A Pastor’s Story: Impact, Numbers and Expectations
Worship Based Prayer for me has really been a defining part of my spiritual journey. Spelling out its impact in detail is a bit more difficult; It has simply become a part of who I am as a person, causing me to place worship of God at a higher priority in my life versus asking from God.
For our church, again, this focus has really defined who we are as a church. The success of Worship based prayer is not wrapped up in the success of the weekly prayer gathering, but it is in the way the culture of our church has developed. People who are more aware of what worship is, who are able to pray in ways that are not just asking God for things, who are able to see scripture as much more than something to learn and live by, but to hear God speak through it.
I could mention that our worship team has changed through prayer, that our seniors are embracing a church life that is different from what they knew in the past, that our leadership team has recognized the priority of prayer. I could mention the individual lives changed, literally, from a powerful move of the Spirit in their life, coming not from our teaching or programs, but from people praying. I could also mention that responsive corporate prayer has become accepted in our Sunday morning services, that people are comfortable speaking out in prayer in larger groups, that we’ve learned how to pray out loud all together at one time, not perfect, but comfortable for many.
For our church, I could really summarize the impact of Worship Based Prayer in one word: LIFE. It has brought a life to our church that people are noticing and being drawn to. In fact, that word would apply to myself as well, life.
This is what I think of when I hear other pastors struggling to lead their churches in Worship Based Prayer. Our measure of success is based so much on the number of people at the prayer meeting. My experience has been that the impact is far greater than one event in church life; should we not measure our success by the total impact?
If my expectation as a pastor is that prayer is only succeeding if I have a large turnout to the prayer gathering, I am most certainly going to be disappointed. However, If I am resolved on the priority of prayer in the life of our church, and I persist, encouraged by the few who catch the vision (remnant), I will see God working in our midst. If my resolve is tied to an expectation, my resolve is on shaky ground. If my resolve is tied to the truth of the priority of prayer, then I can persist allowing God to determine the outcome. It does not matter what that outcome is, I am still being one who has placed pursuing God in prayer as a priority in my life, that is pleasing to Him.
This is helping me to understand why I have stayed so committed to the work of worship based prayer. There are so many lifeless churches, there are so many pastors chasing after methods to grow or simply keep their churches going, there are so many people who have lost faith in the church. The call to return to Worship, Prayer, and the Word, a return to the priorities of the early church, is essential for the return of a powerful revived church.
God has called us to this work. It’s impacted my life, our church, our association of churches, (a story that is still being written), be encouraged, carry on.
Lyndon Byler serves as the Senior Pastor of Maranatha Fellowship in Dover, DE. In addition to being a full time pastor and prayer champion within his own church, Lyndon also serves the denominational prayer leader for his entire denomination. For more information on Lyndon’s ministry, visit www.dovermarantha.com