If you've been in ministry for ANY period of time, you've probably been exposed to the megachurch methodologies of ministry. There are conferences EVERY MONTH that basically say "If you want to reach people, do church this way. Its God's way of doing church." There are books and books and seminars and blogs and more books and seminars about how to do church God's way.
The thing that I find ironic about these books and seminars - AND ThEY ARE NEEDED - is that they don't talk a lot about PRAYER. I hear the need to be "seeker sensitive" or "outward focused" or "relevant" or "purpose driven" and I even hear about the need for evangelism. I hear about the need for small groups and good worship teams and good leadership - and all of those a EXTRAORDINARILY important to a healthy ministry. But where is the emphasis on prayer and the rightly divided word of God?
Experience has shown me that when we get caught up in the hoopla and best practices, we neglect the BASICS. I'm not saying that these churches and ministries don't have a HEAVY prayer element to what they do on a regular bassis, I'm confident that they do. But WE rarely get to hear about it. We hear about their best practices, but we rarely hear about THE BEST practice - prayer.
So please let me remind you - PRAYER IS ESSENTIAL TO A HEALTHY, GROWING CHURCH. I've been the person focusing so much on strategies and best practices that I forgot to SHOWER everything in prayer. Well, I went back to that and MAN - God showed up HUGE! He did a lot of freeing, confirming and empowering last night. No games, no videos, just a night of prayer and worship to God - HE TOOK OVER! It was awesome that God reminded me that HE is building HIS church.
I love the best practices stuff. One of the books I'm reading is Simple Church. But let us not neglect prayer - its the gas that moves God's motion.