Prayer for Corporate Accountability
Everything you need to know about human rights and corporate accountability
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Globalization has changed the world we live in. It presents new and complex challenges for the protection of human rights.
Economic players, especially multinational companies that operate across national borders, have gained unprecedented power and influence across the world.
Companies have an enormous impact on people’s lives and the communities in which they operate. Sometimes the impact is positive – jobs are created, new technology improves lives and investment in the community translates into real benefits for those who live there.
But Amnesty has exposed countless instances when corporations exploit weak and poorly enforced domestic regulation with devastating effect on people and communities.
There are few effective mechanisms at national or international level to prevent corporate human rights abuses or to hold companies to account. Amnesty is working to change this.
In Bodo Creek in Ogoniland, Nigeria, two oil spills (August/December 2008) destroyed thousands of livelihoods. Oil poured from faults in the Trans-Niger Pipeline for weeks, covering the area in a thick slick of oil.
Amnesty and our partner, the Centre for Environment, Human Rights and Development, worked with the community to get the oil company responsible – Shell – to clean up its mess and pay proper compensation.Finally in December 2014, the Bodo community won a long-awaited victory when Shell paid out an unprecedented £55million in compensation after legal action in the UK.
“We are thankful to all that have contributed in one way or another to the conclusion of this case such as the various NGOs, especially Amnesty International, who have come to our aid.” said Chief Sylvester Kogbara, Chairman of the Bodo Council of Chiefs and Elders.
Children outside the former Union Carbide facility in Bhopal, India. 1 December 2012. © Giles Clarke/Getty Images Reportage
States have a responsibility to protect human rights. However, many are failing to do this, especially when it comes to company operations – whether because of lack of capacity, dependence on the company as an investor or outright corruption.
Companies operating across borders are often involved in severe abuses, such as forced labour or forcibly relocating communities from their lands.
Unsurprisingly, abuses are particularly stark in the extractive sector, with companies racing against each other to mine scarce and valuable resources.
Traditional livelihoods are destroyed as land is contaminated and water supplies polluted such as in Ogoniland, Nigeria.
The impact can be particularly severe for Indigenous Peoples because their way of life and their identity is often closely related to their land.
Affected communities are frequently denied access to information about the impact of company operations. Meaning they are excluded from participating in decisions that affect their lives.Although it is now widely accepted that corporations have a responsibility to respect human rights, too many times profits are built on the back of human rights abuses. Despite laws in many countries that allow companies to be prosecuted, governments rarely even investigate corporate wrongdoing.
When communities’ attempt to get justice they are thwarted by ineffective legal systems, a lack of access to information, corruption and powerful state-corporate alliances. Worryingly, when the poor cannot secure justice, companies learn that they can exploit poverty without consequences.
What Amnesty is calling for
• Prevention: all companies should be required by law to take steps to identify, prevent and address human rights abuses (known as due diligence).
• Accountability: companies must be held to account for abuses they commit.
• Remedy: people whose rights have been abused by companies must be able to access justice and effective remedy.
• Protect rights beyond borders: companies operate across borders, so the law must also operate across borders to protect people’s rights.
Average payment of $1,000 a person – for killing and poisoning the Bhopal community. What an insult. Get Union Carbide back in court.#Whereartdhow Tweet this now!
The issue in detail
The accountability gap
Companies have lobbied governments to create international investment, trade and tax laws that protect corporate interests. But the same companies frequently argue against any development in international law and standards to protect human rights in the context of business operations.
Companies are taking advantage of weak regulatory systems, especially in developing countries, and it is often the poorest people who are most at risk of exploitation. Governments are obliged to protect people from human rights abuses, this includes abuses committed by companies. All companies must be regulated to prevent the pursuit of profit at the expense of human rights.
Bhopal’s 30 year fight for justice
It was once known as the City of Lakes. But Bhopal has since gone down in history as the site of one of the world’s worst industrial disasters.
