“Kingdom-focused prayer is not mere instinct but it is Spirit enabled; not man-centered but God-centered; not self-serving but Kingdom-serving; not sentimental but Scriptural; not solo but concerted; not timid but bold; not passive resignation but proactive cooperation. Kingdom-focused prayer is the Spirit-enabled reverent cry of God’s adoptive sons and daughters, seeking their Father’s glory by persistently asking Him for the nations, their promised inheritance.” [Archie Parrish “Kingdom-centered Prayer, MNA Conference 2000]
In 2009, we moved our family to Kansas City to start a new gospel work. A church that would reach the diverse population of Kansas City, making disciples, seeing other churches initiated, and bringing the transforming peace of God to our communities.
Understanding the weight of this God-sized dream, prayer would not be a luxury, but rather the lifeblood and air we’d breathe if God’s Kingdom was to “come to earth.”
We prayed. We cried out. We prayed some more. We watched God move in power.
The adventure of church planting still requires much prayer. We must never see prayer as wasted time. Prayer is missionary work.
Our church is in a season of prayer for the next forty days leading up to Pentecost Sunday. Asking God to come and do what God does…rescue, renew, and restore people and communities back to himself. We are asking him to move and bring renewal to the city we love…Kansas City.
But, what kind of praying is needed for this kind of renewal?
The need for Kingdom-Focused Prayer.
As you can see from the quote above Kingdom-centered prayer is different. It is not self-serving. It is God-focused and for the glory of God. It is desperate. Relentless. It is empowered by the Spirit.
What does Kingdom-focused prayer look like?
In Redeemer Church Planting Center: Church Planter Manual by Tim Keller and Allen Thompson they give three qualities of Kingdom-focused prayer (pp. 132):
#1 Kingdom-focused prayer is focused on God’s presence and kingdom.
There is a kind of praying that is self-serving and focused only on the needs of the church. This is not kingdom-centered praying. Kingdom-prayer is not interested in maintenance rather movement.
According to Jack Miller, a former church planter and missionary, Kingdom-centered prayer involves three traits:
- A request for grace to confess sins and humble ourselves.
- A compassion and zeal for the flourishing of the church and reaching of the lost.
- A passion to know God, see his face, his glory.
In most prayer meetings these kind of prayers are often absent. If we study Acts 4, Exodus 33, and Nehemiah 1, this kind of praying is always involved in renewal and revival. The disciples of Acts 4 did not pray for safety, comfort, and ease. They prayed for a boldness to continue to preach the gospel to their communities.
#2 Kingdom-focused prayer is bold and specific.
In Exodus 33 we see Moses pleading and praying very specific prayers back to God. It is important that we pester, hound, and remind God of his promises. That is what kingdom-centered prayer is all about.
God can handle it.
We read in Luke 18 (The Parable of the Persistent Widow) that God expects his people to pester him. If we don’t pester him, he gets no glory, and we don’t see God move in power. God is a good Father who loves to give gifts to his children. God is our only hope and the only Being in the universe who can save and restore people and communities. If we think human ingenuity will get it done we are sadly mistaken. We must call and plead with God in bold and specific ways.
Take time to meditate on the promises of God in the Bible and pray them back to God. Be bold!
#3 Kingdom-focused prayer is prevailing and corporate.
This kind of praying is not brief and sporadic. Kingdom prayer is often long, consistent, and hard. If we are not constantly praying we are ignoring the command to “pray without ceasing.” We are showing our self-sufficiency and lack of God-dependency.
This kind of praying is the only way we will change. The only way our hearts will break and be melted for the things that anger and grieve God. Prayer is less about what God does in circumstances (which is a lot). Prayer is more about changing us into the people who care more about the Kingdom; and less about our own little kingdoms.
Prayer always changes the pray-er.
Let us continue to pray for God’s presence and kingdom. Let's pray boldly, specific, often, and together.