The following is an
excerpt from the book and is also a twofold brochure.
The brochure is downloadable on this page. The book
is available from The Bible League. Contact the C&E
Europe Department at info@BibleLeague.org
The Bible League, Box 28000, Chicago, IL60628 USA.
God's Word shows that whenever God begins to do a new
thing and He desires to mobilize His people, He begins
by calling them to prayer.
God has given prayer to unite, to guide and to empower
His people for life and ministry.
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Strategies for the Encouragement of Prayer that Contribute
to the Expansion and Multiplication of the Church
It is Gods plan that the knowledge of the Gospel spreads
so that Christ centered, growing, multiplying churches are accessible
throughout each nation. This will ensure that every person has
the opportunity to hear and see the Good News of the Gospel in
a way which is relevant to them and their situation. Such a deep
and widespread advance of the church will require a mobilized laity,
i.e. the mobilization to vision and ministry of the whole body
of Christ with all the gifting and resources God has placed there.
Encouraging prayer is a means God will use to mobilize His people
to vision and proactive ministry, to cleanse, unite, guide and
empower His people with spiritual vitality for His work.
The following are aspects in the mobilization of prayer that contribute
to the expansion and multiplication of the Church.
1. Leadership is an aspect of mobilizing prayer that contributes
It is not enough for leaders to simply believe in prayer. It must
be a vital part of their lives. The need in the mobilization of
prayer is for functional spiritual leadership, i.e. pacesetters
for prayer. The word pacesetter derives from the runner in a race
who moves ahead to set the pace. The pacesetter sets the example.
The leaders God will use to mobilize prayer are prayer pacesetters,
those who, by their words and life, encourage intimacy with God
and an aligning with Gods plans and purposes.
Pacesetters of prayer need to be multiplied on all different levels,
i.e. cell leaders of prayer (men, women and youth) on church, city,
regional and national levels.
2. Sharing of vision is an aspect of mobilizing prayer
The word vision is being used in the sense of the picture we hold
in our minds of the future based on what God has revealed in His
word. The sharing of vision regarding Gods desires and plans
concerns three areas.
First, leaders should share a clear scripturally based vision
of what God has given us in prayer. Most believers recognize that
prayer is foundational to spiritual life and ministry. However,
for them to make changes in their lives, in their schedules, and
priorities, in order to really devote themselves to growing in
their prayer lives, would require compelling reasons. These compelling
reasons given in Gods word need to be shared with all believers.
Gods word must be shared in such a way that believers come
to realize in a new and fresh way that God wants to make use of
both us and our prayers to move His purposes forward. Believers
must grow in their understanding of truth regarding the strategic
nature of prayer.
Their prayers are a means God has chosen to use to see
His purposes accomplished. This truth then becomes the motivation
for devoting themselves in a new and fresh way to prayer. It moves
them from praying out of a sense of obligation or duty -I
know I ought to pray - to praying because their prayers are
important. My prayers are a means God has ordained to use
to see His purposes accomplished. Since my prayers are important,
I choose to make prayer an increasing priority in my life.
A second aspect which encourages prayer is the sharing of the
vision the Scripture presents of Gods purposes and intentions.
We need to see our lives, our involvement in church and our mission
in the world from Gods perspective. Gods plans involve
the knowledge of His redemptive love being shared with all people.
His plan involves using His church, vital groups of believers,
to be salt and light throughout the whole world.( II Cor 5:18-20
) By this plan all people would have a credible witness of the
Good News of the Gospel. As believers come to see and align their
lives with Gods plans and purposes, and expect God to use
them, it motivates them in their prayer life.
A third area that can vitalize a vision for prayer is research.
The sharing of research on the spiritual situation of the harvest
field and harvest force can highlight needs and
opportunities. This research shows believers compelling reasons
to devote themselves in a new and deeper way to prayer, to seek
understanding, leading and empowerment. (Example of Nehemiah 1.)
Sharing vision encourages and motivates believers in their prayer
lives. When believers come to see that God will make use of both
them and their prayers to see His purposes accomplished and these
individuals begin to multiply it will result in a growing movement
of prayer among believers.
3. Sharing prayer focus is an aspect of mobilizing prayer
It is natural for us to focus our prayers on our immediate personal
needs. The Scriptures speak of praying for our daily provisions,
seeking forgiveness and protection. What we may not do so often
is pray along the lines of what God wants, for His plans and purposes.
