Frontline Prayers: Why are they important?
Recently, I have been reading about “Gospel Renewal” in Tim Keller’s book entitled “Center Church.”
One concept that has really spoken to me is the idea of “frontline” prayers, rather than simple “maintenance” prayers, that often precede renewal movements throughout history. C. John described “maintenance” prayers as mechanical and focused primarily on the needs (and sometimes wants) of those inside the church. These prayers are usually short, reactionary and are focused mainly on the needs of those who are suffering, sick, or dying. Scripture commands that we are to pray for these needs (James 5:13ff). However, there is a danger of only praying for those how are sick or dying. If we are not careful, we can unintentionally only see those who are sick and dying. This not only becomes discouraging, it blinds us to the actions and opportunities that God may be inviting us to participate in that are around us.
However, there is a second type of prayer called “frontline” prayers that are that if offered in addition to these “maintenance” prayers. “Frontline” prayers concern God’s glory in the community and often precede (or accompany) the renewing of a church. “Frontline” prayers have three basic characteristics:
- A request for grace to confess sins and to humble ourselves.
- A compassion and zeal for the flourishing of the church and the reaching of the lost.
- A yearning to know God, to see his face, to glimpse his glory. (By Keller, Center Church, 73)
I have really been encouraged by these three characteristics of frontline prayers and have been praying them much more consistently. Even more, I want to invite you to join me in consistently and passionately offering up these “frontline” prayers with me and plead that God would send renewal to His people. Keller notes that what is important is not the amount of people praying, but the nature of those who are praying.