In 1984, a toxic gas leak in the central Indian city left more than 20,000 people dead and poisoned more than half a million. Thirty years later, that tragedy has turned into a human rights horror, with survivors and activists leading a relentless fight for justice.
The players in this battle have taken on mythical overtones — David and Goliath come to mind. On the one side are thousands of people who somehow survived the gas leak and are searching for truth, justice and compensation; on the other, the multinational corporations Union Carbide and Dow, along with the US and Indian governments who have effectively protected them.
The story of what happened in Bhopal, and the struggle that has endured for three decades, is best told by the people closest to it: the survivors and their supporters.
3 Types of Prayer for the Business Context – Business as Mission
Once a month, our panel of mentors answer your practical business questions. Send us your questions!
Dear BAM Mentor,
What prayer habits have you found helpful in your business? How have you experienced prayer and hearing direction from the Lord fitting alongside ‘normal’ business practices and hearing from advisors and others?
~ Exploring Prayer
Prayer in a business context can be divided into three types. First, there is personal prayer for strength and guidance from God in matters relating to the Business.
Second, there is corporate prayer by those who work in the business, a group of colleagues who are committed to praying for the business and all its stakeholders.
Third is engaging individuals or groups outside the business who are well-wishers, family or friends and are committed to praying for the business and/or the people who work in it. I want to share some thoughts and personal experiences for all three:
I believe that the entrepreneur’s dependence on God is no different from that of a missionary working in a hostile environment. The world of business is fraught with dangers, temptations and opposition. We live and work in a fallen world that embraces values which are contrary to those of God’s Kingdom.Besides the constant onslaught of the enemy, there are ups and downs in any business over a period of time. To hang in there during hardship requires nothing short of total dependence on God. I have had to lean on God and He has carried me through difficult seasons in a manner that seems most often found in the lives of missionaries I read about.
An incident that I recall of such an experience is when one of my colleagues took away important company information and a few relationships as he went and joined a competitor. I remember feeling crushed by the betrayal of trust. I became bitter and guarded in my relationships with others in the company.
After a couple of weeks I was on a long flight and read the biography of Adoniram Judson. I realized that he was betrayed multiple times but each time he went on with his work with joy and resolve having been strengthened by his disciplined prayer life.
One of his famous quotes is, “Our prayers run along one road and God’s answers by another, and by and by they meet.” As I took this matter to God in prayer I felt the burden roll off my back.
Quite early in our walk with the Lord we learn that there is something powerful in coming together with others in prayer. We find Biblical basis for this phenomenon in Mathew 18:19, 20. Right from the earliest days of my own business, those of us in the company who are followers of Christ gathered together regularly to pray.
During such times we bonded together as one family, we encouraged one another, forgave each other our shortcomings and learned from insights that we shared with each other as we listened to God. To this day our management team meets every Tuesday for 30 minutes exclusively to pray. At our office in India we have daily devotion right before the start of the work day.
While it is not mandatory for anyone to attend, we find that both Christians and non-Christians come to listen to God’s word and for a time of prayer for His mercies throughout the workday. Some of our colleagues placed their faith in Christ when they found their prayers answered in supernatural ways.
Others were strengthened in their faith or found comfort and peace amidst the stress and turmoil of life. I can’t think of a single instance when someone complained against this practice.Sometimes it is possible to enlist people outside a business to pray for it and when that happens, it is an unspeakable joy for those who work in that business. A few years ago our company was serving a client in Texas who had a team of intercessors.
As they worked with us on an important project for their growth as an organization, they prayed regularly for us and they felt led to travel to our office in India and pray for our team there – as we were the main vendor building their software. This was an unbelievably generous gift to us.
We were thankful to have their project, but this contribution to our success through their intercession for us was over the top.
One of the outcomes of this unique partnership resulted in our company guest house being used for a church plant! Another outcome is that we decided to engage a couple of praying friends to intercede for our business and for those who work in it on a weekly basis.
