The Problem of Prayerlessness

Prayer is oxygen for the Christian. It sustains us.

It follows that prayer must be a source of life for any community of Christians. It is to the church what it is to individuals—breathing. Yet many of our gatherings could be likened to people coming together merely to hold their collective breath. This would explain why people seem to have so little energy for actually living out the Christian life.

 

I have pastored two churches over the past decade, and I’ve been involved with networks, organizations, seminaries, collectives, and other groups of Christians. I’ve sat with visionary leaders who have churches filled with great systems. I’ve also sat with leaders who aren’t visionary and who have churches with poor systems. I’ve done ministry with gifted individuals, people with average gifts, and people with very little gifting or proficiency at all. I’ve partnered with attractional churches, missional churches, megachurches, medium churches, and meager churches. Throughout my experience, I’ve learned that these distinctions aren’t the most important; they’re peripheral and secondary. If I had to draw a line to create two categories of churches, it wouldn’t follow these distinctions. I’ve learned to see churches as those that pray and those that don’t. A church’s commitment to prayer is one of the greatest determiners of its effectiveness in ministry.

Prayer is oxygen for the Christian. It sustains us. So it follows that prayer must be a source of life for any community of Christians. It is to the church what it is to individuals—breathing. Yet many of our gatherings could be likened to people coming together merely to hold their collective breath. This would explain why people seem to have so little energy for actually living out the Christian life.

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