Pastor Top: Leading His Church to Pray


Pastor Top is bi-vocational pastor of Little Oak Baptist Church somewhere in a rural area in IL. Top was more than a little disturbed about the prayer life of both he and his church. He spent a good amount of time praying about what to preach, the folks at Little Oak, and his personal concerns yet he felt his prayer life was a bit routine. He had thought about getting up earlier yet wasn’t sure the issue was the length of his prayer yet rather the attitude of his heart. Examining the church he felt they were all in a rut. The Wednesday night prayer meeting was not well attended or prayer focused. They spent more time talking about people’s ailments than being concerned about the condition of their society.
Last week a young adult in the area committed suicide. How hopeless he must have felt to take his own life. He left a wife and child to wonder what went wrong. There were also the never ending arrests listed in the paper for drug and alcohol charges. The hopelessness of the population seemed vastly disconnected from the folks in the pew. Jesus said 10 A thief comes only to steal and to kill and to destroy. I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance. John 10:10 (HCSB) It would seem that the thief in the form of Satan the great deceiver was stealing a life of hope from the people that lived in Top’s region. He worked with people who were hopeless. Johnny had talked with Top about his failing marriage and wondered if Top would pray for him. Top had mentioned him at prayer meeting and noticed the casual looks folks gave him. He knew personally that some of the people there had experienced divorce in the lives of their families. There were grandchildren they rarely saw, sons or daughters who struggled to make sense out of life following divorce. There was allot of hurt in the world both in the church and outside of the church.
Praying was mentioned both directly and indirectly throughout scripture. As believers we are challenged to call upon the name of the Lord to heal our land, mend our hurts, put our families back together, and be saved. The word call seems more intense than pray. Call reminded Top of when his mom would call him for supper as a child. Growing up in the country he would walk or ride his bike a great distance from home. When supper time came he could often hear his mom’s voice calling him. Should he not answer right away her voice would take on a more urgent and desperate tone. She was worried about him. Top would not describe his approach to prayer as calling upon the Lord. Many days he had no sense of concern or desperation about the plight of his people. His focus must become more urgent, God directed instead of self-directed.
Desperation was not in Top’s prayer life or the prayer life of his church. They might be more complacent or even depressed about the state of society. Top remember reading about the prayer life of Johnathan Edwards. He was very concerned about the moral decay of his community in the 1700’s. People were given to drunkenness, night walking, and carousing. Edwards began to arise early and call upon the name of the Lord for souls of his community. He wrote his friends in ministry and urged them to pray also. Following months of prayer a young woman mysteriously died in his community. Following her death he preached the sermon “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God”. People were saved, lives transformed and along the eastern seaboard of the U.S. a great awakening broke out. The awakening followed the prayers of the people crying out to God.
Top realized his prayer life he was lacking a consistent focus on the plight of the people. He and others would pray occasionally for the lost in their area yet rarely knew their names. They would pray about the social ills yet in a critical tone. He must call upon the name of the Lord to move in salvation way in his area. Top must pray that fervently and daily. He must discover the compassion of Christ for his people. This begins with confessing his lack of concern and then grows to the point of communicating his concern to God. His prayer life was also lacking urgency in calling upon the Lord.
Jesus pointed out in John 10:10 A thief comes only to steal and to kill and to destroy. I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance. The abundant life promise of the Lord may be waiting on the concern of the Christina.
Will you join me in praying daily for a movement of God in our area?

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