In the Edge Network (part of The Crowded House) we have been learning more about our reliance on God in mission and therefore the need to make prayer central to our mission strategy. This is a truth we all know in our heads, but our practice so often reflects an assumption that our actions are what matters.
It is worth asking why we do not make prayer central. We suspect it reflects our desire to be in control. If my strategy is to persuade people with carefully constructed argument then I am in control (and if I am not then I can read a book to acquire better argument). But if my strategy is to pray for miracles, dreams, open hearts then I am not in control. If I pray with an unbeliever for a specific need then I am not control of the outcome. But this scary reliance on God is precisely what we want to cultivate in the life of our network. This is a strategy that lets God be the primary agent of mission; that lets God be God.
So we want to make prayer:
– our central missional activity
– our first recourse when needs or opportunities arise
This involves three things.
First, it involves routine, regular, organised prayer. In other words, we will arrange to meet together to prayer often within the life of our network because this is our primary missional activity. We want to review and expand our Pentecost Prayer meetings. We would like to encourage everyone to host a meeting, even if only a couple of you regularly attend.
Second, it involves a reflex towards impromptu prayer. In other words, we will make it common to pray whenever and wherever and with whomever as needs arise, both with Christians and unbelievers.
Third, we will also offer to bring prayer needs to our Christian community.
So when unbelievers talk of problems, we will say things like:
– ‘Would you like me to pray with you?’
– ‘I’ll ask my church to pray about that’
We can also ask people a follow-up question: ‘We’ve been praying for you; what’s the news?’