In cities nationwide, pastors are meeting together regularly for prayer. It's not the dry, boring, superficial prayer of yesterday. It's prayer with a purpose: to see repentance, reconciliation and revival come to their cities.
With all the pressures and demands on their time and energy, why are pastors making prayer with one another a priority? What happens when pastors pray together?
Building Relationships. They meet other pastors in the city and realize they are not alone. Although very dynamic, forceful and articulate behind the pulpit, many pastors are basically shy. Pastors battle feelings of inadequacy and sometimes equate trusting people with betrayal. But as pastors gather to pray, and one pastor transparently shares struggles and asks for prayer, all are knit together by the commonality of their situations.
Experiencing God's presence. There's an especially powerful release of God's presence when pastors of different denominations, ethnicities and backgrounds come together. God's presence is His "Psalm 133 seal of approval" on their sometimes-clumsy efforts to find one another and attempt to do together what they've been unable to do separately.
Damaging Satan's kingdom. One of Satan's biggest weapons against the church is division--in families, among races, between denominations and in denominations. A "house divided cannot stand," whether it's our houses or the house of the Lord. Just the mere coming together cracks the foundation of lies the enemy has constructed to keep the body of Christ apart.
Coming together in one accord. In God's presence in prayer, the peripheral differences that once seemed so important take a backseat as desperation for God's presence and a desire to know His heart take precedence. Theological bastions give way to brokenness, a passion for God and a compassion for people.
Tearing down walls. Pastors see walls come down as they repent before brothers and sisters of different races for attitudes, feelings of superiority, anger, injustice and wounds caused by one race to another. Simply acknowledging the pain of another opens doors that some thought could never be budged. Repentance is a powerful tool that God is using to remove the legal ground we've given Satan by holding on to pride, anger and pain.
Ministering together. Pastors begin to see themselves as co-pastors in the city. Competitiveness gives place to cooperation. Paradigms shift in their thinking, and they begin to strategize in prayer about how God can use their little piece of the picture to put together something that would be attractive to the lost in their city.
Encouraging a corporate witness. They realize they have an influence corporately that is impossible to achieve separately. And they use that influence to release blessings, affirmation and a spirit of servanthood and humility in creative ways, such as praying with elected officials to encourage and support them.
Ed Silvoso shares three primary points of attack by the enemy when there is a vision released to reach an entire city with the gospel:
1. keep pastors from coming together to pray
2. allow the pastors to continue to pray together, but keep them from bringing their congregations together
3. prevent pastors from mobilizing the people to go into their neighborhoods, schools and the marketplace to release blessings and the presence of God through intentional, concentrated prayer.
Nonetheless, in cities large and small pastors are not only praying together, but they're also planning and partnering together. They are expecting to see a great harvest and revival in our generation.
Will you join them?
Alice Patterson is executive director of Pray Texas, a ministry that networks and equips leaders to mobilize strategic prayer initiatives.