While I did not seek advice on business matters from them, I shared prayer requests and praise reports with the intercessors so that they could join me in praying for these items. If there is a possibility to do so, I recommend any Christian businessperson to seek intercessors for the business. It can have a significant impact on the business and on the lives of those who work in it.
Ultimately, prayer is a spiritual discipline. It is also an incredible privilege that we have as sons and daughters of the King of Kings, who grants us direct and open access to approach Him through prayer.
Therefore, I do not espouse “outsourcing prayer” to others, but that the three types of prayer can be employed in tandem within a business context.
If pressed, I would go a step further and recommend that they be used in the same order of priority as I have listed them above.
More Responses on this topic:
From David Skews:
Whatever we attempt for God has to be in accordance with His will and be blessed by Him if we are to see genuine success (in the heavenly definition of success).
This is true for every venture, whether operated under the auspices of a local church, a Christian organisation or an overtly commercial business venture.
In fact, because of the pressures and expectations that the world brings to bear on business ventures, it is all the more important to ensure close communion and communication with God. Whatever this may mean in practical terms, it has to include prayer.The most obvious biblical instruction about how we should pray is Jesus’ introduction to His model prayer – that which most people refer to as the Lord’s Prayer – as recorded in Matthew 6.
What these instructions boil down to is: keep it sincere, keep it personal (you and God) and keep it short and to the point. How this operates in practice will vary according to local circumstances.
Our own experience was developed over a short time but then served the business well for many years – but not without some hiccups along the way, it may be added. […Read more]
From Bill J:
Early in our history, while I was still segmenting my life pretty well, the Lord spoke to four of our leaders within 48 hours. He said to each of us that we had to begin meeting to pray.
We had allowed the security problem here in our location to become an excuse to not get together. We began that week and continued every week for over 15 years. It wasn’t easy.
Two of the people became car sick every time they rode the bus to my house. It eventually blended into a church prayer meeting.
One of the most significant events after that was one afternoon when one of the local people who met weekly to pray, approached me with his dissatisfaction not just of our prayer life the rest of the week, but he was questioning if we were actually trusting God for the huge challenges we were facing.
Immediately, I repented and we went out to the street and began praying as we circled the block for the next two hours. It shifted our thinking and we were much more aware of the need to pray together for the employees, suppliers, customers, etc.After that afternoon he and I would meet everyday about 5pm and walk the production line together, taking that day’s problems and praying them back to the Lord. Our goal was to pray until we were no longer worried about what happened that day. The test was to see if we could look each other in the eye and not find any worry.
If we were still worried we prayed again until we felt we were not taking home our problems, but were actually leaving them with the Lord. It isn’t as easy as it sounds. […Read more]
Joseph Vijayam is Managing Director of Olive Technology, a business as mission company based in India and USA that provides IT services. Joseph, manages the company’s overall business planning and corporate strategy.
Prior to founding Olive he served as the Chief Executive of Matrix Computer Consultancy in India. He has employed his extensive track record in empowering various for profit and not-for-profit organizations in India and the USA.
Joseph is a member of BAM Global Advisory Board and Senior Associate of Technology for the Lausanne Movement.
Joseph serves as a regular mentor for the Ask a BAM Mentor column.
5 Keys for Making Prayer a Habit
Prayer is hard work. It’s not something that comes naturally.
We go about our days, engaged in the home or workplace, distracted by good things that would keep us from prayer if we let them. Our hearts are prone to wander from God in self-reliance toward temporary pleasures, rather than running to him in dependence for the lasting joy and satisfaction only he can provide.
No relationship will flourish without intention—and this takes work! Perhaps you feel your need for communion with God, and you want to grow in forming a habit of prayer, but you don’t know where to start…
Five Keys for Making Prayer a Habit
Maybe prayer seems daunting, a high mountain to climb; or perhaps the pace of your day doesn’t seem to allow for this time. Yet, the growth of any relationship won’t fall into our laps; we need to be intentional, trusting God will meet and help us in this time of sought communion.
