I’ve never considered being called average a compliment. I think it means you’re just as close to the bottom as on top.
I don’t believe God meant for you to be average. I don’t think God meant for you to live a so-so or bland, mediocre life. As a leader, I don’t think God intends for you to be an average leader.
I believe every human being was designed for excellence—that you’re not one in a million; you’re one in 5 billion. And as the book In Search of Excellence states, “The average person desires to be excellent in many different ways.” There is no one else like you in the universe.
The longer I run the race of ministry, the more I realize it is prayer that keeps me going and produces results that last. It's not uncommon that as a young leader, I “ran” more than prayed. As I’ve matured, my understanding and practice of prayer has strengthened.
I have also learned, however, that my prayers are not enough. I need others to pray for me. In fact, I believe this so strongly that I think it’s dangerous to lead in a church without having specific people pray for you with great passion and consistency.
For the past 12 years, I’ve had seven prayer partners—one for each day of the week. Many wonderful people pray for me at 12Stone Church, but these warriors are the ones I count on, each on their day. When I was at Skyline Church, I had 30 prayer partners, one for each day of the month.
Every summer my family and I read a book together. We’ve been doing this through the kids' teen years, and now even in their college years. Last summer we read Mark Batterson’s book, The Circle Maker. What a great book on prayer!
Our summer book discussions are a simple but meaningful experience for us. We eat dinner together, then discuss a chapter or two of the book. That’s it! But what a cool time! I’m always amazed at the insights, comments and questions that come from our conversations.
This article isn’t about Mark’s book, it’s about prayer, but I want to say what makes this book different to me. There are so many good books on prayer, and in the end, they all say the same thing. Pray. And that’s good. But this book seems to inspire people to pray, and there is no price tag you can put on that. When the Holy Spirit is at work, He is at work!
“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalm 139:23-24 NIV)
Someone has said, “If you aim at nothing, you are sure to hit it!” To have a meaningful quiet time, you will need a plan or some kind of general outline to follow.
The main rule is this: Keep your plan simple.
You will need the following three items for your planned quiet times:
To have an effective quiet time, you must pick a specific time to meet with the Lord each day and decide how long it should be. The general rule is this: The best time is when you are at your best!
Give God the best part of your day, when you are the freshest and most alert. Don’t try to serve God with your leftover time. Remember, too, that your best time may be different from someone else’s.
For most of us, however, early in the morning seems to be the best time. It was Jesus’ own practice to rise early to pray and meet with the Father: “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed” (Mark 1:35, NIV).
God is rising a remnant of valiant prayer warriors on the earth.
I had an open vision in which I saw a gambling casino covering the earth. In the casino were global players who were gambling for the world's resources (gold, silver, oil, water and so on). They had no problem committing genocide against entire nations to obtain these valuable commodities.
They were playing with cards and gambling for high stakes. Their faces became like dogs. They had on thick collars, some with spikes, and they were smoking expensive cigars and laughing crudely. Some were drunk and bragging about their evil exploits.
But then I saw the kingdom players of the Lord, who also came and sat at the various tables to play for world resources. They were undetected. They were the Lord's secret agents.