As an ARC church planter, I’ve given up on a few things. I’ve given up on hair like Shaun Nepstad’s, lists like Chris Hodges’s, and a golf swing like Justin Dailey’s. We all tend to give up on things that we find challenging. However, one thing we cannot give up on is the local church prayer meeting. We need the fires of prayer to burn brighter in the heart of each local church. Our cities are depending on it!
When introducing the parable of the persistent widow, Luke gives us insight into Jesus’s motive: “Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up” (Luke 18:1). Jesus knew we would all be tempted to give up on persistent prayer.
In our culture, it’s easy to give up on things that are difficult or not applauded, like the prayer meeting. We may not admit that we’ve forsaken the prayer meeting, but perhaps we’ve stopped giving it our attention. Yet, God still rewards the prayer meeting because prayer is the secret to supernatural power.
Charles Spurgeon, the great British preacher, took his visitors to the basement of his church to observe the Monday night prayer meeting. He referred to that meeting as “the powerhouse of the church.” The prayer meeting might not be the most-liked meeting on social media, but it is certainly liked by God, and His power is at work every time we pray.
William Temple said, “When I pray, coincidences happen; when I stop praying, the coincidences stop happening.” Do you feel like your church strategies and systems are right, but you can’t see God at work? Are you desperate to experience more divine coincidences? This might be the moment to get your church on its face again and cry out to God in prayer.
When my wife and I parachuted into Kansas City and planted Radiant Church, a weekly prayer meeting was our first priority.
Desperate people tend to pray, and we were desperate for God’s help.
Like you, we knew we needed God’s power to plant a church. During these first few years, prayer has become central to our church’s DNA, and our people have fallen in love with prayer meetings.
Here are a few of the benefits of a fiery local church prayer meeting:
Unity. The prayer meeting is less stage-driven than Sunday services and gives the opportunity for everyone to unite around the vision of the church. A passionate prayer meeting accelerates the vision more than a video, website, or sign in the lobby ever could. People quickly learn the vision of a church when they are lifting their voices in prayer together for people to know God, find freedom, discover purpose, and make a difference.
Power. The prayer meeting creates extended time to pray for miracles. We are desperate for God to empower us to be effective witnesses to our cities.
Boldness. I often joke that I feel ready to charge hell after the prayer meeting, like in the early church (Acts 4:31) when boldness meant that the people of God had been praying. Boldness is not a personality type; it is evidence of God at work in our lives. We need boldness in the twenty-first century church like early Christians needed it in the first century.
John Wesley said, “Prayer is where the action is.” In this challenging season of leading the local church, put energy toward being a praying church. Prayer isn’t the only strategy, but it’s certainly the first strategy!
David and Renata Perkins dreamed of planting a life-giving local church for years before planting Radiant Church in Kansas City with their four children (ARC church plant number 600). Before planting Radiant, David spent 20 years mobilizing prayer. He’s led thousands of students in prayer through youth conferences and taught on prayer in local churches in the United States, South America, Africa, Asia, and Europe. To learn more visit radiantchurchkc.com.