Pray like Jesus!

Matthew 6:9-13 “Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we also forgive this who trespass against us. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For yours is the kingdom, the power and the glory forever and ever, Amen.”

The one thing the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to do was to pray. Traditionally, this has become known as the “Lord’s Prayer”. In fact, it should be renamed the “Disciples Prayer” because it was for our benefit, not Jesus. Jesus never committed any sin, so Jesus never had to pray for forgiveness but in the prayer taught by Jesus, he taught the disciples to ask for forgiveness. In addition, this prayer contains within it all the key ingredients needed for a powerful breakthrough in every area of your life.

Prayer is WORSHIP: Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be your name. Begin with praise and worship of God’s goodness every time you enter into God’s presence. Worship lifts your focus off of yourself and magnifies God’s greatness over your life.

Prayer establishes GOD’S RULE: Your kingdom come means for the authority of God’s kingdom to be present in your daily life.

Prayer aligns with GOD’S WILL: Your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Prayer releases the abundant resource of heaven into the earthly realm so that more and more of our natural reality looks more and more like the kingdom of heaven.

Prayer PETITIONS and RECEIVES by faith: Give us this day our daily bread. Prayer deals with the practical areas of our lives. God delights to give good things to those who ask in faith.

Prayer is REPENTANCE: And forgive us our trespasses. Repentance is turning away from self and turning towards God. In prayer God gives us the strength to overcome sin.

Prayer releases GRACE for RELATIONSHIPS: As we also forgive those who trespass against us. Because of the fall of humanity, our relational worlds are under the stress of brokenness. In prayer we receive grace to reconcile and engage in healthy relationships.

Prayer builds CHARACTER: Lead us not into temptation. In prayer we find the strength to become more like Jesus and resist the temptation of the enemy and our flesh.

Prayer is SPIRITUAL WARFARE: Deliver us from evil. One of the primary weapons to fight against Satan is prayer. Pray in the Spirit on all occasions and you’ll discover grace and power to be victorious over all the attacks of the enemy against you.

Prayer is DECLARATION: For yours is the kingdom. Prayer partners with the primary message of Jesus, the gospel of the kingdom. Prayer isn’t passive, it’s forceful declaration of God’s heart for his kingdom to be established in the earthly realm.

Prayer releases God’s POWER and PRESENCE: The power and the glory forever and ever, Amen. Without prayer, we have no access to God’s power. We need power top effect change in our lives and in the earth. In prayer we become aware of God’s glorious presence. Prayer manifests the glory of God. Selah!

Picking the Right People!

The more people you lead, the more leaders you need. As the size of your ministry increases, the depth and maturity of your leaders needs to increase. What will make or break your team is the people you surround yourselves with.

Avoid becoming a clean up crew leader. Time is wasted when you spend time cleaning up a mess because of a poor choice of leaders. Pray for God’s wisdom to select the right people. I look for the 4 C’s:

  1. Character
  2. Calling
  3. Chemistry
  4. Competence

Do leadership with the bible in mind (a novel idea, I know). In Acts 1:24-25 the apostles prayed to God for a replacement for Judas Iscariot and 2 insights flow out of their prayer:

  1. God alone knows what’s in people’s hearts and we don’t (we don’t even know our own hearts)
  2. The apostles didn’t have enough wisdom on their own to make the right choice.

Follow Jesus example in Luke 6:12 who sought the Father in prayer for who the Father wanted on his ministry team. Seek God for whom he has called into your ministry.

Building momentum begins with picking the right people – Picture your team as a bus. Get the right people on the bus and the wrong people off the bus. This is tight but I’ve learnt it’s right. Sometimes you have the right people on the bus but in the wrong seats on the bus. Work out who should be on the bus before you work out whether you can actually accomplish the “what” with the people you have. Select difference makers, who are voices, not echoes. The right people are:

Connected to Jesus – This is primary for everyone on your team. As a disciple of Jesus, we find our identity in Christ, not in a role or position. Growing in Christ daily looks like staying centered in the Scriptures and worshipful prayer. It can also look like reading good books and staying connected to online resources that encourage you towards Christ. Our love for Jesus should exceed our love for everything else.

Connected to You – Ask yourself, ‘Is there chemistry with this person?’ Do they bring out the best in you and want to be around you? Remember, connection isn’t, ‘I want to be close to the leader to make myself feel more important.’ Connection to you is, ‘Allow my to travel with you and help you get to where you want to go’. You want contributors, not consumers.

Connected to the Vision – Choose people who are passionate about the direction you are heading in. “You want vision makers, not vision breakers” as Ps Brad House says. I’ve learnt never to invite people into your inner circle who have serious questions about your direction in the hope that they will get on board.

Connected to Others – Look for influencers who care more about others than they do for themselves. Connect with connectors because as Malcolm Gladwell says, “Connectors know people” and lots of them for that matter. Look for people with servant hearts who love people and make people feel important in their presence.

In conclusion, make prayerful choices, not impulsively but taking your time. I was too impetuous in the early days of planting Activate Church and appointed people too soon. It’s a lot easier to appoint than to dis-appoint. Do your homework and don’t short-circuit the vision by recruiting people who decelerate the vision.


Don’t Give up on your Call!

Luke 24:46 “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day, rise from the dead.”

I wonder if you have ever walked out in the middle of a movie…? I have a few times. Either the film was boring, not funny or offensive. I’m sure you have had the same experience. Walking out in the middle of a movie is one thing but giving up on your call is another thing. Unfortunately, too many people don’t stay to the end of the call journey and end up missing out on God’s best for them.

In the events surrounding Jesus death and resurrection, the disciples hearts were troubled and laden with doubt because they had hoped Jesus was the one to redeem Israel but it appeared like Jesus death was the end of the story. When Jesus appeared to them in his glorified body, eating fish and asking them questions about their sad faces, all of a sudden the disciples were reminded to stay to the end of the story. Jesus death was the beginning of new life and a new adventure for the disciples and for us.

At times in your call journey, you will face circumstances that contradict the call of God but you must stay to the end of the story. Don’t walk out half-way through because things appear boring, not exciting and offensive to your flesh. Stay to the end of the story and don’t give up on God or your call.

God’s plan from the beginning was for Jesus to suffer but that wasn’t the end of the story. God’s plan also provided for Jesus to rise again 3 days later and conquer sin, Satan and death. Because Jesus is alive, your faith has a future and however doubtful you may feel about your call, stay to the end of the story because God isn’t finished with you yet.