When I speak to Disciple-Making Movement leaders in Africa and ask them about prayer, they always say something to the effect of, ‘Movements of any kind are always accompanied by prayer movements.’ For them, this is simply a natural or ‘organic’ fact. Prayer movements seed hearts and prepare the way for people to be reached, helped, and mobilized to reach others. Prayer movements prepare those who are praying for the work God wants to do through them. These leaders do not expect fruitfulness apart from movements of prayer. They never envision one without the other.
We see the same dynamic when looking at house church movements earlier in China or anywhere in the world today. They are always accompanied by “sustained, persevering prayer.”
As a westerner, my typical reaction to this is that I must work to schedule in more prayer both personally and corporately. But I think this ‘get-organized’ reaction largely misses the point. This type of prayer is based more on perspective and lifestyle than simply the disciplined scheduling of more prayer events. These organic prayer movements seem to arise from the perspective that God is the source of all things and must be depended upon, and therefore our lifestyle shifts to revolve around this reality. The resulting schedules and rhythms of prayer organically become so consistent that ‘prayer movement’ is the only way to describe it.
All this to say, I wonder if some of us are not sensing the stirrings of more organic prayer in our own lives and in our own contexts. Perhaps this is one of the blessings of this season of less-certain times. Maybe God is stirring us afresh to see prayer as the real foundation of a fruitful life. Perhaps a greater sense of dependency is seeping into us and the lifestyle of prayer is becoming more appealing and natural. Maybe this germinating sense of a simple desire to be nearer to God and rest in His power and activity rather than our own is the initial seed of a prayer movement in our own life and setting.
May God inspire us through this coming year toward more organic rhythms of prayer that will deepen our walk with Him and release more of his kingdom-come into the dry places around us where movements are needed.