“Making Disciples” is the church’s number 1 assignment given directly from the lips of Jesus in Matthew 28:19. Aubrey Malphurs, prolific writer/professor at Dallas Theological Seminary lists ten major barriers that churches are facing as they strive to make disciples. We are looking at these ten components more closely in the next several blogs. Here’s his list again:
- Lack of vision;
- Lack of outreach and passion;
- Congregations not willing to change;
- Lack of leadership-intentional leader training;
- Lack of prayer;
- Lack of unity;
- Congregation too comfortable;
- Little ownership of mission/purpose;
- Resistant power structures;
- Church unwilling to adapt to a changing culture.
Lack of prayer…What is the prayer temperature in your church? Is it warm or cold? Does your church ever get around to praying? Is prayer meeting a prayer meeting or an organ recital? (Aunt Mary’s liver, Bob’s colon, Jim’s stomach, the pastor’s gall bladder)
Today’s church depends far too much on our own resources and methodologies and far too little on the power of God brought down to us through prayer. When was the last time that prayer took more time in your morning worship than the music special? When was the last time you had a concert of prayer where the people poured out their hearts to God? Do your folks ever fall on their knees before the Lord in prayer and brokenness?
As a pastor I discovered that the more our congregation prayed and sought the Lord the greater our effectiveness in ministry and evangelism. If we are going to make disciples the church must return to a passion for prayer.
Disciples of Jesus pray. As we emulate Jesus we look at His prayer life and we do the same thing He did. His prayer life was real and amazing. How is your prayer life?
Let the following quotes and thoughts move you to pray and lead your church to pray.
- “I would rather teach one man to pray than ten men to preach.” Charles Spurgeon
- “Any time there is a delay (in your prayers), you can be sure that two things are going on – your faith is being tested by God and contested by Satan. Satan wants to discourage you, but God is testing your faith because he knows that faith is a muscle. Waiting develops the muscle.” Rick Warren
- “Prayer is the key in the morning and the lock at night.” Billy Graham
- “God’s child can conquer everything by prayer.” Andrew Murray
- “God does nothing but in answer to prayer.” John Wesley
- “Pray, and let God worry.” Martin Luther
- “The saint who advances on his knees never retreats.” Jim Elliott
- “I’ve got so much to do today I must spend four hours alone with God this morning for guidance.” Martin Luther
If you don’t spend much time with Him, you can’t be much like Him. R.A. Torrey
I read this quote from R.A.Torrey’s book, The Power of Prayer, when I was in high school. This quote has always challenged me. Members of our churches think that they can be like Jesus without spending time with Him in prayer and in His Word. Part of our challenge in making disciples is that our culture has saturated our thinking with the idea that everything is instant. We think that we can instantly be like Jesus without spending quality time with Him in prayer. It will not happen. Let’s pray and lead our people to pray!
If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place. 2 Chronicles. 7:13-15