I have asked everyone involved in The Gathering Church to find at least three people who will pray for them weekly – pray for them as ‘church planters.’ When you read almost anything in the New Testament you get a great sense of urgency, not the kind of urgency that happens when things are going wrong, but the kind of urgency that comes when something very important is happening. In the gospel of Mark, for instance,the constant use of the word ‘immediately’ gives the sense of critical movement – that something has happened, is happening, and will happen – something that changes everything. Jesus coming and his announcement that the kingdom of God is at hand starts it off. The ‘new age’ has invaded and everything is going to be affected.
Certainly, the same sense of urgency is found in Acts and in the letters. Once the Holy Spirit comes as Jesus had promised, the kingdom begins to pick up steam. What the OT prophets had only dreamed of was now a reality – God had poured his Spirit on ‘all flesh’. (Acts 2) The good news of God and good experience with God was unleashed.
Behind this sense of urgency (which was never a sense of panic, by the way), was the activity of prayer. Interesting that even though Jesus’ disciples had grown up with standard, constant forms of prayer all their lives, something about the way Jesus prayed got their attention. “Can you teach us to pray like that?”, they asked. (Actually, they had noticed the way John had taught his disiples to pray – you think there was any urgency in that wild man’s prayers?) (Luke 11:1) The ‘Lord’s Prayer’ is what follows, and it starts with a sense of urgency – “may your kingdom come and your will be done on this earth.” All of Jesus’ actions were a demonstration of that prayer in action.
So, the first followers of Christ prayed – not just devotionally to stay close to God or to get their needs met, but because they were engaged in the very mission that Jesus had launched – they were doing the work of God, and only God could make it successful.
All that said to get to this point: We believe that God is calling us to such an urgent task that it can only be accomplished by the power of prayer. As I have thought about this it occurred to me how easy it is to live life without being engaged in anything so urgent that it absolutely requires prayer – not the kinds of ‘comfort’ prayers, or ‘make my life easier’ prayers, but breakthrough prayers – prayers that change hearts, lives, families communities, prayers that unleash the power of God’s love in fresh and transforming ways.
So, first of all, be doing something that really matters – like starting this church, growing a community that does that ‘old thing’ of loving people incredibly well, as Jesus did. Then, find some people to pray for you weekly. The people I am asking to pray are thrilled. It’s jacking up their sense of urgency. Their own church experience is going to be renewed.
And then let’s see what happens.