by Joel Comiskey, August 2005
Prayer and successful cell ministry fit like a glove. God has a way of constantly bringing me back to the main item on His agenda: prayer.
The need for prayer became crystal clear recently when I was coaching a pastor who seemed to go backwards after his initial success in multiplying groups. He re-doubled his effort but every small step forward was accompanied by new setbacks. During one brainstorming session, the pastor mentioned demonic activity in and around his church. The church location was not only a church planter’s graveyard but had witnessed many strange occurrences, including horrific accidents and spirit rituals. God spoke clearly to us about the need for prayer. We had woefully fallen short in this area and had to repent of our self-sufficiency. That night I spoke to the church leaders on prayer.
The pastor, a man of quick action, decided to hold a 24-hour prayer vigil the following week and asked for sign-ups that night. The response was electrifying. Each leader signed up to host one or more of the 24-hour prayer segments that would begin on Saturday morning in the church and end in time for the celebration service. During the 24-hour prayer vigil, many church members came out to pray with the leaders.
The celebration service after the prayer vigil was packed. The pastor said, “I’m not sure where the people came from. Those missing in action for months and years suddenly showed up.” Since that time, I’ve noticed new excitement in the cells and among the cell leaders. The pastor is able to concentration in a new way on the cell driven strategy. This church is now holding 24-hour prayer vigil each month. They’re hooked.
The 24-hour strategy is not the only way to implement prayer. At Wellspring, my own church plant, we pray as a church on Wednesday evening and then ask for group prayer in each cell one hour before the meeting begins. Many worldwide cell churches hold morning prayer meetings and prayer during the cells.
What do you do to make prayer work in your church? This topic is so important I’ve included an article on the CCS website that specifically talks about the 24-hour prayer meeting (other prayer ideas are included in chapter six of From Twelve to Three).
Let’s remember that only God can give success because conversion and discipleship are supernatural events. Let’s not fall into the trap of depending on cell structure to produce fruit. Only God can grow a church. Let’s follow the example of all the fruitful, growing cell churches. Let’s ask God to teach us how to pray.