Most of the prayers, instructions on prayer and prayer requests
found in Scripture concern encouragement for us to pray for issues
that are strategic in seeing vital advances of the Gospel. In other
words, when God answers these strategic prayers, the Gospel moves
forward in significant ways, i.e. His will is done, His kingdom
is advanced, etc. Praying in a strategic way has to do with our
sensitivity to pray for issues God has shown will empower the Gospel
to go forward. Praying in this manner strengthens the church and
contributes to seeing the reality of a "church planting movement" (a
widespread and systematic approach to the presentation of the Gospel
to a whole region or people), which is the purpose of The Alliance
for Saturation Church Planting (SCP).
The topics for prayers should include a focus on two areas.
First, prayer should be focused on issues involved in seeing Gods
purposes accomplished within the body of Christ. The greatest barriers
to the advance of the Gospel are often found inside the church!
These can be barriers in our relationship with God and with each
other, and Satan uses them to make the church weak and a poor witness
for the Lord. The focus of prayer should be for cleansing, healing,
unity, vision and growing genuine spirituality. ( Eph 1:15-19,
3:16-21, Col 1:9-11, Col 4:12. These give us examples of how to
pray for the church.)
The second focus involves encouraging prayer about issues the
Scriptures show are vital for the advance of the Gospel. Examples
are: prayer for laborers, open doors, boldness, the very words
to say, protection, wisdom, etc. ( Mt 9:38, Col 4:3, Eph 6:19-20,
etc.) as well as specific aspects regarding Gods leading
and empowering of evangelism and the planting of new churches.
Note: In encouraging prayer, there is need to be sensitive to
keep the plain things on which God has given us clear instruction
the main things and to avoid extra-biblical issues that tend to
divide the body of Christ.
4. Sharing biblical principles of prayer is an aspect of mobilizing
Just as we receive encouragement in other areas of the Christian
life, so we are to stimulate one another in prayer. God will use
this to grow believers in their understanding of prayer. Such encouragement
involves a Biblical dealing with questions such as: What does prayer
have to do with anything? Why do we pray? What are the foundations
of intercession? What does it mean to co-labor with Christ in prayer?
To be praying always? How can we pray in accord with Gods
will? What has fasting to do with prayer? How does God answer prayer?
What are our expectations to be about the timing of answers to
prayer? Why does God not answer some prayer? It is important to
share the principles of prayer.
5. Literature is an aspect of mobilizing prayer that contributes
Literature is a vital way of communicating and keeping the focus
of prayer on those issues that will move the church forward. The
early church copied letters from the Apostles and passed them around.
This literature gave reports, continuing instruction and strategic
prayer requests. It is helpful to develop and share Biblically
based prayer literature. These resources both help communicate
the goal in mobilizing prayer and keep the focus clear.
6. Networking of individual and group prayer is an aspect of mobilizing
prayer that contributes to movement
Networking is the process by which individuals and organizations
become connected with one another in order to achieve common goals.
Networking among the whole body of Christ is an important aspect
of mobilizing prayer. In the course of networking out among believers,
sharing both vision and prayer encouragement, you will find existing
groups that gather for prayer on a regular basis. These may be
church groups, youth groups, or special interest groups. Praise
God for His work among these prayer groups and seek to resource
them with encouragement in prayer. As biblical encouragement and
instruction on prayer is shared, it will quite naturally bring
a focus to prayer onto those strategic issues that God has given
us to pray for so that His kingdom may advance. These individuals
and groups need to be networked to other aspects that contribute
to an SCP movement: to vision casting, research, training, mentoring,
evangelism and church planting initiatives. The expectation is
not that these groups would all completely align with our prayer
focus, but some would and others would at least begin to include
in their prayer the issues involved in strategic advances of the
7. Mentoring of prayer leaders and those God is raising up as leaders
is an aspect of mobilizing prayer that contributes to movement.
Mentoring is the developing of purposeful relationships, where
one who knows or has resources shares, either generally or at critical
moments, in such a way as to assist personal and/or ministry development.
The mentoring relationship involves a genuine personal interest
in the individual and his ministry. Most people understand positional
authority, but in mentoring there is a different kind of authority.
It is a relational authority. The mentoring of emerging leaders
of prayer is an important aspect of both seeing new leaders raised
up and modeling a more Biblical style of leadership.
