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The Prayer Circle – Where Does It Start to Go Wrong?

Thanks for meeting us at the prayer circle.

When we abide in the Vine, we receive all the nourishment we need for growth! So when troubled churches take a step back and look at where they are, the first question they might ask themselves is where did it start to wrong? Jesus told the church at Ephesus that they had left their first love, and we all too often, forget our first-love relationship with Jesus. In this week’s teaching, we’ll define what first love is and how we can maintain that mindset as we pray.

Friend, is there anything we can do to help your church return to the sufficiency of Christ in all things? We’re available for consultations, conferences, phone calls, etc. We want to help you; please tell us how we can.

Where does it start to go wrong?

In last week’s blog, we discussed that Jesus is the focus of our praying, and when He is not our focus, our prayers can become exhausted. This week, we are nurturing the idea that we pray out of a loving relationship with our Lord and Savior, and not just because it’s a Christian discipline or duty.

Recently my wife called me about my desire for dinner plans. She said, “Do you want to go home and eat leftovers or go out somewhere?” I knew that each option had its advantages and disadvantages, so I said, “Lady’s choice—in either case I get to be with you and that’s all that matters to me.” I really meant it—se we saved money, ate leftovers and I got the privilege of being with Teresa!

We need to be that way with Jesus in our personal and group prayers — remembering the privilege it is to be with Jesus, and allowing that to nuture our hearts. In my experience over many years, if church leadership doesn’t keep up the idea of praying because of this love relationship with Christ, it will always migrate to the default mode of a dead work and monologue before a distant God over the aches and pains of the outer man—with no real expectancy from the ever-present, all-sufficient Christ!

Without this aspect of a loving relationship, families and churches can be doing everything right and still be in trouble.

“To the angel of the church of Ephesus write, ‘These things says He who holds the seven stars in His right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands: ‘I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars;

and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name’s sake and have not become weary. Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent.’” (Revelation 2:1-5)

First love happens when we find in another what is so desperately needed in ourselves. Remembering that first love in prayer keeps the relationship real and brings the satisfaction of having been with the “One” who really matters anyway.

The key here is to be constantly reminded of our desperation. From salvation to glory, our one primary work is faith in the Vine for our very existence. Again, in leadership there is a need for gentle reminders of this or we quickly become independent flyers.

Every generation needs to experience the power and presence for God for themselves. The miracle element of our faith, when God comes with His laser beam provision that lets us know He is on the scene, is a great faith builder. Desperately needing, expecting, and then seeing those visitations from God makes Him real. One generation cannot live on past miracles as stated in the periodicals. God must be experienced in present realities that are birthed through Scripture-based praying to a Jesus who loves us more than life itself.

Joe Humrichous

Joe Humrichous is the executive director of Paradigm One and Bible Prayer Fellowship. The message of the sufficiency of Christ for both the pastor and the local church was birthed during a time of brokenness in his early ministry. Now after 50 years in ministry, Joe is passionate to share this reality as it applies to corporate prayer and church leadership. He recently served as a pastor at First Baptist Church in Covington, Indiana. He and his wife Teresa have 5 children and 13 grandchildren.

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