Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ. 1 Corinthians 11:1
Last week I began writing about culture and how important it is to strive to have a culture of Christlikeness. This Sunday we will start through the book of Colossians in a series called Christ-Centered Living. Christ is the foundation of the church (1 Cor. 3:11) and Colossians highlights the supremacy and sufficiency of Christ. I would love to invite you to weekly read through Colossians and come with high expectations that God will speak through His Word to accomplish His purposes in our lives and conform us more and more into the image of Christ.
Back to culture, last week we talked about having a “Great Commission” culture where evangelism and discipleship become part of our DNA. We are always on the lookout for opportunities to talk to people about the Lord and helping others become growing disciples of Jesus. Next, we want to have a culture of Prayer. Prayer should be our first course of action. We need God’s help in every area of life and ministry. As a matter of fact, a few weeks ago the staff went up to the worship center and prayed for the sound system. We know how distractive our sound issues were throughout July. I think there was some spiritual warfare going on and the enemy will use whatever means he can to bring frustrations, discouragements and chaos into our lives. We did all we knew to do (and even had sound professionals helping us) but we continued to have issues. We did everything we knew to do except pray. I know this sounds silly but I’ve been praying for our sound system ever since.
Jesus was pretty clear in John 15:5 when He said, “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” So often I’ve tried to accomplish things based on my abilities, experience, or understanding without relying upon God or seeking His divine assistance in prayer. Most of the time it has been a flop. I can’t tell you how many times I have laid a sermon before the Lord on Sunday morning and said this is all I’ve got and asked Him to bless it for His purposes and for His glory. He is able to do so much more than we even expect. God wants us to live in dependence upon Him. As with so many spiritual disciplines, Jesus gave us the best example. Jesus regularly got alone with the Father and lived His earthly life in dependence upon the Father.
While we have so many Biblical exhortations to pray, to pray without ceasing, to ask, seek and knock, and to persevere in prayer, so often we neglect praying for spiritual matters. Yes, we can do church stuff on our own and even make it look pretty nice. But there is very little power and little lasting fruit apart from the powerful work of the Spirit. We need to live in dependence upon God. We must be careful not to trust in our personalities, performances, facilities, finances, cleverness or our concoctions. We need the Spirit’s wisdom, guidance and power that we find through seeking Him in prayer. So, how is your prayer life?
A Great Commission culture and a culture of prayer are very connected. We really should begin each day by asking God for opportunities to have gospel conversations and encounters. As we go throughout the day, we need to ask the Lord for eyes to see both needs and opportunities around us. We should also pray for boldness to speak as we ought to speak (Eph. 6:18-20). Let us be a people of prayer. Let us be a church of prayer!