8. Sharing models is an aspect of mobilizing prayer that contributes
In seeking to see Gods purposes advanced, we need to look
for particular ways of mobilizing prayer beyond personal intercession
and weekly church prayer meetings. Prayer partners (2 people),
prayer triplets (3 people), or prayer cells are some of the ways
of mobilizing much intense prayer focused on the issues that will
bring an advance of the Gospel. These are ways of forming small
groups of believers who commit to meet together on a regular basis
Conclusion: The mobilization of prayer is foundational to the expansion
and multiplication of the Church
Throughout Scripture and in all of the accounts of revivals, we
see that prayer - deep intercessory prayer - has preceded all the
mighty visitations of God among his people. It seems whenever God
begins to do a new thing and He wants to mobilize His people (believers),
He begins by calling them to pray. This is because Christianity
is a lay movement. Widespread evangelism and church planting movements
require a mobilized laity: The mobilization of all the gifting
and resources God has placed in His body, the church, to both vision
and ministry. To see such a mobilization and advance of the church
will necessitate more than goals, strategies, people and natural
resources. There must be a genuine and holistic attention to prayer.
For prayer is a vital resource that God has given us for accomplishing
His purposes. Prayer is foundational to the mobilization and multiplication
of the church.
Initial Issues for Prayer in the Facilitating
of a "Movement
of Prayer" among God's People
Both personally and in groups asking God to:
1. work within us a thirst and deep hunger for communion
and intimacy with Himself, and for His visitation upon our land.
2. produce within us a holy discontent with things as they
3. give us a new sense of the urgency of the need for a
deep and widespread advance of the Gospel in our land.
4. reveal to us new dimensions of His Holiness and understanding
of His eternal purposes. That the Lord would increasingly manifest
His Glory and Presence among His people.
5. search us and reveal all impediments within us to His
using us, that we might be cleansed vessels for His use and stand
united in seeking the advance of His plans and purposes.
6. raise up a spirit of prayer among His people, which
would be evidenced in a growing lifestyle of prayer and living
close to God, and growing passion for intercession for those issues
that will advance His kingdom's purposes.
7. give us a new sensitivity to the guidance of The Holy
Spirit and a vision for the Church as He desires it.
8. give us an eagerness to be used by the Lord and a willingness
to obey and trust Him more fully.
9. open our eyes to see where He is working, so as Elisha's
servant we can recognize His working and exercise greater faith
to join Him in it.
10. fill us with the desire and ability to increasingly
live faithful, fervent, focused lives.
What a great work God has called us
to pray and minister in such a way that our world is changed
Ordinary people with an extraordinary God.
Praying for Issues Scripture Shows will Allow, Guide
and Empower the Gospel to Go Forward in Significant ways
1. When the Lord saw the crowd of people, He was moved
with compassion on them because they were weary and were scattered
as sheep without a shepherd. So He said to His disciples, The
harvest is large, but there are few workers to gather it in.
Therefore I want you to pray to the Lord of the harvest that
He will send out laborers to gather in the harvest. Mt
Christ, the head of the Church, is saying, You who are
my disciples, pray to the Father, that He would send out
all the harvesters, all the workers needed to bring in the harvest
of souls. Then the Lord of the harvest calls those
workers, He equips them with spiritual gifts and assigns them
to their work, and guides and empowers them.
The Apostle Paul prayed and encouraged prayer for these strategic
2. "...that utterance may be given
Pray that God would give the logos - the words to speak,
the appropriate expressions for sharing the Gospel. Paul did not
always present the Gospel in exactly the same way, and he knew
the importance of seeking Gods guidance. Lord, give
us the strategies and the very words to share that will advance
3. ..that I may open my mouth boldly to
make known the mystery of the Gospel....that I may speak boldly
as I ought to speak. Eph 6:19-20
Paul knew the importance of seeking Gods enablement to
make him bold. Lord, anoint us with boldness to proclaim
Your Word in spite of all obstacles and threats.
that God would open unto us a door of
utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ. Col 4:3-4
Paul knew the importance of seeking God to go before him and
open doors, that the Gospel might go forward. Lord, open
doors and remove the obstacles in the way of sharing the Gospel.
5. Paul prayed, and requested others to pray that he would
the Gospel manifest as he ought. Col 4:4
Paul knew the importance of seeking Gods empowering, so
he could clearly proclaim the Gospel. Lord, empower the sharing
of the Gospel, through both our words and deeds.
Sharing Models for Mobilizing Prayer
There are many models for mobilizing prayer beyond personal intercession
and weekly church prayer meetings. Some examples of ways of forming
small groups of believers, who commit to meet together on a regular
basis to pray are: prayer partners (2 people), prayer triplets
(3 people), or prayer cells. Through these models much intense
prayer can be mobilized focused on issues that will bring an advance
of Gods purposes.
"Prayer cell" is an especially descriptive word because
it brings to mind the growing and reproducing element that is the
desired characteristic of these groups. An example of how these
prayer cells can function is as follows. When a prayer cell meets,
it begins with a time of first quieting members and inviting the
Holy Spirit to guide the time. Then they share with each other
how things are going in their own lives spiritually. There must
be a realness, a genuineness, with God and one another. Next they
ask God to instruct and grow them in their prayer life. Then they
make use of the means God will use to answer this prayer, the Scriptures.
