By Skip Pullen, District Representative, Eastern District
Contemplating Prayer and the Country Church
I have been thinking a bit about prayer and the country church. Prayer is greatly needed in the rural church. As I look at small churches in my travels, I wonder about the times of prayer that have taken place within those walls, as God’s people gathered together to pray. We especially need to be praying together today.
In Acts 2, we hear that there were four things that the early church was committed to: the apostles’ doctrine, the fellowship, the breaking of bread, and prayer. As a result of this commitment, Lord added to the church those who were being saved. Oh, we will find that our churches have phone trees and email groups, and these are good; but what is often missing is groups of believers praying together to seek God and His will in our rural churches and small town communities. Prayer and the country church must go hand in hand.
The Picture of Prayer in the Country Church
I visited a church not long ago; we discussed prayer in a group. One person saw the need for the church to grow and reach the community. This person prayed that God would bring people through the doors of their country church and show them who they should invite. Another person in the group prayed that God would not bring in too many, because they didn’t have enough workers. The first person good naturedly exclaimed, “Hey you are canceling out my prayer!” The reality is that they both saw a part of the picture.
The harvest is truly plentiful in our small-town communities. The problem was they had forgotten that Jesus has told us what to do, and it isn’t to not bring more people in. The answer is to pray to the Lord of the harvest to send laborers into the harvest. This is something the Lord wants us to pray.
Another thing about the call to prayer is that it isn’t primarily to lay out our “wish list” before His throne of grace. It is about seeking God the Father Himself. Jesus’ disciples asked Him to teach them to pray. It wasn’t how to put together a good Bible study or sermon, or even how to perform a miracle. They wanted to learn how to pray. They saw that everything flowed from Jesus’ relationship with His Father in heaven. First and foremost it is seeking God Himself. Matthew 6:33 says, “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added unto you.” This applies to country churches as well as individual believers. We need to make time to get aside and seek the Lord.
Skip will continue his thoughts on prayer in his next blog post.