September 6, 2013 9:21 pm

Growing a Church: Outline

Posted In: Leadership

Growing a Church: Prayer

By David K. Bernard


Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men (I Timothy 2:1).


  1. Apostolic Prayer

    1. The apostolic church was born in prayer.
    2. On the Day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit fell upon 120 disciples as they waited in united prayer for ten days (Acts 1:14; 2:1).
    3. The early church maintained the habit of prayer (Acts 2:42).


  1. Apostolic Prayer

    1. The first miraculous healing of the New Testament church occurred when Peter and John went to the Temple for their daily time of prayer (Acts 3:1).
    2. When the believers faced opposition and persecution, their response was to pray for boldness to witness and to see miracles take place by the power of God (Acts 4:24-3 1).
    3. The result of the prayer, witnessing, and miracles was spectacular church growth (Acts 4:4; 5:14).


  1. Church Growth

    1. Since God is the one who causes the church to grow.
    2. We can only expect genuine growth as we maintain a daily relationship with Him and depend upon His power to accomplish the task.
    3. The chief means of doing so is prayer.


  1. Prayer

    1. Prayer should be the first item on our agenda
    2. First we should pray in every situation (I Timothy 2:1).
    3. We should maintain a constant attitude of prayer and a daily habit of prayer.


  1. How We Should Pray

    1. We should be “praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints” (Ephesians 6:18).
    2. “Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving” (Colossians 4:2).
    3. “Pray without ceasing” (I Thessalonians 5:17).


  1. What We Should Pray

    1. We must pray specifically for (1) the opportunity and (2) the ability to proclaim the gospel effectively.
    2.  “For us, that God would open to us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ” (Colossians 4:3).
    3. Prayer is essential for effective ministry and church growth.


  1. Purpose Of Prayer

    1. Through prayer we receive the divine call for Christian service as well as divine direction.
    2. Through prayer we receive the desire and power to do God’s will.


  1. A Relationship With Him

    1. Prayer is not a mechanical process whereby we earn favors from God.
    2. It is the means of communing with God and maintaining our relationship with Him.
    3. We do not purchase power from God by so many hours of prayer and so many days of fasting.
    4. Prayer and fasting are the means by which we conform our minds and bodies to God’s will.


  1. Submit to God

    1. In prayer, we submit to God and make His priorities our priorities.
    2. Jesus taught us to pray, “Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:9-10).
    3. Prayer does not convince a reluctant God to act on our behalf, but it gives God permission to work in our lives as He already desires.
    4. He does not force His will on us, nor can we assume that He will automatically act on our behalf in the absence of our invitation.


  1. What Prayer Does

    1. Prayer does not change God’s attitude, but it changes our attitude so that we are ready to receive what God has planned for us.
    2. Prayer molds and transforms us so that we are prepared to receive the answers that God wants to give us.
    3. Prayer emphasizes to God and to ourselves our true needs, desires, and priorities.


  1. What Prayer Does

    1. Prayer extends the work of God into the lives of family, friends, and others in need.
    2. Prayer draws attention to the work of God, reminding us that we are dependent upon Him and that He deserves the glory for answered prayer.
    3. Prayer enables us (1) to discern God’s will and (2) to do God’s will.


  1. What Prayer Does

    1. Through prayer we receive the ability-including desire, understanding, strength, encouragement, and determination-to live for God and work for God.
    2. When we pray in faith according to God’s will, we have confidence that He will hear and answer us. (See Matthew 21:21-22; I John 5:14-15.)


  1. It Depends on Circumstances

    1. Since prayer is not a mechanical process, some times we may pray for hours with seemingly few results.
    2. Despite an hour of prayer, a preacher may deliver a mediocre sermon, especially if he has neglected to study.
    3. Sometimes a preacher’s normal prayer time may be stolen from him by unexpected developments, forcing him to go to the pulpit with only a few moments of communication with God, and yet he may minister under a powerful anointing.


  1. It Depends on Circumstances

    1. The reason is that God is gracious and He supplies what is lacking.
    2. We can preach from the overflow of the Spirit, drawing from hidden reservoirs created by a consistent, long-term relationship with God.
    3. If we frequently skimp on our prayer time, however, we find that the reservoirs run dry.


  1. Faith

    1. A spiritual work requires faith, and a great spiritual challenge must be met with great faith.
    2. The strength of our faith is related to the strength of our relationship with God.
    3. We can not simply conjure up such a relationship on the spur of the moment, when we suddenly face a great need.
    4. We must build a strong relationship with God by consistent communion with Him through prayer and fasting.


  1. Personal Prayer

    1. Each person, and especially each minister, needs to schedule prayer when he can devote both quality and quantity of time.
    2. As the early church grew, the apostles had to restructure their organization and adjust their workload to make prayer and study their priority.
    3. They said, “We will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word” (Acts 6:4).


  1. Time for Prayer

    1. The morning is a good time to pray, before you face the distractions, interruptions, and busyness of the day.
    2. Find a quiet, secluded place to pray that gives you the appropriate set time of interrupted prayer, meditation, Bible reading, and Bible study.
    3. Your goal should be personal spiritual renewal and growth through prayer and the Word.


  1. Alterations

    1. This schedule can sometimes be altered by travel, surgeries, and other urgent situations,
    2. But if you can keep it at least seventy-five percent of the time (three out of four days), then it can be counted as a success.
    3. On Saturday, Sunday, and Monday the schedule can change.

