Pray that Prayer – church
In order to put this series together, finding stories about the prayer that has founded and sustained churches was not difficult; but getting the prayer warriors who had done the praying to tell those stories was remarkably difficult. I have come to the conclusion that the most courageous prayer warriors are a shy and self effacing breed, so determined that all the glory should go to God that it’s very hard to extract their story.
One lady I spoke to was not prepared to be interviewed for radio, but her story of being involved in the team who prayed for revival in their church was one I’d have loved you to hear. She told me of the months of prayer involved and some of the surprising things that The Lord had them doing, from getting up in the small hours of the night to pray, to marching around the site of the church and ‘claiming’ the ground for The Lord – total obedience and sensitivity were called for.
It strikes me that we are actually better at praying for those things that really inspire passion in us such as our wayward children, ailing parents and those who are currently pulling at our heartstrings. Praying for our church communities and/or buildings comes less naturally. If we’re in a small, exhausted church we tend to be too tired and lacking in hope to pray, and if we’re in a large, buzzing church there’s a tendency to be complacent.
But the church I have come to love, to be nurtured and inspired by was one that was founded on consistent, committed prayer by a small group of people.
Holy Trinity, just up the road in Cheltenham was down to the last three congregants and had been consigned for closure by the diocese when those last three ladies committed themselves to ongoing, consistent prayer over a prolonged period of time. That church is now vibrant with life with between 600 and 800 people attending every Sunday.
You won’t find a revival throughout history that wasn’t founded on a solid foundation of prayer. The church is the body of Christ – it is our foundation and our root. Our leaders need constant prayer for protection, encouragement and sustenance; our church grounds needs to be claimed for The Lord again and again and again.
Our church, the body of Christ, should be the first thing we pray for, not the last.