helping everyday disciples live on mission
A Prayer-First Culture
At our recent leadership meetings, I appreciated hearing from Derek Paranteau, member of our Global Lead Team, about cultivating a prayer-first culture in our organization. This was the challenge that he shared with us:
“Putting prayer first is a non-negotiable mission. We can try to lead with strategy, funding, training, or hard work, but it won’t multiply into the abundant harvest that Jesus has called us to. Trust me, I’ve tried! Attempting to fulfill the Great Commission without putting prayer first is a fool’s errand, like chasing after the wind. It’s exhausting, frustrating and it can hurt people. Let’s start where Jesus started – at the source. Putting prayer first postures us in a place of dependency and intimacy with the Father that promises and outpouring of the Holy Spirit. The result is empowerment for faithful participation in God’s mission. For the sake of the lost, let’s join together and encourage a prayer-first culture that would transform people of all nations.”
We noted that patriarchs of faith like Abraham, Moses, and David talked with god first before seeing his promises fulfilled. When they didn’t pray first, things didn’t go well.
Jesus prayed to his Father for forty days before he started his ministry. During his ministry, he slipped away regularly to pray. Even before he was crucified, he was communicating with God in the garden. He told his disciples to wait and pray before they received the Holy Spirit and the Great Commission. Likewise, the early church was known for it’s prayer-first culture, before receiving visions, before sending missionaries. The church throughout history also saw its greatest advances preceded by focused, fervent prayer.
What about us? Are we cultivating a prayer-first culture in our churches and in our mission? Rhythms of prayer encourage a culture of prayer. What is our practice?
Derek suggested that we mark the first hour of every day with prayer, the first day of every week, the first weekend every month and the first week of every year with abundant prayer.
“This is an invitational practice, not prescriptive,” Derek said. “It is a discipline of prophetic invitation, more about a heart shift, and less about the quantity or timing of prayer. Putting prayer first is the important part – how each one of us does it will vary.”
Ask God what it will look like for you to embrace a prayer-first culture in your family, in your church, and beyond. Begin a regular rhythm of prayer.
“Evening and morning and at noon, I will pray, and cry around, and he shall hear my voice” (Psalm 55:17).