Prayer – The Engine of the Church

It happens every time … for me at least. Isn’t it interesting how something that engages your senses at one point in your life, can bring back memories of another place and time? Last week as I was in St. Louis, I found myself walking by Busch Stadium and as soon as the blended aroma of hotdogs, peanuts, nachos, and peanuts (to name a few of the dominant ingredients) hit me, I was taken back to a time of summer traditions, lifelong memories, inside jokes, and cherished time with family and friends. In unique ways, these memories of these moments have helped shape me into the man I am today. I don’t remember everything we did on those trips but I do remember the lasting effect of those trips.

Earlier this week as I came across a stand-alone sermon (one not in a larger series) that I had preached from 2014, and I was freshly affected by the truth of God’s word within the sermon. In many ways, I was taken back to an ordinary week of preparation and a very regular Sunday morning where I preached these truths. I remember the preparation, I remember the delivery, and I remember the anticipation of waiting and watching how the Lord would graciously imbed these truths deep into our community so that CLC would never be the same again.

Fast-forward two years, almost to the date. As the sheen of being a “church plant” continually gives way to the growing challenges of being a faith family who enjoys God, who seeks to consistently and sacrificially love one another, and who is willing to die to ourselves for the sake of making disciples of all nations—many of whom are not believers even as I write this—the challenge of this sermon entitled The Power of the Church is as relevant today as it was for us then. This sermon serves as a warning against the drift into prayerlessness, and an encouragement as to why and how we can grow together in prayerfulness.

I am often asked what my biggest hopes and concerns are for CLC. Easily one of my greatest concerns is that at some point something breaks down in our understanding of who we are together in Christ, why we gather and scatter, how we are indispensible to one another in our pursuit of godliness, and that we somehow settle for playing the dangerous game of church, whereby we seek to manage people’s expectations of us rather than ruthlessly – as though life depended on it – fighting to throw off sin, joyfully giving our lives to His work, and consistently keeping our eyes on the Author and Perfector of our faith.

I want to encourage you to find a few minutes to read the sermon The Power of the Church, and take time to answer the many questions asked throughout. These sermon notes are full of incomplete sentences, grammar oddities, references to MCs (not CGs), and notes that remind me of something that may not mean much to you … so if that is hard to decipher, you can listen to the sermon here (scroll down to 07.27.2014). Today I’m specifically praying the same things I prayed two years ago…

I wonder if July 27, 2014 would begin the countdown to a great harvest at CLC as a widespread movement of prayer would burn within us. Church, this isn’t a call for you guys to do better at praying — no, this is a call for us all to be humbled greatly at a lack of earnest prayer, realize what is at stake, and be serious about not being the polished car with no engine! If what we are after is a Sunday morning, MC meeting, Sunday morning, MC meeting motion of religious activity, then I can see how we may think we don’t need prayer! Prayer isn’t vital for watching TV, surfing the internet, living with no risk! If you aren’t sacrificing anything, living for anything bigger than yourself, you can do that on your own and create a Christianity where prayer is never really necessary – just sometimes nice to have. However, when you give it all up to follow Christ, when He is your only hope, your only desire, when the longing of your heart is to lead others to Him, when your soul aches at the billions who’ve never heard … you depend on prayer.

May God be gracious to grow us up together in these ways. I pray that as you read this, you would be able to look back and recount His grace for the ways He has grown your church family thus far. I pray that we would look back two years from now recounting all the ways He has been faithful in doing far more than we could ask or imagine.

Justin Perry

Posted on: June 24, 2016 - 12:40PM

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