Prayer: The Place to Start
I Timothy 2:1—Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men.
Every good leader will embody some ambition, or he probably won’t be a good leader. But if Jesus is to lead the church, our leadership must start with prayer.
In the language of the Bible, Paul instructed Timothy to “pray first.” Literally he said, “Before all your doings . . . pray.” Evidently the Ephesian church had stopped praying, and Paul urged Timothy to make it a priority again.
Where we start will set a trajectory for where we go and where we end up. Where we start can also be a protection for wrong motives as well as fleshly methods.
Timothy was a God-called man who was getting marching orders in how to wage a good warfare (1:18) and avoid shipwreck in his life and leadership (1:19).
Give Jesus the first appointment of the day and of the work week. Let the first strategy be a prayer strategy which will provide a base of operation for everything else in the church. Build Scripture praying by Spirit-filled believers into the foundation of ministry so that the superstructure of ministry won’t collapse because of a lack of support.
Jesus has a will, a word, and a way for our church, and we will know it if we slow down and pray until He clearly reveals it to us. Take time with a few Spirit-filled believers to develop an undergirding of prayer before you do anything else. Let your ministry be birthed by God. If we are going to have effective outreach, we must have fervent and effectual upreach. Strategic outreach is given its grace through strategically timed upreach in prayer.
The early church “waited for the Promise of the Father” (Acts 1:4) and “continued with one accord in prayer,” (Acts 1:14). So, “when the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place,” (Acts 2:1). Being obedient in prayer first put them right where they needed to be in order to strategically launch their witness. They didn’t plan their birth; God birthed His plan for them and it was perfect.
Through praying first, we will stay in touch which then allows us to stay in tune with Jesus all the time—and that’s where all fruitful ministry begins. Make these times of prayer joyful, focused and expectant. Savor them by grace and not laborious grudge. God is for us. He is our #1 cheerleader.
From Belief to Behavior
No one can prescribe what the prayer strategy for your situation should be, but here is a suggestion: Pray, then choose two Spirit-filled believers from within your ministry who will pray with you about a prayer strategy for your church. Keep it simple, Scriptural, and Spirit-filled; i.e. life-giving. Re-evaluate the prayer life of your church or ministry on a regular basis as it grows and changes—as Jesus leads and builds His church.