GREENSBORO — No matter how impressive a church may seem, if
the church lacks a strong anchor, it will never succeed.
Ryan Pack, pastor of First Baptist Church in Hendersonville,
believes that strong anchor is prayer. Pack preached from Daniel 9 during the
recent statewide evangelism conference at Friendly Avenue Baptist Church and
challenged those in attendance to not only be more focused on prayer, but to
refocus on repentant prayer.
Prayer, especially repentant prayer, allows believers to
shift their focus from self to God. “We can become so full of ourselves that we
miss the presence of God,” Pack said.
Repentant prayer draws eyes heavenward, and it does so by
acknowledging God’s faithfulness. Sometimes a person may hesitate to ask
someone for forgiveness, even when they know they must, because the response on
the other end is unsure.
Not so with God. “God keeps His covenant of love,” Pack
said. “He is going to approach us with grace and restoration.” Although sin has
consequences, and those consequences may be painful for awhile, God will
restore with grace.
“Without acknowledging God’s faithfulness, we have no other steps
to take,” Pack said. He urged church leaders and pastors to remember God’s
faithfulness, and in light of that, to always seek His glory above all else.
“Sometimes we ask God to bless something He never wanted
started in the first place,” Pack said. When that happens, leaders must run to
God in repentance.
When leaders only expect God to bless, and never seek His
face and never seek to discern where He is leading, they end up treating God as
a “cosmic vending machine” to get what they want. “That’s some made up
prosperity gospel,” Pack said.
The second component of repentant prayer is admitting
rebellion. Pack described today’s culture as a “no-fault culture” where no one
wants to step up and admit when a mistake has been made. “Here is authentic
leadership: when we as the shepherd of the church admit our rebellion first,”
No matter what has happened in a church in the past, no
matter what mistakes have been made, “today, you are the shepherd,” Pack
reminded pastors. “You are required to take ownership of whatever is there.”
Admitting rebellion requires believers to make their prayers
specific and get to the heart of the issue. “You have not genuinely repented if
you are still blaming someone else,” Pack said.
Pack pointed out how in Daniel 9:5, Daniel admits that the
people have ignored God’s commands. “At some point we must evaluate the
consequences of not listening to God,” he said.
Sometimes God brings into the life of a believer people who
can speak truth in love and who can help bring to light sin that has remained
in the darkness. “Is it possible God has placed in your life personal prophets
to speak truth in your life but you’ve ignored it?” Pack asked.
The third component of repentant prayer is change. “We have
made ministry so much about ourselves we are no longer doing ministry for the
sake of God,” Pack said. The prayers of the repentant will confess that and ask
God to use ministry to make His name great among all people.
Ministry, in whatever capacity, is for God’s glory and for
the salvation of those who are not in Christ Jesus. Ministry exists so that the
eyes and hearts of believers will be opened to more fully know Jesus as King of
Kings and Lord of their life.
can no longer continue in ministry as usual,” Pack said. “It’s going to take
repentance, prayer and the power of almighty God.”
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