As a kid, I distinctly remember coming into the living room or coming downstairs early in the morning to find my dad, on his knees in front of the recliner, praying. There was nothing odd about it. As I grew up and had to get up earlier for school or work, I would walk into the same situation early in the morning. My father continues to model that lifestyle today. I firmly believe that one of the things he lives out is Psalms 5:3, “O Lord, in the morning you hear my voice; in the morning I prepare a sacrifice for you and watch.” I have heard stories about Tiffany’s father, Don, who will wake up early and begin his day with prayer as well. In the relatively short time that I have known Don, I have witnessed him up early (and sometimes late) sitting in his chair, with his prayer shaw over his shoulders lifting up his wife, daughter, sons, grandchildren and even us “in-laws”. Having that lifestyle of prayer modeled to us as kids and as adults is truly invaluable. There are not a whole lot of people that I have met that just absolutely love getting up early. Mostly because they stay up too late… but most people just don’t enjoy it. However, there’s something to it.
Since transitioning out of youth ministry into an administrative role, I have been challenged to wake up early, have my quiet time and pray. My alarm goes off at 5:15am and I do my best to be up. Some days are easier than others. But, in the quietness of the morning, there aren’t any distractions. My 2 boys aren’t up yet, my brain isn’t in a hurry to focus on anything else and I don’t have the pressures of the day to worry about just yet. Psalm 90:14 says, “Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.” I think that’s just what He does. If we seek Him early, the priorities of the rest of the day are already ordered and fall in place after Him. He satisfies us early in the morning if we’ll just spend the time with Him. I have learned that putting anything else before this time with Him only puts God in 2nd place. If I put Him in 2nd place, everything else is just out of whack all day.
For some reason, it is hard to get people together to pray. I have worked with my father on several different occasions to try to organize specific times of prayer where people can come together and pray for a specific theme or focus. The number of people that show up to our monthly prayer time averages around less than 10% of the total congregation. Less than 10%… In a Barna study, he says that “Americans believe that prayer works. 6 out of 10 adults (56% say they are “absolutely certain” that prayer really makes a difference in their lives. An additional 1 out of 4 adults (23%) are “somewhat certain.” Overall, this is 8 out of 10 people who remain at least partially persuaded that prayer has the power to affect their lives in a real way. Interestingly, one out of five people who pray perceive prayer to be a gamble. They contended that they have no assurance or confidence in the power of prayer to make a difference, but they are hopeful it will work on their behalf. ” He goes on to say that, “For most people, prayer is not a prolonged activity. The average amount of time adults spend in prayer is about 5 minutes. Overall, the study discovered that 1 out of 14 people (7%) who pray claim their average prayer time lasts between 15 and 30 minutes: another 6% stated that they usually prayed for more than 30 minutes each time they pray.” ~ Absolute Confusion, George Barna.
So, 8 out of 10 people say that prayer can change their lives but only 1 out of 14 people spend about 5 minutes doing something that can change their life. Does that shock you, challenge you or make you think about your prayer life? Where do you fit on those numbers? The process of being called to do something like Restoration Farm has definitely challenged and strengthened my prayer life. My time in the morning is split between lifting up my family and lifting up the burden of Restoration Farm and those who need the benefits of what God will do through it.
The bottom line is that prayer is important. The time we spend praying is important. As a matter of fact, in order to get anything done that God is challenging you to do takes a lot of prayer and conversation with Him. Remember what Jesus says in John 15:5 says? He reminds us that “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” Remaining in Him happens through prayer. If we begin to believe the lie that we can do Kingdom things under our own power, we begin to stray away from Him. The ultimate result in that ends with nothing.
At Restoration Farm, we want to bear fruit. The fruit we hope to bear will come a little different than most conventional ways to see fruit grow. We want pastors to be able to continue to serve Christ to the best of their God-given abilities and bear fruit in their local churches. We are praying now that Restoration Farm will be the place that brings healing, reconciliation and restoration to lives, ministries, families and congregations. We believe that making sure Restoration Farm is covered in praying BEFORE there is a physical building or property; it will be like waking up in the early morning to start our day off with prayer. This can only result in “remaining in Him” as the days progress. Praying now will help us to stay on target with what Christ wants for Restoration Farm in the future.
So, what does this mean for you? How can you help? We need a group… no, a team of prayer warriors who will join us in doing the only thing we know how to do in this time. We don’t know what the physical next step will be but we know that there won’t be one without prayer. We need you to pray for God-sized doors to open up so that this dream will become a reality. We need you to pray for our family. Pray that God would help all of us to “remain in Him” as He continues to call us to greater things. Pray that finances would be set in place before the need arises. Pray for the lives that will be changed through pastors and families that will come through Restoration Farm. Pray for all that and the many unknown things that will come up along the way. Will you join our team of prayer warriors?
Lord, thank you! Thank you for prayer and the ability to speak directly with a God who hears us, knows us, loves us and cares for us. Thank you for being there, always. You know the desires of our hearts. Help Tiffany and I to always remain in you. You are the source that we need to seek in the now and the days ahead. Help us to put you first. Help our hearts and minds to be one with yours in prayer. Continue to call us and lead us when things seem crazy. Help us to keep our eyes on you as we seek to follow your call and serve others. Help our minds to be focused on your Kingdom and how you desire Restoration Farm to bear fruit and to be a place that helps pastors further your Kingdom in their local church! Keep reminding us that we’re crazy if we don’t follow the dream you’ve given us. We don’t know how you’re going to establish Restoration Farm, but we know you will! Amen!