I became a believer when I was fairly young—6 years old. Being a pastor’s kid, I had a great upbringing in the faith, filled with lots of opportunities for spiritual growth. But it was not until I was 30 years of age that I started to have a meaningful prayer life. All those years previous, I knew how to pray, but it was not a part of my daily walk. You see, I was a crisis pray-er. I prayed when either I or someone I cared about had a need.
When I was 30, the Holy Spirit changed my prayer life dramatically . . . through a powerful resource, A.W. Tozer’s book The Pursuit of God. That book gave me a deep hunger for God, which transformed my prayer life.
As people of prayer, do not under estimate the value of a good resource to stimulate, inspire, challenge or equip those you are leading.
We recently heard of a church that started praying through a prayer guide, Pray the Word for Your Church: 31 Prayers That Seek God’s Purposes and Power. Among other blessings, this small—under 100—church started seeing an unusual number of new salvations after its people started praying through the guide.
In issue 10 of Prayer Connect: “Living in the Upper Room,” author/pastor Fred Leonard talked about the importance of providing his people with what he called “on ramps” to prayer. By that he meant continual opportunities for his people to get involved in prayer. His church, Mountainview Community in Fresno, California offers its congregation two prayer initiatives (21-40 days where everyone prays on the same theme) each year where they provide a prayer guide (a resource) that all of them pray together.
Every time a church does a prayer initiative like this a passion for prayer is birthed in another handful of people. Every time a church does a prayer elective in a Sunday school class or small group, opportunity is there for more people to grow deeper in their prayer lives. Every time a church puts a Scripture-based guide in the hands of its people, and encourages and reminds them to use it, people grow in prayer and kingdom things happen.
A while ago, I had the opportunity to speak at the same church almost exactly the same weekend two years in a row. The second time I was there, just before the service, a young woman came up to me and thanked me for what I had shared the previous year, and for my book, The Power of Personal Prayer, that she had purchased. She said one of the truths I had shared, which was explained further in the book, had revolutionized her prayer life. She went on to share how she was now praying, and what it meant to her.
Don’t ever forget the power of a well-placed prayer resource. It will bring dividends!
–Jonathan Graf is the president of the Church Prayer Leaders Network and the Publisher of Prayer Connect. He is a popular speaker on the subject of prayer.