A Culture that Prays is a Culture that Wins – Part 2
August 27, 2014 Vicki Ohlerking

A Culture that Prays is a Culture that Wins – Part 2

August 27 2014

Hospitality and Leadership – those are the first two cultural identities I see in great churches. But this third one I want to look at a little more closely. I believe it is the foundation of great churches. It would seem to be too obvious, but it is a spiritual culture. 

What I’m referring to is a hunger for the Word, prayer, fasting, and passionate worship. To me, it’s the bite that’s in the services – that edge that’s in your services where people are touched by the presence of God and the power of God. In churches with a spiritual culture, God is transforming people’s lives. 
At the end of the day, a hospitality culture draws people, a leadership culture sets direction and moves people forward, but only a spiritual culture, only the presence of God can change people’s lives, heal marriages, heal people, and bring restoration. It’s only the presence of God.

It can be all too easy to just copy what others are doing. We do need to get the atmosphere right. We need to get the environment right, along with the lights, the music, the screens, the graphic pieces, and all of these important things. But if we just do all those things, then we’ll have a shell and our churches will be hollow and empty without the presence of God impacting people’s lives. That’s why Paul talked about watching out for people that have a form of godliness, but deny the power of God. It looks like God, it looks good, it looks spiritual, but there’s no power for people to change. There’s no power for marriages to be healed and restored. We’ve got to have this spiritual revival in our own hearts.

In this amazing story about prayer in Exodus seventeen, as long as Moses had his hands up, the people of God were winning. As long as he was praying, the church was moving forward. I want you to see something about what Moses had to do – some transitions he had to make that I believe we are going to have to make as pastors in order to build a spiritual culture that brings an edge and a passion to our church.

In verse one of Exodus seventeen, the people quarreled with Moses about not having water to drink. He was right there with the people, close enough for them to quarrel with him. Then in verse five, we see God telling Moses to go on ahead of the people. He had to transition from being “hands-on” to being “hands-off” as a leader. And from there he was in a position ready to take the “hands-up” position with God.

Sometimes we can get so overwhelmed with all that we need to do, but it might just be that this is a season when, instead of being so hands-on, you need to take your hands off, and let other people lead so that you can be in a position to have your hands up.

But please don’t make the mistake of thinking that when you take your hands off and you’ve got great leaders leading for you, that you should now just go into auto-pilot mode. You’re hands-off now so that you can be hands-up in prayer because as long as you’re praying, the church is winning. Go all the way from hands-on to hands-off to hands-up.

Another transition Moses had to make was to begin to rely on others. Moses wasn’t in the valley fighting. Joshua was. Aaron and Hur went up the mountain with Moses to provide the support he needed so he could sustain a lifestyle of prayer. Let me encourage you, pastors, let others do what they’re called to do. Not everyone is called to plant a church. Some are called to lift up hands. Some are called to fight in the valley. Let them do what they’re called to do so you can do what you’re called to do.

The third thing Moses had to do was to be willing to pray until the sun set – until the victory is won. We can be so good at starting off. We bombard heaven in prayer about a project, but then when it doesn’t move forward like we thought it would, we slow down. We let our hands down a little bit. Let’s keep our hands lifted until the setting of the sun – until the sun sets on that project. Keep your hands up in prayer until the sun sets on whatever it is that you’re asking God for. Let your hands remain steady, lifted up in prayer, encountering the presence of God.

Prayer moves the hand that moves the world. Prayer moves the hand that moves civic leaders in your city. You’re asking God for the permit or for the vote to go like you need it to for your church to move forward. Pray. Believe God. Stay in the presence of God and let His presence move us and as He does, we will do all the things that He’s called us to do.