So here’s a start! The following are five keys to help you form a habit of prayer:
1. Choose it
Forming any habit requires action. Unless I choose to rebuild my strength through physical therapy exercises, it won’t happen. Unless I choose to show up on time by leaving early, it won’t happen. Similarly, we won’t pray unless we choose to pray, despite the obstacles (and there are always obstacles!).
So choose to pray. Choose a location. Choose a time of day that works best. Choose a context that will become familiar over time. Our living room couch is my chosen, consistent spot, the place I go each morning to read my Bible and pray.
Of course, certain times require flexibility in our communion with God—and there’s grace for these seasons! A newborn baby, a relocation, a new job and schedule, a decline in health—these circumstances may change our context for prayer, but they needn’t change our choice to pray. We press on, no matter the season, and we choose prayer by the strength God supplies.
2. Ask God for help
Because prayer doesn’t come naturally, our hearts are wayward, and our circumstances change, we desperately need God to help us pray—and this means we need him to transform our hearts, the seat of our deepest desires.
If prayer is merely something we add to our “spiritual checklist,” a joyless obligation, then we’ll pray for all the wrong reasons and never be transformed.
But if God were to change our hearts, then we’d yearn for prayer because we first and foremost desire him.
So we ask God for help! We ask him to change our fickle, self-interested, apathetic, and easily distracted hearts. John Piper says,
Too many of us are passive when it comes to our spiritual affections. We are practical atheists. We think there is nothing we can do….This is not the way the psalmists thought or acted. It is not the way the great saints of church history have acted either. Life is war. And the main battles are fought at the level of desires, not deeds.1
If you’ve been discouraged by your apathy toward prayer, hear this good news: Jesus lived and died and resurrected so your heart would be made new and your desires changed! He gave his life for your apathy and wayward desires, bearing your sin, and now he lives to intercede for you when you ask God to change your heart. So ask for his help today. He delights to give it.
3. Read your Bible
God has graciously spoken to us through his precious Word, and we can open our Bibles to hear from him each day. What an incredible thing, to hear from the God of the universe through words and phrases and sentences and chapters and books! What a wonder that the almighty, holy God would speak to undeserving, sinful humans us.
If prayer is responding to God’s words (he speaks; we listen, consider, and respond), then before prayer can become a habit, we need Scripture reading to become a habit. As in the last point, we can ask God for his help where Bible reading is concerned: God, give me the desire to hear from you in your Word!
Our prayers will also be more focused and clear when they’re rooted in biblical truths we know we can trust because God, himself, has said so.2 The more we read our Bibles, the more inclined our hearts will be to pray in response (Psalm 119:36).
4. Establish a pattern
Prayer can feel overwhelming. How do I know where to begin?, we ask. Choosing patterns for prayer has helped me pray more consistently and with greater intentionality.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication (ACTS)
- The Lord’s Prayer (see Matthew 6:9-13)
- Word-centered prayer (pray through a Scripture passage, verse by verse)
- Concentric circles (start with self and move outward to family, friends, church, local, global, etc.)
- Daily themes (eg. Ministry on Mondays, Unbelievers on Tuesdays, Friends on Wednesdays, Missions/Evangelism on Thursdays, Work/Coworkers on Fridays, etc.)
- John Piper’s I.O.U.S. (a helpful prayer pattern for Bible reading)
- Small group prayer
- Family prayer
- Church/corporate prayer
5. Ask for accountability
Is anyone currently asking you about your prayer life? If you want to make prayer a habit, ask a trusted, believing friend to hold you accountable by checking in with you on a weekly basis: “How has your prayer time been? How can I pray for you in that regard?” See if you might hold them accountable as well.
You’re Never Too Late
At this point, some of you might be feeling discouraged because you haven’t sought to make a habit of prayer.
