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Multiply: Let Us Pray

By Joe Showalter

A few years ago, one of my daughters was attending a secular college where following Jesus put her in a tiny minority. She and her Christian friends had lots of reasons to call out to Jesus for strength, wisdom, and courage to face the currents they were forced to swim against. When she had the opportunity to interact with some other Christian friends who were not in that kind of environment, she noticed that they didn’t seem to pray in the same way she and her college friends did. I was struck with her analysis: “I think the reason they don’t pray much is because they don’t need to.”

CMC has been commissioned by God to mature and multiply churches locally and globally. What’s it going to take to be faithful to this commission? What will it look like for us as individuals? What will our churches look like?

Each of us could frame the answer to that question a little differently, but I’m guessing we’d all agree that prayer will play a central role. When I first read David Garrison’s Church Planting Movements fifteen years ago, I was impressed (but not surprised) that the first of ten universal elements in a rapidly multiplying movement of church planting is extraordinary prayer.

I don’t know exactly how to define extraordinary prayer. Is it all night prayer meetings? Is it forty days of prayer and fasting? Is it getting up at 3:00 am every morning to spend three hours in prayer before going to work? Is it the consistent practice of praying in tongues? Is it teaching our children to pray and heal the sick and raise the dead? I’ve heard testimonies of all of the above, along with amazing stories of what God did in response.

One thing I’ve learned from my own experience is that prayer done out of duty or “should” doesn’t lead me to anything extraordinary. Often it has led to more guilt and less prayer. The prayer times that have been most extraordinary in my life have come when I’ve entered into the “adventure of saying ‘Yes’,” as Carl Medearis puts it; when I’ve followed God’s call into a situation or responsibility I knew was far bigger than the resources I brought to it; when I’ve known in the core of my being that without Jesus, I can do nothing.

The truth is, we do need to pray. Maturing and multiplying churches will not happen just because we decide it’s the next vision for us to pursue. It will happen only as we communicate deeply with King Jesus, following him into adventures that put us at tremendous risk and drive us to extraordinary prayer.

Let us pray!


This article was originally published in the November 2017 issue of The Beacon.