Church Health

When Prayer Goes Viral

by Steve Hammer, Assistant to the DS for Church Health

Ed Stetzer and Thom Ranier in their book, Transformational Church, write about personal transformation coming from humble dependence upon God. As a matter of fact, they go on to boldly declare: “If our motivation is numerical growth, then we have no real reason to pray. Organizational expansion principles will produce results relative to your community or market. Teamwork, communication, people skills and quality control will produce results. But none of these things will produce substantive results from God in the lives of people. Transformation is God’s work. We cannot rely on ourselves and see transformation. It is impossible for us to affect life change.”

Francis Chan, in an interview with The 6:4 Fellowship, said something similar: “There are ways to fill a room other than prayer. There are ways to create a semblance of a movement of God outside of prayer. Of course, it’s not a real movement of God. I guarantee you with the right band or right song selection, we can generate something really cool whether it was good in God’s eyes or not. So in America we have multiple options. In many other places of the world it’s all or nothing (when it comes to God moving in answer to prayer). Either the Spirit comes through or not. I’m depending on God showing up.”

Old Paths New Power by Daniel Henderson detects seven stages for effective prayer leadership:

  1. “Complacency—some have utterly dismissed prayer as a significant core of the congregation.
  2. Cooperation—being at least accommodating of prayer to appease the enthusiasts.
  3. Concern—wanes under the burden of busyness or other high-profile initiatives.
  4. Commitment—prayer activities become more visible/vital.
  5. Conviction—real certitude recognizes prayer as essential to calling.
  6. Competency—the dynamics and impact of Scripture-fed, Spirit-led, worship-based prayer.
  7. Contagion—people are not excited about prayer but are infectious about Jesus.”
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