Friends, because of Christ, you can lift your drooping heads and strengthen your weak knees—it’s never too late to start! God delights to provide for us the desire, motivation, and ability to commune with him in prayer, and he has secured this high privilege for you to draw near through the sacrifice of his Son.
You’re never too late, nor is God ever too far away. Prayer is a gift and, through his strength, it can become a habit for you.
1. Reading the Bible Supernaturally, p. 256
This article originally appeared on UnlockingTheBible.org. Used with permission.
Kristen Wetherell is a writer, Bible teacher, and the content manager of Unlocking the Bible.She is the author, along with Sarah Walton, of Hope When It Hurts: Biblical Reflections to Help You Grasp God’s Purpose in Your Suffering (The Good Book Company, April 2017). She blogs at her website, and you can follow her on .
She and her husband, Brad, are members of The Orchard in Arlington Heights, Illinois. Connect with Kristen at her website.
Image courtesy: ©Unsplash.com/BenWhite
Publication date: July 28, 2017
5 Biblical Principles of Corporate Prayer
A number of years ago, I was preparing to go to California to facilitate a prayer weekend in a Presbyterian church there. I had been planning the event with their prayer leader and his committee.
As we planned, the committee felt that it would be great to have me lead a prayer time in the two morning worship services.
They had never really experienced a time where anyone other than a person from the platform would pray in the service.
This would be an event where I would guide people to pray on a theme in groups. It would be a stretch for their staid people. They presented the idea to their pastor. He balked.
We can’t make people feel uncomfortable that, he surmised. He and I talked through what I would do.
No one would be forced to pray; I would put some prayer points and a sample prayer on a power point screen; it would only go 3-4 minutes. He finally allowed it.
Even though we were nervous as to how people would respond. It went off fabulously well. People prayed. I remember standing on the platform in each service (with about 400 people or so in each) and listening to a glorious din of voices rising that beautiful sanctuary.
During the second service I even had a vision while they were praying (something that had only happened to me once prior in my life). I told the congregation later that I saw their new multi-purpose building filled with people and many people responding to the gospel in there.
I said I don’t know what that means, but watch.
The pastor got nothing but positive comments afterward, comments , “that was so dynamic,” “I have never prayed in public before,” and “we have to do that again.” They started regularly doing prayer times that in their services in the future.
And the vision? The prayer leader emailed me about 9 months later. They had planned to do an outreach event with a Christian magician in their multi-purpose building. So many people bought tickets that they had to schedule a second “show.” Dozens responded to the gospel that weekend through the events.
Why was the response so significant? Because the prayer time was not the typical prayer most of us are used to—focused on fix-it needs that have little relation to God’s kingdom purposes. If you develop prayer that focuses outward, and that utilizes scriptural principles of corporate prayer, you will see you people get on board.
Biblical Principles of Corporate Prayer
There are five biblical principles of powerful corporate prayer. The more these elements are present in our prayer times (during worship or other times), the more powerful the prayer.
Ezra records a time of corporate prayer surrounding a three-day fast. The priest Ezra was taking a group of Jews back to repopulate Israel. They were going to cross dangerous terrain and needed protection.
There, by the Ahava Canal, I proclaimed a fast, so that we might humble ourselves before our God and ask him for a safe journey for us and our children, with all our possessions.
I was ashamed to ask the king for soldiers and horsemen to protect us from enemies on the road, because we had told the king, “The gracious hand of our God is on everyone who looks to him, but his great anger is against all who forsake him.
” So we fasted and petitioned our God about this, and he answered our prayer. (Ezra 8:21-23)
They prayed desperation. They were in trouble if God did not come through. The interesting thing here, however, is that Ezra had a solution. Ask the King for soldiers to go along.
From the pages of Ezra we see he had a good relationship with the King. The king had given them permission to go. But Ezra refused to take that option.
He refused to do the obvious thing in favor of relying on God.
We need to learn from that. The more desperate we are about something, the more vibrant our prayers. When going to prayer corporately, look for ways to impress a sense of desperation in your people. Remember what happened in churches following 9/11? Prayer meetings were full for several weeks. Why?
