In our Adult Sunday School Class we are going through R.A. Torrey's book on prayer. It has been OK, but not my favorite old book. The concept of prayer, and our discussions on prayer have been really good though. I have thought more about my prayer life in the last few months than I have at any other time in my life. I have been convicted at my lack of prayer and motivated to question what it is that I am really praying for.
For example, when I pray for the church, and I pray that God will bring visitors: The reality is that I am praying for some change within myself and those around me. I am praying that God will make me the sort of person who is sharing the truth of the Gospel... unashamedly. Just like when Jesus encourages his disciples to pray for workers in the harvest, and then turns around and sends those same disciples out to work (Matthew 9:35-10:10). Even though God can use a phone book to bring people to church (which happened... another story for another blog), I believe that he delights in using us. It is only when we don't bring Him glory that the stones begin to cry out!
I am also praying, when I pray for church growth, that this church will be God's kind of church. I mean, if you are asking God to bring people to your church, there is the assumption that God would want people to be at that church. Are we really God's kind of Church? Is His truth being taught? Do we emphasize the things that He emphasizes? Do we respond to sin the way He responded to sin? Do we forgive the way He forgives? Do we Love the way He loves and has loved us?
If we want people to come to our church, it should be because we believe that when they come... That they will really see God!
So, do you pray? Do you really pray that sort of prayer that willingly and with great desire, seeks the Holy Spirit to intervene in such a way that we will be praying God's will and His work.
The Shepherd's Fellowship shared an article by J.C. Ryle titled, "Do You Pray?" I would like to encourage you to visit, give it a read, and ask yourself the question, Do You Pray?