Church Growth Begins with Prayer
Our second Friday of the month focus is prayer.
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.
Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace.
In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly , as I ought to speak.” Ephesians 6:10-20
I know that seems like a strange passage for church growth, but I think we forget about the spiritual battle we all face and also that battle for the church as the body of Christ. Satan desires the demise of the church, any church, and yes, our church. There is a battle against Christians and that battle is not with those who share different theological or political beliefs than yours, but the battle is spiritual.
In this passage Paul calls for prayer and supplication for all the saints. All those who are a part of the universal church. But then he asks for prayers for himself as he, as a minister of God’s Word, may be given words to say in boldly declaring the truth of the Gospel.
Do we pray enough for the ministry of the Church in making disciples? Do we pray enough that God would add to our numbers those who are being saved? Yes, there is action on our part as well as we invite others to come and hear of Christ and to worship with us. But let us not forget to pray for the ministry of the church. Pray for the growth of the church. And pray for pastors and missionaries who are charged by God with the task of proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Pray that I may be able to declare and proclaim the whole counsel of God to you and all those who would hear. And pray for our friends and neighbors in the surrounding area that God’s Spirit would draw people to Himself, that Christ may be glorified.
And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and in earth has been given to me. 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, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20