Unfortunately, the repetitive sort of processes the “children of mammon” apply as norms to make money or be a successful student get little consideration in effectively leading revival. Non-growing churches tend to do things on a whim. If there is to be Revival in a Plain Brown Wrapper this whimsical way of going about God’s work has to change! Prayer must be a priority.
• We want praying people, but do we have a system to develop praying people and sustain corporate prayer?
• Good stewards are needed, but do we have a system to develop people who tithe and give?
• We want each person to find a place to serve, but do we have a system to accomplish this?
Thoreau said, “It’s not enough to be busy, so are the ants.” The question is, “Are we busy accomplishing the things we really want to get done?
Let’s look at how to create a sustainable prayer systems for a church of any size for your revival in a plain brown wrapper.
The apostles made prayer a priority. Their adherence to the daily hour of prayer schedule at the Temple put them in the place for the miracle to happen to the lame man. Paul instructed Timothy, “…first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;” (1 Timothy 2:1). The apostles’ priority and Paul’s instruction do not just happen in any local church.
Systems for Prayer
An effective prayer program requires a system. Some suggestions that work for others.
For a Church planter – Emphasize one corporate prayer time each week. It can be pre-service prayer. This may be the first “church standard” you put in place. If a person, is not at corporate prayer the person does not sing or play a musical instrument. Such a standard is sustainable. It gives a missionary the chance to show the spiritual priorities.
For a Church of 50 – Every gathering includes pre-service prayer and an additional corporate prayer meeting is scheduled one time each month.
For a Church of 100 – Continue the same system as for 50 people, except move to having family prayer each week and add a quarterly 12-hour prayer chain. The prayer chain (generally done on a Saturday, the same Saturday of each month – perhaps the second Saturday) is done with different church members making a one-hour commitment. The goal is to eventually have several people praying each prayer shift. If the church has full-time use of a facility, schedule the prayer chain at that facility.
For a Church of 175 people – Continue the process for a church of 100, but move the 12-hour prayer chain to a monthly event on the calendar.
For a Church of 250 – Continue the above, except add a quarterly prayer chain that continues for 24 hours per day for 7 days. The prayer shifts are either 2 or 3 hours. If possible, have all participants pray at the church.
Revival in a Plain Brown Wrapper Requires Prayer
My latest book Revival in a Plain Brown Wrapper (which has been my best seller to date) puts the emphasis on prayer. In the coming year we will expand our prayer program to train children to pray and increase the number of people praying each shift of the monthly prayer chain from 3 people per hour to 5 per hour.
For any Revival in a Plain Brown Wrapper church, if the question is, “Will there be prayer meeting this week?” the answer is always, “Yes.”
Great churches have leaders that preach and teach prayer, then those leaders systematize prayer, repeat prayer, sustain prayer, duplicate prayer and expand prayer!
Systematic prayer is the absolute foundation for sustained revival.
As always, I’m interested in your own strategy for maintaining and sustaining a ministry of prayer. What works today will need to be adjusted from time to time. As we have experienced, momentum depends on adaptation. Share with me and others what has worked for you to sustain prayer for the church.