PUSH TO RESTART (4)
Revitalize Your Prayer Life
We have a whole-house generator in our backyard that is designed to automatically start anytime the power goes out. It runs on natural gas and has kept the electricity on for days a couple of times when storms knocked down power lines in our area. The generator has some age to it, so most of the weekly tests (when it turns itself on for 10 minutes) fail. I have to turn it off and manually restart it to get it back in the proper ‘wait’ mode.
Our prayer lives can become like that generator; they can get some age on them and become routine, dry, ritualistic “non-starters.” Even though we are approaching the Author of life, it does not seem like much life is actually present in our prayer time. It may be time to revitalize our daily walk with God.
In the years I was at Fellowship, even though we experienced growth spurts and witnessed what many would call “success” in ministry, I neglected my soul. It was not intentional; I was never shown or taught how to nourish my soul in the presence of God. “Go out and win souls” was the mantra of our movement and it built large churches, but time proved those churches were often being led by under-nourished men of God.
When we fail to maintain intimacy with God in our prayer closet, we are left with only one option; to lead God’s work in the energy of our own gifts and skills.
In other words, we lead “in the flesh” rather than “in the Spirit.” Paul warned against this in Galatians when he contrasted a life lived “under the law” with a life lived being “led by the Spirit.”
“But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.” (Galatians 5:18, NKJV)
The law was something that could be done in the flesh, with little or no dependency on the Spirit of God.
Ministry can be done effectively, efficiently, and successfully in the flesh by merely following the growth theories and practices of men. We can follow the path to being a “great” leader by reading books and attending workshops and doing what is taught. But God’s kingdom is not like the kingdom of this world; God’s leaders must stay humbled at the feet of Jesus, getting their instructions from Him!
What might happen in the church you pastor if you PUSHED yourself to revitalize your prayer life by experimenting with new ideas in approaching the Father?
The prayer closet of the spiritual leader is the place of abiding in Christ, where we learn to remain intimately connected with the Vine so He can produce fruit through us. The more we abide, the greater the fruit.
Do not interpret “greater fruit” to mean “larger church;” that might be part of it, but the fruit of the Spirit is spiritual in nature. He moves His nature and nutrients into us and through us in our time spent alone with Him. His nature and those vital nutrients and the water of the Word of God transform us and teach us and touch other lives through us. This is the fruit Jesus spoke about in John 15.
The prayer practice I learned from Him in my darkest and deepest place of emptiness is conversational journaling. Writing my prayers out and writing down what I believe the Holy Spirit is teaching me, helps me overcome a wandering attention issue and fills an hour easily and enjoyably.
There are many ways to start a new and fresh experience with the Father; a Google search produces a sizeable list of ideas. If your desire is to revitalize your congregation, it might need to start in your quiet time alone with Him!
Dr. Donald Lynn Hardaway