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A Call to Prayer

Words of Encouragement blogFINAL

Dear Friends in Faith—

We certainly have a worthy goal ahead of us. We are moving to Burnsville with plans to be intentional in sharing the good news of Jesus with people who don’t know Him—yet. So how do we go about reaching the unreached in Burnsville? A common response to many a question in today’s world is “there’s an app for that, right?” But I’m old school so I like to hit the books. I take encouragement from the words of the Apostles and from the many theologians who’ve shared this mission throughout the ages. Over and over, we see the evidence: Disciple-making movements happen when prayer happens. Paul Watson’s book, Contagious Disciple-Making digs deep into effective mission work. Fully recognizing that a prayer movement precedes every disciple-making movement, he outlines the two sides to catalyzing a prayer movement: First, “we must become people of prayer. Second, we need to mobilize people to pray” (p. 79).

One can keep seeking the secret sauce for disciple-making, but what is needed isn’t a “thing,” it’s an action: prayer. Oh, how prayer should be upon our hearts! 

I see myself as one who earnestly desires a more consistent and vibrant prayer life with the Lord and I wondered if this is true of others. I sincerely want and know I need more prayer. Do you feel the same? I wanted to find out. Survey Monkey made it easy for me to send out a two-question survey to Christian friends and family this past week. The survey asked:

  • How much dedicated time do you spend in Prayer each week?
  • Do you wish you could:
    • Spend more time with God in prayer 
    • Less time with God
    • About the same amount of time with God

To my joy, this informal survey yielded a 90% overall response rate. I take this as a blessing as surely the Holy Spirit must be present for so many to click a random survey link and invest time in thoughtful response. The results were anonymous, yet most were incredibly similar. A full 75% spend less than two hours per week in prayer; yet nearly all (96%) wanted to spend more time in prayer.

We want more prayer. We pray less than we desire and we hunger for more.

We have the opportunity to grasp what we desire. No journey begins without that all- important first step. Mental health professionals speak of behavioral change as a process possible only when one first admits there is a problem. The trappings of denial can handcuff people from developing the motivation to change their behavior. Most of us want to spend more time with God, but we don’t. There’s a spiritual battle at work here. Will you slay it for the glory of God and the absolute contentment and supreme satisfaction you will reclaim when you are earnestly engaged in the prayer life you’ve yearned for?

We know our desire is to spend more time with the King. We know of the great physical and spiritual benefits of prayer, and the many gifts that abound in an active prayer life.

So how do we tackle this “problem”? We pray.

There is no substitute for God and nothing of equal value to your time alone with God. All else is temporary. If you have a blocker taking you away from your God, deny it the ability to steal time away from your Lord. Consider your time drains. Are you accepting the lessor at the expense of the greater? Is there a habit here that needs to be changed? Rethink your routine and your commitments. He is worthy.

We overcommit ourselves in an abundance of things, leaving us spent and wanting. What are we yearning for? If you say you hunger for God, for more of Him, you need to check to see where you’ve penciled Him in. An intentional relationship with God means you’ve used the pencil’s other end to erase that which is not as important to you. Set your alarm to go off 15 minutes earlier. Delete that game app. If you recognize TV as the thief of your time and the tool you use for happiness in this world, cancel your Netflix subscription. Can we not tip back that scale so that you can enjoy time with the Lord? It may mean sacrifice but He is worthy. We each know what our time-drains are. You know what yours is. Are you willing to instead invest your time in the Lord? Is your current habit or practice blocking you from your desired dialog with God? Join me in ‘outing’ the blocker so that you can experience the joy found in communing regularly with God.

Join the movement. Oh what joy awaits us! Come, Christian, join together with fellow believers at Sovereign Grace as we prepare to move to our 24/7 outpost at 500 Traveler’s Trail in Burnsville. Join together for 30 days of intentional prayer, praying as a church family, praying each day on the same topic and reading the same scripture. The scripture selected will be a guide to get you started in your prayer time. A small contingent of us are praying that you will commit to the 30 days of prayer. Holy Spirit come and be present with us as we join together for ten minutes of intentional prayer per day. Check back here, on the Sow and Grow blog, for weekly Scripture readings and prayer themes. 

Then, Lord willing, in 30 days we will be at the outpost and then... Prayer continues.

Do not stop. With the Bible as our guide, we’ve learned a new routine, developed a new habit. We are blessed and can be a blessing to others. Let’s hold each other accountable. Let’s commit to asking each other “How’s your prayer life going?” Your Father’s arms are open. Serve Him as His Son instructed in Matthew 28:19, when he said, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” For He is worthy.

“But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him.” -John 4:2

May you be blessed by the following recommended books on prayer:

 

  • Pray with Your Eyes Open by Richard L. Pratt, Jr.
  • Hunger for God – Desiring God Through Fasting and Prayer by John Piper
  • Too Busy Not to Pray: Slowing Down to be with God by Bill Hybels
  • A Call to Spiritual Reformation: Priorities from Paul and His Prayers by D. A. Carson

Books are good but God is better. I’ve always appreciated the expression, “prayer is caught not taught.” Pray for yourself and our church.

Prayer is not a burden or a task to be checked off. It is intentional time with God, a conversation between you and Him. He delights in your prayer. You delight in Him. Welcome to an ongoing conversation that you absolutely cherish and find yourself looking forward to. God will use the time you spend with Him in greater ways than you can imagine. You know Him. Seek Him!

D&J Watt

Dave & Julie Watt became members of Sovereign Grace Church in early 2017, shortly after they returned to Minnesota after 9 years on the West Coast. Married for 33 years, they have two adult children and a present, but growing, count of two grandchildren. Dave is a Development Manager for SUPERVALU while Julie spends her days writing on behalf of HCMC. Both are active in outreach ministries with Dave presently facilitating the Bridges Course at SGC.