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NPPN Roundtable Article #060


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#060
    THE IMPORTANCE OF CITYWIDE PASTORS PRAYER GROUPS
   by Gene Brooks
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"AND THERE WERE SHEPHERDS...":

The Importance of City Wide Pastors Prayer Groups

During the 1999 Christmas season I was in Bandung, Indonesia, speaking to a gathering of 500 pastors and intercessors. Just as I was about to stand and speak on how reconciliation affects the spiritual realm, the Lord quickly urged me to the Christmas story in Luke 2.

"Lord, the Christmas story? The pastors here have preached this passage hundreds of times. What could be in this story that would be important for a pastors and intercessors gathering?"

The Lord gave me principles showing the importance of Pastors' Prayer Groups.

1- "There were SHEPHERDS" (Luke 2:8)

In the Middle East at that time, a career in shepherding was a humble occupation. It was rough. It was smelly. It was outdoors-outside their four walls! Being a shepherd required humility, just as being a true shepherd today does.

2- "ABIDING in the FIELDS" (Luke 2:8)

These shepherds (or pastors) were living together, not isolated from one another, not shepherding his or her own flock. They were together. They were not just courteously meeting once a quarter for donuts to brag about how much each one's flock was growing. These shepherds were together in fellowship. They were getting along. They knew about one another's lives and families. Plus they were "in the field" together, working together, not locked up all day in the office, not ministering alone. They had developed trust with one another. They were shepherding together in their mission field.

3- "KEEPING WATCH..." (Luke 2:8)

These shepherds were keeping the fire burning (Leviticus 6:13), watching over their sheep through the night. This is a picture of prayer and intercession on behalf of the saints. As pastors of the flocks under our care in a city, we must get a sustained vision of keeping watch together over our flocks.

4- "OVER THEIR FLOCKS" PLURAL (Luke 2:8)

These shepherds were pastoring all their flocks together. Although each shepherd had a flock for which he was responsible, they all were shepherding all the flocks together. We probably would not have heard accusations of sheep-stealing that night if we had been there with them. They were all pastoring their flocks together. They were actually getting along with one another and not in competition.

What would happen if a city's pastors got a sustained vision of gathering together, building relationships with one another, abiding together, keeping watch over their flocks together in prayer. What if our pastors all saw themselves as associate shepherds over the whole flock of their city? What would happen? What would result? The rest of the Christmas story in Luke 2 tells us. Revival Happens!

5- "THE ANGEL OF THE LORD CAME UPON THEM" (Luke 2:9-10)

When we pastors gather together in prayer, building real relationships, and fostering reconciliation, the Lord releases His word. Angels are messengers, and the Angel of the Lord brings the Lord's message-the Word of God. In Luke 2 the word of the Lord was that Christ had been born. Do we want to see the Word of the Lord released over our city? Then we must gather the shepherds for prayer, reconciliation, and relationships.

6- "THE GLORY OF THE LORD SHONE ROUND ABOUT THEM" (Luke 2:9)

The Shekinah glory of God descended on this group of shepherds who were together in unity pastoring all their flocks together. The glory of the Presence terrified them. Many of our pastors prayer groups would probably also be shocked with fear should we actually see the glory of God descend all around us. Most of us have never seen that happen to our city. Do you hunger to see it? The Scripture teaches us to gather the shepherds in unity.

7- THE PRESENCE OF CHRIST (Luke 2:11)

"For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord."

The presence of the Savior begins to fill the city where pastors gather together in unity.

8- A HOLY ALTAR IS BUILT (Luke 2:13)

"Suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying..." A Jewish reader of this passage would have immediately thought of Jacob at Bethel. When he set up a holy altar there to the Lord, he saw in a dream "a stairway resting on the earth, with its top reaching to heaven and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it" (Genesis 28:12 NIV.) Jacob set up a holy altar and had an open heaven. The same principle applies to our city wide pastors prayer group. As we gather, we set up a holy altar of prayer which brings the word and presence of God to our city.

Therefore, the result of a vision-filled pastors prayer group in your city is revival.

This unity will release the word of the Lord, cause the Shekinah glory to descend, and bring the presence of Christ. This is all accomplished through the holy altar built by our pastors by keeping watch over their flocks in prayer.

The result of this revival will be A DESIRE TO SEEK GOD MORE.
"Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known to us" (Luke 2:15 KJV.)

A second result will be MISSION OUTREACH.
"When they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And they that heard it wondered at those things..." (Luke 2:17-18 KJV.)

The third and most important result is that THE LORD IS PRAISED in your city.
"And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen" (Luke 2:20 KJV.)

Let us reclaim and renew our vision about the strategic importance of our pastors prayer groups. In the spiritual realm they help bring "glory to God in the highest," and in the natural realm "peace, goodwill toward men."

Copyright 2003 by Gene Brooks 

Gene Brooks

Samaritan's Purse International Relief
Liberia, West Africa
http://www.samaritanspurse.org
http://www.geocities.com/genebrooks
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This article will continue to be posted and distributed throughout the NPPN - with the ongoing addition of comments and questions from NPPN respondents. The NPPN produces and provides these articles to initiate a national conversation among pastors' prayer leaders. Opinions reflect the views of each author or respondent, not the NPPN or any other person or organization You are encouraged to contact the author or subsequent respondents directly. These ongoing discussions are intended to inspire, instruct, and inform those who lead pastors' prayer groups and facilitate pastors' prayer networks. The NPPN reserves the right to edit articles and responses for purposes of length or tone. Our call to humility and our commitment to biblical unity will serve as our guide and our guard.
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Copyright 2004, NPPN - Permission granted for duplication or distribution among facilitators and intercessors who are committed to gathering pastors for prayer.
 


 

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 --->Copyright 2003. However, permission is granted to freely redistribute to those who will partner in praying for and sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with everyone in our nation and beyond.
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