We will see corporate prayer become more dynamic –and have greater participation—is our focus is about something with a measure of desperation in it. When you plan the focus about which to pray, figure out a way to build in desperation.Is there something happening on the world front or in your city that has people’s attention? Pray about that.
When you can pray in a sense, “we can’t solve this, God; we need You,” you will see more people participate and their prayers will be filled with greater passion.
Powerful prayer is focused prayer. It is not a shotgun approach–giving prayer requests and praying for ten different things. Effective corporate prayer is topical. The leader explains, “now we are going to pray for . . .” We see this played out in the story of Peter’s imprisonment (Acts 12).
Verse 5 tells us “so Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him.” This obviously was a very focused prayer meeting! They did not take requests and pray for everything under the sun. No, “Martha, how is that back of yours? How can we pray?” and then “Oh yeah, don’t forget Peter.
Who’s got an update on Peter? He’s still in prison isn’t he. Let’s remember Peter.”
One of the ways over the years that the church has severely weakened corporate prayer is that we let prayer be about the people there, rather than about God. We allowed prayer to focus on every little fix-it need of those in attendance, and ignored the kingdom advance of God. As Daniel Henderson describes, we made prayer horizontal rather than vertical.
That kind of pray is dull and no one really wants to be there. In any prayer gathering it is far more dynamic to let a leader pick a focus and stick to it. As soon as you give up leadership to everyone’s agenda, you lose the dynamic nature of corporate prayer.
Especially if you are having a prayer time in the morning worship service, you need to pick one subject for which to pray. That will be far more powerful then opening it up to requests.
Another powerful principle about corporate prayer is the One Voice principle. And that is a numerical principle. As was mentioned above, the same story of Peter in Acts tells us that the church was earnestly and constantly praying to God. Everyone. Not five people in a little room on Wednesday night. A powerful dynamic occurs when an entire congregation prays on the same theme.
That principle is why all-church prayer initiatives are a great practice. A prayer initiative is where the entire church prays on one theme for a set period of time—usually a week or 30 or 40 days. Usually they use prayer guides that get everyone praying on the same page.
If you want to have the One Voice principle in your church, you need to make prayer accessible in those places where you have the most people gathered.The primary place you will have the entire congregation together is Sunday morning worship.
While I think the morning worship service is the most significant place to develop times of corporate prayer, there are other ways to see the One Voice principle at work.
Look for places where everyone in a given ministry is gathered. A church board meeting, an elders meeting, a Sunday school teachers meeting, youth ministry leaders, worship participants gathering, etc. In any one of these gatherings One Voice prayer can take place.
If that group prays for the kingdom purposes of that group—what ministry areas are under its authority—than they are calling out with one voice for those areas of ministry. But alas, even when those groups get together, when they add a prayer time to their meeting, it is usually focused on the needs of those in the ministry.
If that would stop, and they would focus on the kingdom purposes of that ministry, something very dynamic would happen!
Invoking the Presence
In 2 Chronicles 6-7 at the dedication of Solomon’s Temple, we see God’s glory indwelling His temple so much that everyone fell with their faces to the ground. No one went inside. In Solomon’s dedication prayer, he invited God to come and dwell:
“Now, my God, may your eyes be open and your ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place.
“Now arise, LORD God, and come to your resting place,
you and the ark of your might.
May your priests, LORD God, be clothed with salvation,
may your faithful people rejoice in your goodness.” (2 Chronicles 6:40-41)
When we think of the presence of God we often just take comfort in the presence spoken of in Matthew 18:20: “Where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.” But there is another presence of God—what old time Puritans sued to call, “His manifest presence.” That is a presence you can literally sense. It is a transforming presence.
That is the presence Solomon invoked to come into the Temple. We need to look for ways to encourage that presence of God into our midst as well. He comes by invitation and He comes through praise. Psalm 22:3 tells us that God inhabits the praises of His people.There is no better place to regularly experience the manifest presence of God than the worship service.
