Someone has said, “The church cannot rise to its feet until it falls to its knees.” Prayer is a neglected essential in church growth. We cannot overlook our total dependency upon God for guidance and strength in carrying out His mission. Our infatuation with the world’s approval and marketplace strategies can leave us empty and powerless to influence the world in a way that finds God’s approval. Too often, we appear to be shaping the church after our desires rather than conforming to the standards of the One who is head over His body (Col. 1:18). Seeking the growth of the church without seeking the One “who causes the growth” (1 Cor. 3:7), is like trying to drive an automobile without any gas in the tank. We might look good sitting there behind the wheel, but we are not going anywhere God wants to take us. Christ has given us His manual for church growth in His word. We must have the faith to execute His plan. But, in executing His plan, we must ask for His help.
The story is told of a little boy who was playing out in his backyard, trying to move a rock which seemed to be in the way of what he was doing. Try as he might, he simply could not budge the stone. Observing his frustration from a distance, his father walked over to his son and asked, “Son, have you done all that you can do to move that rock?” The boy angrily responded in the affirmative. “No,” his father replied, “You haven’t done everything…you haven’t asked me to help you.” Like that little boy, sometimes we feel like giving up. We feel powerless. It is then that the Father says, “You do not have because you do not ask” (Jas. 4:2). A church without prayer is a church without power. According to the apostle Paul, our God “is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us…” (Eph. 3:20). Let us tune in to His will for the church and plug into His power to glorify His name.