The Priority of Prayer

by Joel Comiskey, Summer 2020

Most pastors and leaders are pragmatic. They want to know what will work. Immediately. Most are fascinated by techniques that promise quick growth.

Yet, the only ministry worth having is the one that God himself brings to life. And such a cell or cell church requires prayer at its very foundation—the root level. Only God can break down the barriers to growth and help the leader make disciples who make disciples. A church, in fact,  cannot survive without prayer. Norman Dowe, an experienced church planter, writes: 

I have failed at planting a church twice. My first reaction is to blame my lack of giftedness on my failure. I am a pastor/teacher not an evangelist, nor an apostle. After my last fiasco, the Lord took me to Zech. 4:6 in the context of Jerubbabel rebuilding the temple. I failed not because of my gift but because of my reliance on my experience, training, and reading. I failed because I did not rely on the Spirit. I am no longer infatuated with structures but am trying to replace that with true spirituality. I read once that Cho was asked the secret to his success. He said, “I pray and obey.”

In contrast to Norman Dowe’s church planting experience, Rob Campbell, JCG board member and frequent blogger, started his church with prayer. When he planted Cypress Creek Church in Wimberley, Texas, he made prayer his first priority. He not only exemplified prayer but hired Cecilia Belvin, the pastor of prayer, as the first staff person. Today Cypress Creek Church has one of the most vital prayer ministries in existence. God has blessed this church abundantly because they’ve placed Him first.

All of us should follow Paul’s exhortation, which he wrote from a Roman prison at the end of his life:

Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone (Colossians 4:2-4).

Leading a cell or a cell church is  a spiritual battle. Satan and his demonic hordes laugh at powerless, prayerless ministers.  These same dark forces become extremely worried when we dedicate ourselves to fervent and effectual prayer.

I recommend that each leader find a group of intercessors to pray for them(Peter Wagner’s book Prayer Shield, talks about how to do this). Inform these people about what’s happening in your life and ministry. They will become your prayer shield and help provide guidance and direction in your life and ministry. They will serve as your protection and covering.

“Jesus, help us to become men and women of prayer.”