Prayer is a Life and Death Issue

“First, we need to make sure you have a strong prayer team. Prayer is essential for a Disciple Making Movement. Every Disciple Making Movement has been preceded by a prayer movement.”

Confident, the church planter smiled. “I have a really strong prayer team. We been together for years.”

I sipped my coffee and thought about my reply. “That’s great! Most people only have about 30-100 people in their prayer team. Usually, they don’t have the over 1,000 global prayer team members I teach my disciple-makers to aim for. I’m glad you already have a great team.”

The planter’s face fell. “Well…I don’t have anywhere near 1,000.”

“Then that’s where we’ll start.”

I talk with a lot of missionaries and church planters. Most tell me their prayer teams right around a hundred people or less. More often than not, their prayer team is only slightly larger than the number of their financial supporters.

This won’t do. David Watson, the father of the modern Disciple Making Movement among the Bhojpuri told me that they had people in every timezone in their prayer team. He estimated they had over 100,000 people praying globally for the salvation of the Bhojpuri people and for the disciple-makers working among them. What might be the most astonishing - particularly in the age of social media - is that they developed this team with emails, land-line phone calls, face-to-face coffee meetings, and handwritten airmail letters. They had volunteers and partners whose primary job assignments were mobilizing prayer, equipping people to pray, and leading prayer. They recognized that advancing the Kingdom of God into places where the prince of darkness has ruled unchecked for so long was first and foremost a spiritual act. They took their roles very seriously, as if life and death hung upon their actions. And, when you take into account the hundreds of Believers that have been martyred over the last few decades, it was.

There is no doubt that ‘What gets measured is what gets done.’ If we take helping people fall in love with Jesus on the massive scale of a Disciple Making Movement seriously, we must take the business of starting Prayer Movements seriously. Agencies, churches, and leaders focused on catalyzing Disciple Making Movements must require every local and international disciple-making team to have a written prayer strategy with tactics that will help them achieve clear and measurable goals along the lines of mobilizing, equipping, and leading prayer teams.

One pastor said, “‘You-should’s’ without the ‘how-to’s’ lead to self-condemnation and frustration.” Telling disciple-makers to develop prayer strategies, tactics, and goals without giving them solid and practical how-to’s is not helpful. Ministry leaders must take responsibility and equip disciple-makers to successfully implement their prayer strategy, evaluate the effectiveness of their tactics, achieve their goals, and celebrate success.

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