This post is part 5 in a series where I post excerpts from the book Old Paths New Power written by Daniel Henderson. I resist making a commentary on the book. Rather, I pull out excerpts that caught my attention at this stage of my pastoral journey.
Chapter 5: Finding Conviction to Make a Change (p. 92-105)
Thirty minutes of spirit-aided intercessory prayer is more effective than all the new programs and stylistic changes we are constantly thinking with. Human ingenuity cannot be compared to God’s power. Page 92
Commenting on this display of emotion [Jesus’ at the cleansing of the Temple], Stetzer and Rainer write, “Jesus angry when we use his assembly for anything other than his intended purpose. Specifically, he is angry when prayer is replaced by earthly activities. Jesus expects his people to practice praying and encourage others to do the same… Strategies, excellence, methods, or more commitment cannot substitute for humble dependence on God.” Page 93
At best, it seemed the ministry engaged in what I call “zipper prayer” – opening in prayer and closing in prayer. Page 94
Real prayer is not an excuse for laziness but, in fact, is one of the most arduous engagements I know of in ministry. Page 95
Clearly, some church leaders are content with a “Martha” mindset – serving but not listen to the Master. Page 95
Without pulling excerpts it’s worth noting the stages or levels of engagement of leadership in congregational prayer: complacency, cooperation, concerns, commitment, conviction, and competency. Page 96 – 101.
During a recent leadership event a few years ago, he [Jim Cymbala] said it so clearly and convincingly: “our people will pay good money to go to hear some Christian musician but they won’t come to meet with Jesus for free. I take it personally. What am I preaching? Am I leading people to a personality, a church, an event, a denomination? Or am I leading them to Jesus?” Page 100
I believe it comes down to this: somewhere in the journey, God may introduce a degree of crisis to bring a leader to the point of desperation. Page 101
In its fundamental division, we find the first part of the prayer is God-ward while the second part is man-ward. I like to describe it this way: he is worthy, I’m needy. Page 102 in reference to the Lord’s prayer.