One Question All Church Leaders Must Answer

From the Editor: This article was published years ago, but the importance of this content rings truer than ever and has eternal implications if ignored. You see, there is one question that church planters must answer and it makes all the difference.

I read somewhere that “either your gods will cross international borders or your armies will.” In evaluating our country, what would you say is happening?  In looking at the world, what is your judgment?

I watched a documentary on the British aristocracy and how their waning finances in the late 1890s were infused with American heiress’ money; cash for titles so to speak. Maybe what we need is a spiritual infusion in our country and our churches.  We need more depth and fervor. We need men and women of prayer. We need serious disciples.  I’m not interested in my legacy being spiritual luke-warmness, are you?

As church planters, what do we do? 

Do we look around the country, see what’s working and try that? Do we attend conferences picking up the latest books, implementing the most recent trends hoping to excite our people for spiritual things?  Do we hope that the conference will revive us; kick start our flagging spiritual life. I don’t believe that is the answer.

Many years ago, my husband, Phil, surveyed large successful churches.  He had a TV crew and filmed each pastor asking him what made his church grow; you would recognize many of these men. They did many wonderful things: verse by verse exposition, music that moved the heart; great follow-up; super youth groups; sports teams… you name it; they had it. But, in each of the churches, there was a common denominator….a lack of organized prayer.

Let me share what I’ve been reading lately.

I’ve just gotten a pamphlet written on prayer by JC Ryle called, A Call To Prayer.  His first paragraph is very succinct.  He says, “I have a question to offer you.

It is contained in three words: Do you pray?”

He continues, “The question is one that none but you can answer. 

Whether you attend public worship or not, your Minister knows.  Whether you have family prayers in your house or not, your relations know.  But whether you pray in private or not, is a matter between yourself and God.”

Later he writes, “A man may preach from false motives. A man may write books and make fine speeches and seem diligent in good works, and yet be a Judas Iscariot. But a man seldom goes into his closet, and pours out his soul before God in secret, unless he is in earnest.  The Lord himself has set his stamp on prayer as the best proof of true conversion.  When he sent Ananias to Saul in Damascus, he gave him no other evidence of his change of heart that this, ‘Behold, he prayeth.’” Acts9:11

The Lord himself has set his stamp on prayer as the best proof of true conversion. Click To Tweet

You cannot force your people to pray.  

Initiating prayer meetings many times results in people praying for illnesses of co-workers and extended or distant family members; needed, but not what I’m discussing here. Incorporating confessional public prayers are not necessarily the answer.  I can only pose the question along with JC Ryle, “Do you pray?”

I hope you are as convicted as I am.

Let’s get on our knees and pray for an infusion of spiritual power in our church, in our city, in our country, and our world. You may have some prayer warriors in your church already praying, and you don’t know it.  Find them and pray with them for, “Prayer sets in motion the whole power of God.” Alfred Monod