I love and welcome a good challenge. Moreover, I like to challenge myself. One evening several years ago after a prayer meeting at my local church, I challenged a church leader about making prayer the focus of our prayer meetings. The response? "Well, you'll just be talking about the same things every week." This seasoned spiritual leader was not alone in his thinking. Many spiritual leaders and members believe that a church cannot and will not focus on prayer for 52 weeks-one full year. As a matter of fact, one pastor was emphatic in his position: "It will never happen."
Are you struggling with planning your prayer meetings? Are you thinking there's no way you can study and discuss prayer for 52 weeks? Yes, you can This 52 Weeks of Prayer Initiative (52- WPI) is just what you and your congregation needs. The Church@ Prayer: 52 Weeks at the Throne of Grace is a practical guide con- taining 52 essays on prayer that considers crucial concepts on the transforming influence of prayer and can be used to guide your prayer meeting discussions and sermon themes throughout the year.
These essays are not conclusive but are the author's spiritual musings on each passage of Scripture as seen through the eyes of prayer. As such, the essays were not written to cover every aspect of the specific theme; rather, they are intended to be used, along with the discussion questions, as a catalyst for the expression of the reader's thoughts and to encourage further dialogue.
Now you (your church) have more tools available to focus on prayer each week for the next year. I challenged myself to write these essays, and I'm currently challenging any new pastor to a church to spend the first 52 weeks of his tenure preaching and teaching about prayer. The challenge is also for any pastor-begin now by committing the next 52 weeks to preach and teach about prayer. Being intentional about prayer will set a tone for the con- gregation and unleash a tremendous wave of power to move that church forward spiritually.
I'm not a pastor, and I've never pastored a church, so I've never had the opportunity to implement this bold philosophy. But I am a Christian, and I've experienced the tremendous power of prayer. As such, I'm currently challenging spiritual leaders to try it. Spiritual leaders, this is your opportunity to engage your members over the next 52 weeks in practical prayer discussions that will foster ministries, programs, and activities to cultivate a house of prayer. I'm curious to see what God is going to do. What do you have to lose?