Breakthrough Prayer and Finances

January 1st, 2018
This article is featured in the The Vile Practices of Ministry (Feb/Mar/Apr 2018) issue of Circuit Rider

Are you familiar with a “Breakthrough Prayer Initiative”?

It’s a simple additive component to your church’s prayer life across all ages, ministries, committees, teams and classes. Along with a church’s usual prayers for healing, protection, comfort and wisdom, a Breakthrough Prayer Initiative means always also adding a request for God to break through with new ideas, hopes and God possibilities. We habitually pray to God our Comforter, to God our Sympathizer…but what about praying to God the Almighty! Whether prayers are for your personal life or they are for the present and future of your congregation, including requests for God to break through anew is powerful and miracle-filled. It’s the best way I’ve ever seen to shift a church, or ourselves, from looking down and in with discouragement — to looking up and out in expectancy for what God may do or bring that’s new. Every church I know that’s cultivated a strong, consistent foundation of prayer like this at the center of everything has experienced transformation and change beyond what could have been imagined — both collectively, and in the lives of the pray-ers themselves.

What does it mean to integrate, then, this additive component of breakthrough prayer even into the journey of financial discipleship?

Everything, according to congregations like Rolling Plains United Methodist Church in Zanesville, Ohio. Lead Pastor John Alice, after a year of training church membership to add asking God for breakthroughs to both individual and corporate prayer life, took the next step when it came time for the fall stewardship season. He and the church board challenged everyone to ask God specifically for breakthroughs in their own financial generosity. This set the stage for people to “wrestle with God” in the spiritual responsibility for their stewardship via heart-level prayer for breakthroughs, rather than a typical church members’ response of only wrestling in thought with the practical specifics of the church budget and bills.

Carrying the Rolling Plains Breakthrough Prayer Initiative through the annual financial campaign brought a surge of discipleship fruitfulness, as many individuals and families stepped up and experienced breakthroughs to trust God more generously with their finances and giving. In fact, if you’d like to meet Pastor John and hear his specific challenge plus what happened, check out a few-minute video story about the financial breakthroughs of this amazing congregation.

So if your annual stewardship series only includes a prayer just prior to when your members complete and submit their pledge cards for the coming year, consider the possibility of moving prayer asking for breakthroughs at all levels to central priority in every aspect of church life year round — including this one.

Do you long to see your congregation jumpstart a fresh season of vitality and effectiveness not only financially, but in every dimension? Find out how you can launch a Breakthrough Prayer Initiative as the bedrock in your own setting in chapter 2 of Floodgates: Holy Momentum for a Fearless Church (2016, Abingdon Press). 

And I’ve written even more that can help equip you to fuel a Breakthrough Prayer Initiative in my next book, Ultimate Reliance: Breakthrough Prayer Practices for Leaders, to be released fall 2018.

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