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Our church deeply values prayer. While it would be strange to find a church that said they didn’t value prayer, I have learned there is something different when a church prioritizes prayer. This is different than planning first and praying second; we don’t want to do that. We want to pray first and plan second. We are devoted to the Lord in prayer. Prayer is the plow, and we plant behind the plow. That means God does the hard work, and we follow behind Him, doing the work that we are called to do. We want to grow beyond the understanding of our culture that says hard work is the solution to everything. If we are limited by our hard work, then our results will always be limited to what we can do. But God has called us to impossible tasks–with Him. We can dream big when we pray first, do our part, and see all He can do.

Years ago, the Lord was leading Covenant Grove to do something that seemed pretty impossible. A friend tried to gently correct me. He told me the dream wasn’t realistic, it brought doubt in his mind, and it made him question my leadership. I told him that I understood where he was coming from because in the past I had tried to do life and ministry in my own power. But I asked if he would pray with me, every day, as we followed the Lord in this initiative. He promised to pray. And God not only met but exceeded our “impossible” goal. My friend came to me bursting with joy, telling me how his faith had grown, his dreams had grown, and he was rethinking the importance of prayer in his life. God grows our faith as we pray and act. Prayer makes a difference!

We honestly and passionately worship the Lord, bringing glory to His name. Our prayers are not just requests. In fact, we don’t even start with requests. We begin by praising God for everything He has done. We glorify God for His character, for who He is, for His very nature. There’s something so powerful about focusing on the character of God. Worshiping the Lord changes our character. We worship the Lord with passion and fervor. We are authentic in our worship, bringing our sorrows, struggles, and shame. We don’t have to be perfect because we worship a perfect God (the only perfect Being). We passionately worship, pouring out our hearts to our Redeemer. Worship is part of a life of prayer. Some people say prayer and worship don’t change anything, but we know it changes everything because we are drawing close to the One who changes us all. We are people of prayer.

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