Next is a short, inductive Bible study to uncover truths about
prayer. For prayer, as other areas of the Christian life, needs
to be worked at to be developed. The prayers and prayer requests
of the apostle Paul are especially instructive. They show us prayers
inspired by the Holy Spirit and highlight key issues we are to
be lifting up in prayer to advance the Gospel. Then comes a time
of intercession. Pray in accordance with how the Scriptures teach
first and then for other specific prayer requests. Intercession
is made for individuals, groups and issues involved in advancing
Gods kingdom. Conclude by praying for the growth of the prayer
cell and encourage cell members to share what they are learning
about prayer with others. Encourage cell members to share with
others on issues of prayer and invite others, especially new believers,
to join a prayer cell convenient to where they live or work. The
ideal number for a cell seems to be four to six participants before
it divides. This allows all to most fully participate.
Each prayer cell needs a leader, and should have at least one
person in training for leadership. The leader is a conduit for
bringing current prayer requests and answers to prayer into the
cell. The leader also shepherds the functioning of the cell, being
sensitive to encourage the participation of all. They also train
new leaders and encourage the multiplication of the cells.
There is usually an established time frame for the prayer cell
meeting. Some cell groups meet for an hour, some for an evening
or a whole night. These groups usually meet once a week, and at
a time that does not conflict with any church meetings.
Why Do We Labor and Pray for the Advance
of the Gospel?
We hold with a holy boldness the following core convictions
that God has given us to believe, which are also the basis
for our being able to labor together.
We believe that the Scriptures teach:
- they are the inspired revelation of God and the only basis
for faith and Christian living. All scripture is given
by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof,
for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man
of God may be complete, thoroughly furnished unto all good works. (II
Tim 3:16-17) The Scripture is complete and all the revelation
that is needed. Sola Scriptura.
- there is one God, in three persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
They are one in essence, eternally co-existent and co-equal.
- that the Lord Jesus Christ is the sole source of salvation.
Jesus said, I am the way... (Jn
14:6). There is an exclusivity here, for all other paths to God
are eliminated. The apostle Peter said, neither is there
salvation in any other, for there is no other name under
heaven and earth given among men whereby we must be saved. (Acts
4:12). The apostle Paul said, There is one foundation...the
Lord Jesus Christ. (1Cor 3:11) For there is
one God and one mediator between God and
men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for
all... (I Tim 2:5-6) Jesus Christ is the sole source
- salvation is by grace, a free gift apart from works. By
grace you are saved through faith. It is not the result of
your efforts, but Gods gift that no one can boast about
it. ( Eph 2:8 ) God commended His love towards
us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. For
when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death
of His Son... (Rom 5:8 &10) Salvation
is the free gift of God.
- salvation is appropriated by personal faith in who Jesus Christ
is and what He accomplished in His death and resurrection. If
you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your
heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. (Rom
10:9) Jesus said, But as many as received Him, to them
gave He the power to become the children of God, to them that
believe that believe on His name. (John 1:12) Therefore,
since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God
through our Lord Jesus Christ (Rom 5:1 ). Salvation
is only possible through a relationship with Jesus Christ. It
is personally activated in an individual through the regenerating
work of the Holy Spirit, which causes one to realize his lost
and sinful condition, and enables him to repent and trust the
Lord Jesus Christ.
- there is the expectation that the body of Christ would spread
and grow numerically ( Mt 28:19 & Eph 4:15-16 ). It is Gods
plan that the knowledge of salvation available in Jesus Christ
should be shared with all people, that they may believe and be
saved. He has entrusted the spreading of the Gospel to us who
have experienced redemption ourselves. We believers are ministers
of reconciliation, ambassadors, co-laborers with Christ. These
words are all pictures God has given that present the active
participation of believers in the advance of the Gospel. The
church, Gods redeemed, is His instrument of proclaiming
the Gospel, both verbally and through demonstrating the relevance
of faith and the transforming power of the Good News.
|God has plans and purposes in each nation. He desires
to use both us and our prayers to see His will accomplished.
Will we pray and work in such a way that our world is changed?
The Alliance for Saturation Church Planting exists to encourage
and resource initiatives in prayer, research, mentoring, evangelism
and church planting. Resource materials are available.
This material may be reproduced and/or translated as long as there
is clear acknowledgment of the source and author.
Glenn Livingston, Prayer Movement Facilitator