for, you know, years, every Wednesday evening. And, and so that’s just it’s a weekly thing. It’s a weekly rhythm. So whether it’s weekly, whether it’s monthly, whatever the frequency that you do, the fact is, it creates this anticipation, creates the expectancy. And that’s a biblical mindset that we need to have to believe God for greater things. And when we are praying and believing as a church, not only for the needs of the individuals, but we’re praying for the church as a whole. That’s what’s going to lead to the future growth that God wants to bring to the church.

Reason #4: Prayer Meetings Deepen The Spiritual Life Of Individuals In The Church

Dick Hardy 5:51
Exactly. Number four, prayer meetings, deepen the spiritual life of individuals in the church. So you pull together corporately, and you want the body to grow corporately. But the corporate body is made of individuals of this person, this person, this person, and you want those individuals to grow in their walk with the Lord and deepen their walk with the Lord. I can’t tell you the number of times that I’ve been in the prayer service, and something is either said from the pastor or from the worship where the Lord speaks to my heart, and really challenges me in a particular area. I’m growing spiritually, as I’m part of the body in its growth together. So that’s a critical component, is to deepen the individual walk of people. The fifth one, Jonathan.

Reason #5: Prayer Meetings Set The Stage For Numeric Growth

Jonathan Hardy 6:48
Fifth one. Fifth and finally, prayer meeting set the stage for numeric growth. Kind of mentioned that a moment ago, but the reality is, you know, numeric growth, based on human efforts is shallow.

Dick Hardy 7:02
Very limited.

Jonathan Hardy 7:04
And you can do certain things and you know, you’ll see a little bit of progress just by doing some natural things that are going to work. But when you are dependent on God and when the body, a corporate body is dependent on God, through times of prayer, it’s deepening their commitment to the Lord, it’s going to result in greater growth and greater I mean, it could be exponential has that potential because of the reliance on the Lord, for him to bring the increase. It’s not our job to bring the increase. Our job is to do what we can to be faithful and to fulfill his calling and purpose, but let him do the work.

Dick Hardy 7:39
Exactly. And to Jonathan’s point on, you know, you could do some things and you’re a talented pastor/leader and you’re smart enough, and you read enough and you listen to enough podcasts that you could do this, this and this and you could grow your church on your talent to a certain point, but if you’ll cover this thing, in your prayer and corporate prayer, you’ll grow it higher. Who knows where that’ll go! And it’s because you’ve called on the Lord, because the Lord could do way more with your talents than you can do on your own.

Recap:

Jonathan Hardy 8:11
That’s right. Well, let’s just do a quick recap on the five things here. So, prayer meetings center the body on prayer. Second is prayer meetings provide opportunity for the pastor to teach. They also, number three, create anticipation in the body. Number four, prayer meetings deepen the spiritual life of individuals in the church, and number five, prayer meetings set the stage for numeric growth. So, these are the things that are so important, and that’s why it’s so critical having some sort of corporate prayer, that that’s what’s going to help you reach more people in your community.

Dick Hardy 8:42
Exactly right.

Jonathan Hardy 8:43
Well, anything else?

Dick Hardy 8:44
Well, you know, one of the things I want to mention, Jonathan, is we’re getting ready to launch the kidmin track in Church University, and there’s a component in that kid’s ministry training of prayer. Well, how you infuse that in the life of children’s ministry, because that’s your role, you want to infuse that all the way through youth, children, worship and so on. So you got to keep your eye open for that. That’s coming up here in the next couple of days and you’re going to love what you see in the kidmin track of church University.

Jonathan Hardy 9:09
Yeah, it’s going to be awesome. Well, hey, if you have not yet subscribed, please subscribe on YouTube or on the podcast. And also please rate and review this Church Tips show. We want to hear your feedback and be able to get the word out to more and more people. So, your feedback is super helpful to us. Well, thank you so much for being with us today. We will look forward to seeing you next time. Until then, be blessed.

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