When we pray in the middle of, or following a time of intense worship—worship that is entirely focused upward, on Jesus Christ rather than on us–we more readily sense His presence and our prayers become more kingdom focused.
Why? Because when we see God for who He really is, our needs pale in comparison. We become inspired to focus on His purposes and kingdom.
By the same principle, if you want to make weekly prayer gatherings that are held outside the morning worship service, any time you can add worship that is focused on Jesus Christ, you will see the passion and intensity of the prayers increase.
The last element of powerful corporate prayer is praying in agreement. Agreement is different than focus. It is where everyone knows and agrees with what they are asking God. Often when a congregation prays about an issue in a church there is not agreement. We all have a different idea of what should be done. So when we pray, we often just pray our own agendas.
In a leader-directed prayer time during a morning worship service it is easier to be in agreement. The leader simply gives direction as to what they will ask God to do. He might say something this, “After seeking God, the leaders of our church feel that God is moving us to look for a piece of property on which to build. Let’s ask God to reveal that piece of land to us.”
Bringing It All Together
So how do all of these work in a prayer gathering? Let’s say you have a situation where God is really blessing your congregation with growth. More and more people are coming to church; you are starting to pack your facilities out.
Your leadership knows that you need to do something to allow for this growth, but what? You decide to seek the Lord for His direction. In fact you decide we need to get everyone praying about this issue.
So you call for special times of prayer, including an all-church prayer meeting.
At that prayer meeting you have your sense of desperation because you have acknowledged you do not know what to do. You need God’s wisdom and direction. You will have your one focus. The prayer meeting you call everyone to will not be open to requests or other prayer needs. You will only focus on direction.
You will have your one voice. Because of the nature of the subject, I suspect most of your congregation will come out—many not because they want to pray, but because they are curious about what others think.
You have a time of worship and you invite the Holy Spirit to come in, to guide and direct your prayers, to reveal His will.
But you won’t have your agreement—at least not at the start. Why? Because many will come already knowing what you should do. Some think you should go to two services, other, plant a daughter church, others rent the Kmart building that is empty down the street.
But here is what will happen: Agreement will come in any issue if people pray together. As we pray with others, we become more open to God’s agenda and we let go of our own.People at that prayer meeting will begin to let go of their idea as they pray and start sensing what God truly wants to do.
Agreement will come as you pray. By the same token, if you have an intense issue in your church you are praying about, and you reach a decision, I can just about guarantee that those who criticize the decision did not pray with the body about it!
I remember a time when I was involved in a church plant in Colorado Springs and we came to the point where we wanted to buy our own facility. We had been meeting in schools for 7-8 years and felt the time was right for our own place.
Two pieces of property were in the minds of our leadership—a 13 acre piece right outside the neighborhood that surrounded the school in which we were meeting (but with a 1.5 mil price tag) and a 6 acre piece of property about 3 miles away, but in a retail part of town ($450,000 price tag). We had people on both sides.
Many of our people came from the neighborhood the school was in, all our ministry outreaches were there. What would a move—even only a 3 mile away move—do to that dynamic. We prayed. We even held a prayer meeting (attended by 80% of our congregation) on the $450,000 piece of property.
God started putting visions for the new ministry we could have on the $450,000 property into the hearts of those who wanted the other piece of property!
Work at It
Having dynamic prayer times that focus on kingdom advancement will revolutionize your congregation. People will feel more passion and a stronger desire to pray if you work at developing these spiritual principles of corporate prayer.
Fringe people and those who don’t view the Christian life much beyond what’s in it for me, will be impacted spiritually.
And you will begin to see greater and greater areas of transformation in people’s lives, in your church and the community around.
–Jonathan Graf is the president of the Church Prayer Leaders Network and the publisher of PRAY magazine. This article is adapted from his new book: Restored Power: Becoming a Praying Church One Tweak at a Time.