As I write this first blog, here is a little bit about me. I’m the Cell Pastor (Champion) at Allen Memorial in Salisbury, Maryland. We are a church of 450-500 adults in the process of transitioning to be a “Spirit-filled cell church that impacts the world for Christ.” We currently have 25 cell groups. I have a heart for the nations and will often share thoughts from those I am mentoring on the front lines, as well as from my own experiences in the trenches.
“Pastors and churches have to get uncomfortable enough to say, ‘We are not New Testament Christians if we don’t have a prayer life.’ This conviction makes us squirm a little, but how else will there be a breakthrough with God?” (Jim Cymbala – Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire – Zondervan, 1997, p.50)
Prayer must be at the core of our Christian life and our community life. Prayer is to be the heartbeat of our life as Christ followers and our life together as the church gathered. Prayer becomes not only the foundation of the cell church but the atmosphere it lives, moves and breathes in.
When we understand this we will move away from passive praying, which is to pray only when one has time or feels like praying, to passionate, purposeful and persistent praying. At Allen, the first step we have taken to strengthen our prayer base is to establish a weekly prayer initiative called “FaceDown.” Each Wednesday from 6 am until 8 pm our prayer room at our church facility is open for people to gather and pray together for the objective and needs of our church. All staff have a shift in the prayer room and are committed to this time of prayer. We have a long way to go to become a praying church.
In talking with Pastor Munawar from Pakistan, he gathers believers to pray three times a day for an hour as well as 5-8 pm on Saturday for fasting prayer. This is also the regular practice of Pastor Suresh from India to hold fasting prayer on Saturday for three hours. He also said he encourages his cell leaders to daily prayer and once a week fasting prayer as he sees this as the key to revival. Once a month they call the whole church to three days of prayer and fasting as well.
What prayer practices do you have when it comes to the church as a whole?