Not Just a Successful Church

An Invitation to More

Let’s go together to PRAYER ‘91: Saturday, November 9, 6:00 P.M. at the St. Paul Civic Center. There’s a bus if you want a ride from church at 5:30.

More and more I long for Bethlehem not just to be a “successful” church but part of a great movement of God. It is possible to “succeed” as an individual church and fail in our calling to be a part of something far bigger than ourselves.

God is building this bigger movement through prayer. Cornelius was praying in the ninth hour when the angel told him how to hear the gospel (Acts 10:2,31). Peter was praying at noon when the vision showed him that Cornelius was worthy of his visit (Acts 10:9). These two visitations brought salvation to the Gentiles and opened the way for millions. The movement happened in the hours of prayer at noon and 3:00 p.m.

O that God would make us feel the assurance that prayer changes things. That prayer is power. That God responds to our prayers with world changing strategies.

I never cease to be amazed that Jesus told us to pray for God’s name to be hallowed and for his kingdom to come. It is amazing because these are things God is utterly committed to doing. God is passionately committed to his name. God will without any doubt bring his kingdom. Why then does Jesus tell us to pray that God will do these things? The answer is that God loves to share the joy of triumph.

He bestows on us the “dignity of causality” Pascal said. It is an awesome thing. We are told to pray that God’s word will run and triumph (2 Thessalonians 3:1). But there is no doubt that it will (Matthew 24:14). So why pray? Because God aims to make us co-victors with him.

When God has it in his mind to do a great work of deliverance he calls his people to pray that he will do it. For example, in Ezekiel 36:38 God plans to fill the desolate cities of Israel with men. So he says, “This also I will let the house of Israel ask me to do for them: to increase their men like a flock.” He makes his plan. Then he implements it with the prayers of his people.

My father told me one time that the reason many pastors do not see revival in their churches is that they leave just when it is about to happen. O that we might press on in prayer and not grow weary till we see the name of God vindicated in our city and around the world! “Jesus told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not to lose heart” (Luke 18:1). “And will God not vindicate his elect who cry to him day and night?” (Luke 18:7).

This is the fifth year of united prayer in the Twin Cities with 5,000 to 7,000 people from 400+ churches calling on God together. I am praying that you will make this a priority in your life—for Christ and his Kingdom!

Expectant of God’s great work,

Pastor John

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