Strategic Blindspots for the People of God
In spring 2019, I went looking for examples of powerful people of prayer.
What did it look like to pray like Elijah, powerfully and effectively?
I checked YouTube first, that tool for learning everything from how to make an omelet to how to lay concrete blocks for houses.
But I couldn’t find anything on prayer. No examples of Corrie ten Boom praying, though her book The Hiding Place indicates her powerful prayers.
I could find no one demonstrating simple prayers for the beginner.
I reached out to my college mentor Connie Anderson, now head of intercessory prayer for InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. Was I just not looking for the right names, or for the right words?
She didn’t know of anything either.
I asked several of my parents’ friends, different heads of missions organizations. They were kind in their replies, but had nothing much to suggest.
What a strategic blindspot for the people of God! No widely accessible training!
It’s not that I had no knowledge of prayer. I had decades of church services. Dozens of books on my shelf about prayer. Scores of prayer meeting prayers. Occasional outstanding prayer experiences, like special services, or prayer walking, or prayer training.
But they all had the same overall feel: dutiful obedience.
What a strategic blindspot for the people of God! No expectation of change!
A year later, I connected with Bob Perry. I wanted prayer for my business, because I could see certain entrenched areas that were not shifting.
As we talked, we realized how little prayer the church turned to the workplace. Even though many believers spend only a week or two in church, but forty or more hours in the workplace.
What would it be like if Jesus followers intentionally thought about bringing God’s kingdom with them wherever they went, including into the workplace?
What a strategic blindspot for the people of God! No focus on the workplace!
As Bob and I talked and prayed, we also realized how little support the church offers to people of prayer.
If you have a gift to help people, you can go to school to become a counselor.
If you have a gift to teach people, you can go to seminary to become a pastor.
If you have a gift to worship, you can take music lessons, or go to school, or practice with the church worship team.
But what training and equipping do people of prayer have?
Some churches do have prayer meetings, but these are not so much instructional as participatory. What if you want to improve in prayer?
Where could you turn?
What a strategic blindspot for the people of God! No prayer mentoring!
Prayer is, of course, a conversation, a gift, and a grace.
It is also a skill, and, like other skills (football, painting, baking, writing, etc.), we can improve with coaching and mentoring.
It turns out that Bob has spent 40 years asking God to teach him to pray.
He combines an encyclopedic knowledge of the scripture with passionate learning (about 500 books on prayer in his personal library) and intentional mentoring. In fact, his friends and mentors include many spiritual giants of the the last fifty years:
• Rosemarie Klaussen (mentored by Corrie ten Boom)
• Mike Bickle (Kansas City International House of Prayer)
• Lou Engle (The Call)
• Joy Dawson (YWAM)
• Jack Hayford (Church on the Way)
• Dick Eastman (Every Home for Christ)
• Dick Simms (Men’s Prayer)
• Bill Johnson (Bethel Redding)
He said, “I have always had a dream to write or publish, but whenever I tried,
I always felt like my lane was just to pray.”
My lane, though, has always been writing and editing.
It has been my privilege to extract what Bob carries, so that rather than a cistern of prayer without an outlet, his knowledge can start to flow.
Our goal is to change the narrative of prayer worldwide: to stop the lackadaisical, boring, faithless prayers that have little passion behind them or hope of change, and instead advance with a real depth of faith and expectation of change.
After all, if we pray and don’t expect change, why are we wasting our time?
We don’t pray to satisfy some vague cosmic requirement, but to actually bring change on the earth.
As Bob and I look ahead, we are excited about what God has already done, and what we have coming.
But we feel so much urgency around expanding our reach in teaching others how to pray effectively.
Some of our ideas:
• Prayer Apprenticeship.
A training program to raise up powerful, healthy prayer people, who know their identity in Christ, know how to hear God’s voice, know what to ask and how, and know how to do so with good spiritual hygiene, without falling prey to the enemy’s schemes.
Effective, joyful people of prayer? Let’s release these workers into the field!
• Prayer Experiences.
How can we encourage people to pray? Often a short, group activity is a great way to dive in. For example:
- F(e)ast: a 21-day group fast in January.
- Pray for Breakthrough: a 30-day challenge to pray the prayer of Jabez daily.
- Savor Communion: a 31-day challenge to take communion every day for a month.
We have more ideas!
Sacred Assembly calls. One day fasts. A focus on wisdom. A focus on having the mind of Christ.
We’ve put many of these into practice to a small degree already, but we look to expand the scope in the days to come.
• Prayer Discipleship Communications.
We have about two dozen manuscripts that are ready for design, printing, and distribution, and we get new ideas for compelling content almost every day.
We want these publications to go out in physical, digital, and audio form.
As we look back at the beginning of our ministry, Bob and I are so thankful for the goodness of God and the lives we’ve seen changed.
We invite you to partner with us financially, as we seek to change the narrative on prayer worldwide.