- Created on Wednesday, 25 January 2017 18:30
Bob Allums is the Director of seeJesus Seminars: A Praying Life and served as a pastor for many years before joining the mission.
If you want to meet a praying pastor, talk to a man who is planting a church. Talk to him before he plants a church or six months after it is running. Talk to him while it's struggling along in the first year. But don't talk to him after he's seen some success.
This isn't a hypothetical scenario. It's the story of New York City's Redeemer Presbyterian Church, for one. Keller writes:
It is accurate to say that Redeemer was born in prayer. I think it is honest to also say, however, that subsequently, through the rest of our history, Redeemer has not been known as a praying church, despite the fact that we have always had a cadre of people who both formally and informally supported the gospel work through prayer. (Source)
I suspect this is the story of many of our churches and ministries. Call it fear or call it excitement, we run to God quickly when starting a new venture -- be that a church plant of a new pastorate. But we do a few things right, and we get very busy repeating those things. We get new ideas, and we trust in them. And before we know it, we stop praying.
But the truth is that none of us can count on other people praying for our churches. We have to learn to do it ourselves. Ole Hallesby writes, "The work of praying is prerequisite to all other work in the kingdom of God, for the simply reason that it is by prayer we couple the powers of heaven to our helplessness" (Prayer, 82). We can do, do, do all the work in the world to no effect if we are doing it all in our own strength.
Jonathan Edwards once said that prayer is only the voice of faith. We need to learn to speak with this voice, to cry out boldly with this voice, and to exercise this voice in all the seasons of our life and work. But can someone teach us, as pastors, how to pray?
Tim Keller asked us to take Redeemer's leadership through a prayer seminar because it is, in Keller's words, "the most practical training in prayer possible." Since that time, we've led hundreds of other pastors through an approach to prayer that actually works in the nitty-gritty of everyday life and ministry.
Let's not assume that someone else is praying for our churches. Join us in Lakeland, FL, and let's learn together how to protect, challenge, encourage, and actually change our churches through prayer.
- Bob Allums, Director of A Praying Life