Church planting Simple Church Teaching from India

Ways to see a greater harvest #1



 I recently reread the book, "destined for the throne" by Paul Bilheimer. The main premise of the book is based on a quote by John Wesley: "God does nothing except an answer to prayer." Bilheimer goes on to explain that God has chosen to limit himself in order that we might get on-the-job training for reining in his kingdom.

If this premise is true, then we need to rethink some of our strategy. In places where church planting movements are thriving, prayer plays a key role. David Garrison in his book "Church Planting Movements" lists the 10 features common to all CPMs. Prayer is high on his list.

We have friends in India who tried an experiment. They picked two villages; one they prayer walked, the other they did not. When they later went to do some evangelism in the first village, 45 families found the Lord. They were thrown out of the second village.

David Watson has seen many tens of thousands of churches planted in India and Africa. Recently, he questioned his top church planters to see if there were any common factors. He discovered that prayer was key to these people. Each of them prayed at least three hours per day on their own, and more time was spent in prayer with the team.

Paul Yonggi Cho, pastor of the Full Gospel Central Church in Seoul, Korea was interviewed by Rick Warren. He stated that when he first started his church (at one time the largest in the world), in order to see the Holy Spirit work, he had to pray for at least five hours per day. He has now been able to cut this down to three hours.

I do not tell the stories in order to condemn us. Most of us lead very busy lives. How can we commit to that kind of time in prayer? What is God asking of us?

What do you think? Is it true that "God does nothing except an answer to prayer"?  What should our response be?

4 replies on “Ways to see a greater harvest #1”

Can’t help thinking that God doesn’t always limit himself to doing things we have prayed about. Certainly he created the universe without us asking him to!
But equally I can’t help thinking the statement is more true than we are willing to admit. If God tells us to get on with the job, then inviting him back into what he’s left to us seems pretty sensible. (Like parents who tell their teenager that keeping their room tidy is now the teen’s responsibility – but will surely help tidy up if asked! Well, mostly!!)
But this raises other questions. Is the time spent in prayer an issue, or is it the attitude, or both? How specific do we need to pray, and what exactly should we pray for?
I’m looking forward to all this “series”! Thanks.

Personally, I have found that I do nothing worthy except as an answer to prayer. When I am not praying and being prayed for, I am not living as one rooted in the branch. Jesus did say “Apart from me you can do nothing.” When I am praying, I do see God’s hand move quickly on some things, but I also see my own future actions and priorities and relationships changing.
Prayer should precede and permeate everything, and prayers of praise and thanks should follow.

Quite honestly we are told to pray the things that are God’s will. Such as “thy kingdom come”… is that his will? Certainly!
That means that we are participating with God and that he HAS limited himself. It also means that God will tell us what needs to be prayed or prophesied… Sometimes it just needs to be spoken.
However, there is not good support for a “this is training mode” approach. There is instead lots of “I gave you the authority, and now I will work with that limitation” approach in scripture.
If we watch what Jesus did pray, and when, we might have a different outlook. God is ahead of us. We aren’t telling him anything, and just asking isn’t about changing his mind. Its about working together with God.
I am reminded of many that speak healing… they don’t pray.. because Jesus didn’t. He spoke it. He bought it, he delivered the authority, and now we see it work. It is God working… but its a good part up to us to cooperate with what he wants to do. Isn’t that the message of organic church?
God isn’t waiting until later to use you. He wants you online and active now… Working to establish his kingdom here on earth!

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