Prayer Makes for Good Parishioners
One important question on the hearts of most church leadership is, Why do some believers grow deeper in their faith and others do not? In the life of any given church many people—probably believers—come year after year, yet they do not display much spiritual growth. In that same church other people—usually a smaller number—will clearly be growing in their walks with God. We would hope these are the ones who hold the elder and leadership positions—although non-growing people often receive those roles because of faithful attendance.
Leaders in discipleship roles (pastors and teachers) often agonize over how to get believers to grow deeper in their spiritual lives. So what makes the difference? I think the answer is simple: prayer.
People who are growing usually have a prayer life of some kind. Those who are not growing, do not. It is as simple as that.A prayer connection to God takes a believer from an act of faith (praying a sinner’s prayer, being baptized) to a relationship with God.
Prayer takes faith from a concept in one’s head to a reality in that person’s heart and soul. That is the primary reason wise churches and leaders value discipling in prayer above all other spiritual disciplines. When individual believers pray, they grow in every area of their spiritual walks.Praying believers are usually good parishioners.
Why? Because God has their ears! People who have active prayer lives on any level are open to God speaking into their lives to shape, mold, correct, encourage, and challenge them. He does not do that often in the lives of those who are not praying. Their lack of prayer says they have determined to live independently from God’s direction.
Praying believers usually support leadership better
—though sometimes you get quirky and arrogant intercessors who “hear from God” and believe they are closer to God than anyone else. As believers grow in prayer, unity becomes more important than being right.
Praying believers more quickly recognize when change or new direction is of God, and they support it more quickly than non-praying believers do.
Praying believers will be more outreach-minded than the average parishioner. Why? Because when we pray, we begin to get God’s heart—His heart for the lost, His heart for raising up worshipers (missions), and His heart of compassion for hurting people.
Why should your church care about discipling people into deeper levels of prayer? If you make this a priority, you will grow a group of believers who are Kingdom changers! Your church will grow spiritually and likely numerically as well.
“Lord, teach us to pray.”JONATHAN GRAF
is the publisher of Prayer Connect
and the president of the Church Prayer Leaders Network
(C) 2013 Prayer Connect