Lots of Sweat: What Makes a Church Healthy? Part 3

A Healthy Church

A HEALTHY CHURCH EXERCISES REGULARLY

A healthy church persistently and sweats it out in the practice of prayer.  While poor spiritual habits lead to a sluggish faith, prayer trains for a sprinted marathon.  For those who follow Jesus, the run is never a short-cut pill, never a steroid-induced strength, never a sitting-still, and most certainly never a giving-up attitude.  A healthy church presses on, enduring through the strain of life and ministry in order to accomplish the goals that God has set (Philippians 3:14-17).

Prayer stretches the soul (Ephesians 3:14-21).  In prayer God draws near to his people and enables them to move free from burden (Psalm 145:14-18; Deuteronomy 4:7).  Prayer, continually practiced, purges the system of sinful condition and leads towards forgiveness (Philippians 4:5-7; 1 Thessalonians 5:17; Matthew 6:12).  As agonizing as the process of spiritual fat-trimming can be, a local church engaging in prayer together learns agility in ministry, endurance in trial, inspiration in challenge, and peace in hostility (1 Corinthians 9:25; Hebrews 12:11).

Prayerful training leads to godliness, the key to making healthy choices in this unhealthy world (1 Timothy 4:7-8).  Practicing prayer enables followers of Jesus to be fully trained to be like Jesus (Luke 6:40).  A healthy church doesn’t live comfortably.  A healthy church does not settle for patterns of soulful malnutrition.  A healthy church prays hard.

This is the third part of a series of posts exploring the essential elements that must exist in order for a church to be considered healthy. This material stems from an assignment I completed for my most recent course at ACTS: “Developing a Healthy Church.”

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