Thu, 12/27/2007 – 02:00 — David Watson
In a recent meeting of the top 100 church planters in our ministry, we looked for common elements among these high producing leaders. Each of these church planters, along with the teams they led, started more than 20 churches per year, each. One group started more than 500 churches in the previous year. The only common element we found in all these church planters was their commitment to prayer. There were other common elements, but the only element that was present in every team was a high commitment to prayer.
These leaders spent an average of three hours per day in personal prayer. They then spent another three hours in prayer with their teams every day. These leaders were not all full time religious leaders. In fact, most of them had regular jobs. They started their days at 4:00 AM, and by 10:00 AM were at work.
These top performers also spent one day per week in fasting and prayer. The whole team spent one weekend per month in fasting and prayer.
I was humbled by this commitment to prayer. When I measured my own time in prayer, and my own commitment to prayer, I found myself lacking in devotion.
Most church planters and missionaries spend their prayer time in trying to get others to pray for them. In the early days of my ministry I spent as much as 20% of my time in developing and maintaining my prayer network. This involved newsletters and personal contacts with prayer partners.
After our survey of the top church planting performers on our team, I decided to change my strategy. Instead of developing prayer partners, I would pray. I began to call, text message, or e-mail people and praying for them, instead of asking them to pray for me. This developed into a pattern of praying for 30 different people every month on a day by day basis. One the first day of each month I pray for the same person. On the second day of each month I pray for a different person, and so on through the month.
This means I have 30 people I pray for every month. When possible, I pray with them in person or by phone. If not possible, such as when I am traveling is blackout conditions, I send text messages or e-mail containing my prayers for each of them.
The result of this process is that 30 people respond to my prayers by praying for me. As I talk to them about this process I encourage them to pray for 29 other people on the days they are not praying with me. So, in one generation the prayer network goes from 30 to 900 people praying. We pass prayer requests back and forth on this network. We encourage all participants to find 30 people to pray with every month. By three generations there are 27,000 people in the prayer network. That’s 30 X 30 = 900 and 900 X 30 = 27,000. This is exponential growth. If the process is only 10% effective there will be 2,700 people praying. If it is only 1% effective there will be 270 people praying. How many are praying for you right now?
We pray for each other. Special prayer requests are passed along the network. Answers to prayers are shared across the network and praise is given to God for all He does.
If you want to see churches planted, then develop a life of prayer. Commit to pray for a different person each day of the month. Encourage them to find 29 others to pray for, and so on. Before long you will see the Hand of God move at the urging of His children as they pray in obedience to His will.