Monday, August 1, 2011

13 Characteristics of a Growing Church: Prayer

Busy busy busy. It's amazing how quickly an hour, a day, a week, a month, and even a year can go by. Sometimes it seems that you blink and you miss it all.

When my life gets busy and hectic like that I have to make sacrifices. I have to give up things that I would normally do to accomodate things that I now feel that I have to do. The real temptation there is to sacrifice the "God Things" in my life for the "Jimmy Things." It is so easy to sit down and play two hours of Xbox 360 than to spend 10 minutes reading my Bible and 10 minutes in prayer. I find that I have to make a concious decision to keep God and the "God Things" a priority in my life. If I don't then I will skip them. I will miss out on a blessing and my spiritual growth will be stunted if I continue skipping my prayer time. That's why what we are talking about today is SO important!

So here's a quick recap of the Characteristics of a Growing Church:
1st Love Genuinely
2nd Hate What is Evil
3rd Cling to What is Good
4th Devoted to One Another
5th Humility
6th Excitement
7th Stability
8th Service
9th Hope
10th Patience

The 11th characteristic of a growing Church is Faithful in Prayer.
"Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer." Romans 12:12 NIV

There it is in black and white...prayer is important. As Christians and as a church we are called to be faithful in prayer. So what does it mean to be faithful?

Faithful (def):
  1. strict or thorough in the performance of duty: a faithful worker.
  2. true to one's word, promises, vows, etc.
  3. steady in allegiance or affection; loyal; constant: faithful friends.
  4. reliable, trusted, or believed.

I believe that all of these different aspects and definitions of faithfulness are important. However, I want to focus on #2 & #3 because this is the type of faithfulness being addressed in Romans 12:12.

When you are faithful in prayer you consistently spend time in prayer on a daily basis. You are praying everyday--even multiple times a day--missing your prayer time isnt' an option. You make prayer a priority and you stick to that standard in your life. Prayer becomes as much a part of you as your name or your eye color. It is important to you and it is a part of you.

When you are faithful in prayer others can be sure that you will pray for them. When I think about someone in my church and my life that is faithful in prayer I think about Ms. Edna. Edna is a senior adult in our church who I call on a regular basis with prayer requests. Why do I call Edna? I know that if I call Edna she will actually pray for Christiana and me. Her prayer habits are consistent and reliable. I know that if she tells me, "I will pray for you" she isn't going to get busy and forget and she isn't goign to push it off on the back burner. She will actually pray. Edna is faithful in prayer.

So I asked myself, what can I do to be more like Edna? How can I become more faithful in prayer? Here's what I came up with:

  1. Set a specific time
  2. Keep a list of specific things that I need to pray about
  3. Pray first. Make the decision that I am not going to do any of the "Jimmy Things" on my list until after I spend time in prayer.

Being faithful in prayer is hard and it's a choice. Choose to pray today!

More Resources:
  • "Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus." 1 Thess 5:16-18
  • "Therefore let all the faithful pray to you while you may be found;
    surely the rising of the mighty waters will not reach them." Psalm 32:6
  • “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Matthew 26:41

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