How do you become someone who helps your church become the force for God he wants it to be? You begin super-sizing your prayers. How do you begin super-sizing your prayers? By making the Apostle Paul’s prayers for the church your prayers for your church.
Paul prays super-sized prayers. Meaning what? Meaning he didn’t pray about struggles, stresses, sicknesses, and surgeries only. He also prayed that God would make the churches he prayed for a force for God where they were.
You see this is what super-sizing your prayers means. It means asking God to work in your church in such a way that it becomes a Hall of Fame congregation: a church that is a nightmare for Satan, a birthing room for new Christians, and a place where believers grow faster than a teenager going through a growth spurt.
When you begin praying this way you begin helping your church become the force for God He wants it to be.
A good way to begin super-sizing your prayers is by beginning to pray for your church the prayer in Ephesians 1:15-23.
The Help of the Holy Spirit
The first super-sized request that will help your church become a force for God is asking him to allow the Holy Spirit to exert his power in the congregation’s life.
I have an acquaintance who’s a sports psychologist to some well-known players on the PGA tour. Every now and then I drop him a note and ask, “How can I pray for you.” He writes back each time and gives me two or three new requests. But there’s one he always includes with the others: he always says, “Pray that I’ll know more of the Holy Spirit’s influence in my life.”
What the Apostle Paul models in his prayer is a strong “Amen!” to this brother’s desire. I think the New International Version of Ephesians 1:17 correctly helps us eavesdrop on him at the throne of grace: “I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation . . . “ (Emphasis added).
Years ago I read a book called “If I Only Had One Sermon to Preach.” It was an anthology of the one sermon each contributor said he’d preach if he had only one more time in the pulpit. I believe if a book were written called “If I Only Had One Prayer Request to Make for the Church” and Paul was a contributor he’d say “I’d pray for the influence of the Holy Spirit!” Why? Because nothing is more necessary to a church’s being a force for God than the influence of the Spirit. It’s through the Spirit that unbelievers are converted (1 Corinthians 12:3, 1 Thessalonians 1:6). And it’s through the Spirit that Christians grow into maturity (2 Corinthians 3:17-18, Galatians 5:22).
So, if your church is going to be a place where unbelievers meet Jesus and believers become more like Jesus, it needs the Holy Spirit in a mighty way.
Nothing is more necessary to a church’s being a force for God than the influence of the Spirit. It’s through the Spirit that unbelievers are converted. And it’s through the Spirit that Christians grow into maturity.
Notice that this is a prayer. That’s because the way a church gets the influence of the Holy Spirit is through prayer. Jesus says, “If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Luke 11:13).
That’s what makes this so encouraging. There may be many things you can’t do for your church any more than you could pay off America’s debt with your savings. But you can pray for the influence of the Spirit!
Then notice that this is a prayer God wants you to pray again and again. You’re to “keep asking.” Why? First, because your church needs the Spirit as constantly as a diabetic needs her insulin. Second, because the Spirit delights in upgrading churches with newer OS’s on a regular basis. He has more and more he wants to do for and through your church!!!
Christian, start with this super-sized request today. Ask the Father for the Spirit. Ask and ask and ask. Ask him to unleash the Spirit in your pastor(s) and officers and the other brothers and sisters in the congregation. Take the church roll and every day pray for a handful of your church family. Once you’ve gone through the roll, start over and go through it again. And again. And again. Start doing that and you’ll be super-sizing your prayers. Start super-sizing your prayers and you’ll become someone who helps your church become a force for God.
THERE ARE MORE SUPER-SIZED REQUESTS TO COME IN PART 3!