This message is about the one meeting of the church that establishes a church’s identity and muscularity. After years of great strengths in many areas of church life, John was burdened about growing weaknesses in many of the former indomitable strengths. The Lord took him to Psalm 89, where for 37 verses the faithfulness of God to David is extolled, but then its seeming failure lamented. Verse 40 stood out, “You have broken through all his walls, and reduced his strongholds to ruins.” From this the Lord spoke, and made clear that the great ‘strongholds’ we had enjoyed had been built as a result of the particular leadership structure we had had in place for 22 years, but weaknesses had grown because for the last three years we had followed a changed pattern. John lists seven areas in particular that needed to be strengthened, and shared that the Lord’s word was to return to what we had known before. And at the first of the re-instated meetings, the Lord had said, “This is the meeting that establishes the church’s identity. And its muscularity!”
This was a return to a weekly leadership meeting where the ministry leaders of the church met with many of the mature men of the church as a church council, for a leadership meeting that was based on prayer, with a minimum of an hours prayer before anything was ever discussed. This was a men’s prayer meeting, meeting as leaders, husbands and fathers. Whilst in the church we had in place many other prayer meetings – strong daily prayer meetings, intercession meetings, cells praying, etc, this one particular meeting put something in place that no other did. Other prayer meetings were open to all as volunteers. This one was for a strong team who were obligated to it as servants of the church. It established a spiritual covering over the church, and brought a grace for protection and blessing that went over all things, in turn making other prayer meetings effective, and ministry empowered.
Men are meant to take a strong position of spirituality and leadership in the church. Women may freely participate in every aspect of church life, but men must. For men, spiritual leadership is a duty that must not be shirked. As the Scripture exhorts, “Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong. Do everything in love.” (1 Cor 16:13-14) This message thoughtfully establishes the great need for the covering prayer of men in churches everywhere.
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