At District Assembly in May, when I challenged our pastors and people to be one of 50 Houses of Prayer on the Southern Florida District, who could have envisioned the immediate rush of 64 pastors to commit to making their church a true House of Prayer over the coming year? All who made the commitment were given a copy of the little NavPress House of Prayer book edited by Jonathan L. Graf and Lani C. Hinkle. Perhaps the response was so immediate because of the statement, In spiritual warfare, the church is the target, and the pastor is the bulls eye. Pastors are vulnerable when they stand alone. But as two pastors with T-shirts with targets, one over the chest and the other over the back illustrated, when they are surrounded by intercessors–laypeople who pray for them–pastors are shielded from satanic attacks to their hearts as well as those sneak attacks that come from behind. The target is not visible. So, stand with your pastor in prayer! The gift of prayer is more important than the salary and benefits he or she receives. Fact is, its priceless.
I would love to begin receiving reports of how you are becoming a House of Prayer. Houses of Prayer may become supernatural churches, a term I first saw in Francis Chans book, Forgotten God. Talented, charismatic leaders can draw a crowd, Chan admits, Just find the right creative team, musicians, and speakers and you can grow any church. Lamentably, he says, It doesnt even have to be a Christian church. You see, without making a conscious choice to depend on the Holy Spirit, we can do a lot (but) a growing and energetic church is not necessarily evidence of the Holy Spirits work. We must walk in step with the Spirit rather than depend solely on raw talent and knowledge. This, dear friends, comes in response to our desperate need of Him. This will happen as your church becomes a House of Prayer for all the nations.
Get the book from NavPress. There you will find the nine characteristics of a House of Prayer: (1) Prayer is visible from the pulpit; (2) Prayer saturates every aspect of the services; (3) Church leadership is committed to prayer; (4) Prayer is an agenda at every meeting; (5) Prayer is part of Christian education; (6) The pastor has a strong prayer covering; (7) Prayer is the first step, not the last resort; (8) Intercession is an integral part of church life; and (9) The church has a prayer leader other than the pastor. You may conclude from this that it is not easy to become a powerful house of prayer. We know Satan will fight every step of the way. Nonetheless, persevere! Invite the Holy Spirit into your midst, and see firsthand, the power of God transform you church, community, and world. Who is building this house of prayer?
Dr. David F. Nixon
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