by Joel Comiskey
In 2004 we discovered termites in our Moreno Valley house. They appeared near the garage door and on the posts in our backyard. We invited several insect specialists to examine the damage. The major questions these specialists had to answer were:
- How far had the termites penetrated?
- Was a total solution or a partial solution needed? (i.e., did they need to cover the entire house or was it sufficient to spray only particular parts of the house).
Some specialists suggested the total solution while others recommended a partial fix.
We Need the Total Solution
Many churches have limped along with the partial solution for too long.Church growth experts have suggested a variety of solutions, but the termites keep coming back. The world’s agenda is just too luring. Luxury and the pursuit of pleasure dominate the media; The Sunday jolt–even with great preaching–is the partial solution.
We need God’s renewal and revival. The first and foremost solution to the transformation of the church is prayer–a humble, radical crying out to God for help. Commitment to prayer obliterates pride and forces us to rely solely on God Himself. It teaches us to depend on Him before looking at strategies-even cell ministry. The time has come to go beyond past remedies and fixes. We need a major overhaul, a total solution.
The Pentecostal/Charismatic camp might be the fastest growing segment of Christianity today, but it doesn’t–or least shouldn’t–have a corner on prayer. Commitment to prayer is the arsenal that God has given to His entire body. And it’s the most important weapon God has given the church to win souls and make disciples. God is clear about the fact that unless He builds the house, the laborers do so in vain.
Because cell church ministry flies in the face of Sunday only ministry, it works best among a group of people committed to God’s supernatural power that comes through prayer. Only through prayer can the church break down the cultural resistance to live New Testament life styles in community with one another. Only through prayer and an emphasis on spirituality will members be willing to dedicate volunteer time to serve as cell leaders.
Prayer in the Cell Group
Prayer dependence should be seen in the cell and the celebration–not just one or the other. Cell prayer and church-wide prayer provide the one-two punch to the cell driven church. Prayer can’t be over-emphasized, in my opinion. Some great ideas to jump start cells for prayer include:
- Break into groups of two or three. This allows more people to enter into prayer and is less intimidating for quieter members.
- Ask individual cell members to intercede, calling on them by name.
- Train your group to pray short, conversational prayers that provide greater interaction and agreement. This allows more people to pray and helps prevent one person from dominating.
- During the last fifteen minutes of the cell, ask the men to go into one room to pray and the women to pray in another room. Often there is more liberty to freely share prayer requests among gender-specific groups.
Cells are simply the conduit of the Holy Spirit; they are not an end in themselves. Prayer empowers cells and makes them a blessing to others.
Prayer Via the Larger Gathering (Celebration)
I have an entire article that details prayer on the church-wide level. Pleaseread this article for important insights.
Going Back to the Basics
Churches across the land need to remember that the battle is spiritual. Satan and his demonic hordes laugh at powerless, prayerless churches. These same dark forces become extremely worried, however, when churches pay the price through prayer.
Prayer, along with worship, fill a church with God’s presence and power. Non-Christians are converted when feel and experience God’s power because God created them for Himself and hearts will remain restless until finding rest in Him alone. The cell church is uniquely capable of raising up an army of warriors who go forth in God’s power, penetrating a lost world for Jesus. When this happens through churches on their knees, a new day will dawn. The best is yet to come.