The second core ability of All Nations church planters (see previous posts for previous core abilities) is militant, passionate prayer.
How this prayer is different from other kinds of prayer became obvious to me many years ago. I was praying with a group of missionaries from many different agencies. After we finished, one lady came up to me and said, “I like praying with you. You pray like you believe something is actually going to happen.” I was shocked, but over the years I have seen that precious few believers know how to do warfare prayer and precious few know how to pray for entire people groups and nations. So, this is something we work on in our training.
Passionate prayer above all else believes in a good Heavenly Father who listens to his children and loves to be with them (1 John 2:28). It’s the kind of prayer that believes that when we ask for a fish that our father will not give us a snake (Matthew 7:10). In other words, good fathers give their children what they need when they need it.
Militant prayer believes that whatever is bound on earth is bound in heaven and whatever is loosed on earth is loosed in heaven (Matthew 18:18). It believes that confidence in our Heavenly Father (that’s faith) empowers our prayers (James 5:16). It also believes that there is a real enemy who seeks to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10). But, the focus is not on the bad guy. The focus is on an amazing, loving and abundantly good Heavenly Father. In this regard, core ability #1 (to abide in Jesus Christ) is totally intertwined, because intimacy with God is key to making the devil flee from us (James 4:7).
We encourage our church planters to daily read Ephesians 6:10-20, until they have it memorized. We do this because we know that when the battle gets really hard, we need to have our muscle memory in place. In the midst of battle is not the time to get out the owner’s manual on our weapons and try to figure out how to use them! We have to practice with our weapons over and over again in times of peace to be ready for war. The way to be militant is to have a few key tools ready so that we can stand firm when the time comes. Another key to this militant prayer is to remember who our real enemy is: Satan. No person on the planet is our enemy. And, even if they were, our Lord taught us to love our enemies anyway (Matthew 5:43).
Ephesians finishes by saying, “Having done all else, stand firm (Ephesians 10:13).” So, a key component of militant, passionate prayer is what I call grit. Grit is the ability to keep working towards very long-term goals and to not give up. Because, when our church planters give up and go home, then we have not stood firm in the ground we are taking for the kingdom. And, grit, or what the Bible translations usually call perseverance, is built and born out of adversity (Romans 5:3). So, in our training, we encourage our church planters to count the cost of igniting a church planting movement (suffering on their part) and to consider the goal worthy (Luke 14:28).
Other blog posts in the Core Abilities series:
Pam spent ten years in Central Asia as a church planter and Bible translator working among a previously unengaged people group. Along with others, she was able to help lead people to Jesus and train them to lead their own churches. The local believers have, in turn, shared Jesus with others and also raised up other leaders. Pam’s heart is to train and send church planters to share Jesus with other unreached people groups: those who would never have any chance in their lives to hear about Him. To this end, she trains and coaches disciples who make disciples based on simple Biblical and research-based best practices. Pam is part of the Global Support Team and is also a member of the International Leadership Team.