·      Saturday - is usually full with special activities and preparation for Sunday so the evening is the best time to pray and study.

·      Sunday - pray and study before the morning and evening services.

·      Monday – a day off, have devotions with family in the evening


  1. Other Opportunities

    1. Other opportunities for prayer arise each day, such as when visiting people, being with friends, during counseling, and before and after worship services.
    2. We can cultivate an attitude of prayer so that we maintain a constant communication with God throughout the events of the day.
    3. Sometimes you can pray and meditate while showering or driving, although these times obviously do not allow for total concentration.


  1. Addressing a Problem

    1. Many times, prayer is the means of receiving the necessary wisdom from God to address a problem.
    2. James 1:5 says “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.”


  1. Addressing a Problem

    1. When facing a problem, try not to act hastily; if you do not see an immediate answer, delay a final decision until you have prayed about the situation for several days.
    2. Remember the admonition of James 1:19-20: “So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.”


  1. Praying for Others

    1. Taking time to pray is particularly advisable when someone has a wrong attitude or is heading in a wrong direction.
    2. An answer can often come supernaturally after several days or weeks of prayer.
    3. In many cases, God deals with the person’s heart so that he or she corrects the problem without the need for direct pastoral intervention.


  1. Do Not Use Prayer to Hide

    1. We should not use prayer as an excuse to avoid taking a necessary stand or to avoid con fronting a difficult situation.
    2. Even when such action is required, however, prayer can help us to know what steps to take, how to take them, and when to take them.
    3. Prayer helps to purify our motives and emotions so that when we do address a problem we will do it with “the wisdom that is from above,” (James 3:1 7).


  1. Evaluate Your Prayer Life

    1. Sometimes it is a constant challenge to be faithful in prayer and study.
    2. Periodically, you must evaluate and adjust your activities so as to maintain the priority and habit of prayer.
    3. At such times, it might be helpful to record the amount of daily prayer and Bible reading, not as legalism but simply for accurate information and self-examination.


  1. Quantity of Prayer

    1. Early on, it may be a struggle to find time to pray more than fifteen minutes.
    2. At such times it may be helpful to make a commitment to pray an average for however long you wish one hour per day for five days per week.
    3. Keep logged your prayer time on a calendar to ensure that you will keep your commitment.


  1. Quantity of Prayer

    1. Of course, we should not emphasize quantity over quality, and we should not evaluate ourselves or others primarily by minutes or hours spent in prayer.
    2. Some people can seemingly spend much time in prayer without attaining maturity of life or ministry;
    3. We must seek a balance in this area as in all other aspects of spiritual life.


  1. Prayers of Others

    1. You can also receive great strength from the prayers of others.
    2. Sometimes, your prayer time is less than ideal due to tight schedules, physical and mental exhaustion, events out of your control, or simple neglect.


  1. Prayers of Others

    1. Nevertheless, God is very gracious to give blessings, strength, renewal, and revival to you personally.
    2. This can happen due to a large part of the faithful prayers your family and the friends who uphold you daily in prayer.
    3. As the challenges and opportunities grow, the need for prayer grows, and seasoned prayer warriors are an important key to continued growth.


  1. Corporate Prayer

    1. Since prayer is essential for church growth, we must make prayer a priority in the life of the church.
    2. The pastor must consistently emphasize prayer, structure prayer into the regular schedule of the church, and personally be an example in this area.


  1. Weekly Prayer Meetings

    1. Weekly prayer meetings can prove to be one of the most important factors in establishing our church.
    2. It helps to develop a consistent prayer life as a body and draw it into close fellowship.
    3. Many people can win victories and many lives can be transformed in those prayer meetings.
    4. New people can learn how to pray, intercede for others, and yield to the gifts of the Spirit.


  1. Preparing for Sunday

    1. These prayer meetings also can set the stage for great moves of God on Sunday.
    2. Time after time, you can present requests to God on Thursday and see them answered by the weekend.
    3. People whom you pray for at the Bible Study can come to church on Sunday and repent, receive the Holy Ghost, or receive healing.



  1. Suggested Prayer Ideas for a Church

    1. Schedule prayer thirty minutes before each worship
    2. Every service ends with an opportunity for prayer.
    3. Have a team of “pastor’s prayer partners” to pray for him before dismissal.
    4. Have a “prayer line” – volunteers who are willing to take the calls of people that have urgent prayer requests. They then call “prayer team leaders”. The prayer team leaders should have a list of volunteers that are willing to pray for the need as soon as they get the call.  
    5. Have a ladies prayer on an appointed morning.
    6. Hold a prayer meeting on an appointed night, with a different leader and a specific prayer focus each week.
    7. The different church departments are encouraged to schedule their own regular prayer times.
    8. During the week, have the church open for individual prayer.
    9. On occasion, schedule a twenty-four-hour prayer chain, in which people sign up for one or two hours each, an all-night prayer meeting; or a week of prayer and fasting, in which people volunteer for certain days.
    10. Look into publishing your prayer requests on the World Network of Prayer.


  1. Conclusion

    1. Prayer is a spiritual endeavor that we cannot reduce to a ritual or a program but that requires intention and structure.
    2. For us to be prayerful and our church to be prayerful, we must plan to pray.
    3. Planning is our second principle of church growth.
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