In the early days as a DS, I must admit that I spent a lot of time preaching about church growth, training leaders, challenging congregations, seeking church growth oriented pastors. Now, in my 19th year, I am more convinced that what Peter Wagner wrote is truer than ever: “The more deeply I dig beneath the surface of church growth principles, the more thoroughly convinced I become that the real battle is a spiritual battle and that our principle weapon is prayer.” A growing church is a praying church. A praying church is a growing church! A growing district is a praying district and vice versa.
From the earliest days of our journey together in 2005, I have placed a premium on prayer, and since our visit to Cali, Colombia, in 2007, fasting as well. A praying Christian is a powerful Christian: “The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much” (James 5:16 NASB). This is why we have a growing district. This is why we added over 1400 New Nazarenes last year. This is why we have embarked on a BHAG (Big, Holy, Audacious, Goal). We call it “Harvest 2020.” Sixty new churches/compassionate ministry centers by 2020. That’s 20 English, 20 Spanish, and 20 Haitian by 2020. Who is adequate for such goals as these? God!
My friend, Doug Small, who will be with us for Improve Your Serve February 1, 2014, gave me a copy of the new 573 page “Praying Church Handbook.” I’m only in the Foreword and already I am blessed. C.H. Spurgeon, “the great preacher of yesteryear” who believed greatly in prayer, is quoted. He said, “Make the most of prayer…Prayer is the weapon. We should be wise if we used it more, and did so with more specific purpose.”
Do you want your church to grow? Become a praying church. Every church should have a prayer meeting. Not simply a Bible Study but a prayer meeting. A layman from our Princeton church told me last week how much a prayer meeting had contributed to his own personal growth and was making a difference in his church. Do you want a new vision for the harvest? Lay aside your excuses and mobilize prayer.
At the 2012 District Assembly, about 68 of our 86 churches signed a big board publicly that their church would become a “House of Prayer” during the 2012-2013 year. Many have. Has yours? You won’t start if you do not believe that the real battle we face is a spiritual battle. Prayer is the key to unlocking all of the resources of heaven to empower us and make us victorious. Become a praying Christian and gather a group around you to become a praying church. That’s a foundation God can build upon.
David F. Nixon, D.Min.
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