Prayer – the Narrow Road to Church Growth

Last week at the engageHOBART conference I hosted, David Jones from the Presbyterian Church shared something of the journey of the growth in their churches in Hobart over the past decade which has resulted in four new Presbyterian churches coming in to being. Among the many factors involved in this growth he focussed on the important of the gospel and of prayer. At one stage they had up to 85 people from St John’s gathering to pray each week.
David was keen to stress that the growth they had seen was a result of God’s action, but that prayer was critical to it.
It got me thinking about the church in South Korea, particularly the one lead by Dr David Yonggi Cho. Reported to be the largest church in the Yonggi Choworld, it currently has 875,000 attendees. There was a time in its growth when they were starting a new church with 5000 people and pastor each week because of the lack of space.
In his book, Prayer: Key to the Revival Cho writes, “Our people have been taught the central nature of prayer, so they pray over everything. They fervently pray for the church, the nation, and for a continuation of revival in Korea and throughout the world. They also pray for potential new converts so the church may continue to grow.
“…we plan carefully: We have a strategy, we have a plan, and we execute that plan like a well-trained army. Yet, most importantly, we bathe our plans in prayer so that God may breathe His breath of life into our efforts, and they will be fruitful.”
As we look to the future and God’s work in and through the church in any locality, what will it take for us to become a praying church? It is something that will require some serious reflection and hard work.
When reading the accounts of the early church in the book of Acts, it is good to note that they often gathered together to pray. If we want to see the work of God move forward, it is important for us ro pray and not only by ourselves, but also together.
What will it take for us to be involved in fervent prayer together?
Stephen L Baxter
This is my last post for a few weeks as I am taking leave from now until Easter. My next post will be on Monday April 9, 2012.