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Summary: Prayer is a primary ingredient for church growth

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(portions of this material is from Dann Spader, Growing a Healthy Church)

SERIES: “THE GROWTH FACTORS”

TEXT: MATTHEW 7:7-8

TITLE: “THE COMMUNICATION FACTOR”

INTRODUCTION: A. Anyone here hate it when you call someplace and you get one of those computer-

generated answering devices

--Imagine if God operated the same way:

As we begin to pray we hear...

Thank you for calling your Heavenly Father’s house. Your call may be monitored

for quality assurance. Please select one of the following options:

Press 1 for prayer requests

Press 2 for prayers of thanksgiving

Press 3 for prayers containing complaints

Press 4 for all other prayers

I’m sorry; all of our angels are busy helping other sinners right now. However, your

prayers are important to us and will be answered in the order received, so please stay

on the line.

If you would like to leave a voice mail message for:

God (The Father) Press 1 now

Jesus Christ Press 2 now

The Holy Spirit Press 3 now

If you would like to hear the King David Singers sing a Psalm while you are

holding, please press 4 now.

To find out if a loved one has been assigned to Heaven, please enter his or her Social

Security number (without dashes), then press the pound key. If you get a negative

response try again using area code 666.

For reservations please dial 5646-316 (John 3:16).

For nagging questions about dinosaurs, the real age of the earth, where Noah’s Ark

is, and any other questions, please wait until you arrive here.

Our computers indicate that you have already prayed once today. Please hang up

and try again tomorrow. This office is closed on weekends, and any State or Federal

holiday. Please pray again between 9:30 AM and 4:30 PM Monday through Friday

(except holidays).

If you need emergency assistance when this office is closed contact your local

pastor.

B. Our series on Sunday mornings is The Growth Factor

1. We’re studying the ways that God wants us to grow in numbers and in spiritual

maturity

2. We’ve talked about:

a. The Motivation Factor

--Why FCC exists; our purpose for being

b. The Expectation Factor

--Does our vision for the church match Christ’s vision for the church?

c. The Aggravation Factor

--What are we willing to do, what cost are we willing to pay to become the

church Christ wants us to be?

3. Today we’re looking at The Communication Factor

a. Prayer is our most effective tool for both numerical and spiritual growth

b. Mt. 7:7-8 – “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and

the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks

finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.”

C. The sheer magnitude of the idea that we can communicate with God should stir our

souls

1. Prayer is something that we talk about a lot when we gather with other Christians.

--There’s even a superficial satisfaction we feel when we’re discussing prayer without

actually praying.

a. We listen to another person’s experience and feel encouraged or uplifted.

b. We read or study about prayer and think that knowing more about it puts us in a

better position.

2. While it’s true that studying and discussing prayer can be beneficial, it can only be

beneficial when we put that knowledge into practice.

--Sometimes our increased knowledge serves only to numb our sense of need for

prayer.

3. Establishing a prayer base that bathes our ministries and our people in prayer must be

a foundational priority in our operating procedure.

I. THE PROGRAM OF PRAYER

A. If you attempt to discover the secret of healthy, growing churches and life-changing ministry by reading

the majority of mail that comes to the church, you’d believe that the secret is in discovering the right

program.

1. Perusing the mailings that come to the church office, it’s easy to assume that there is some magic

curriculum or a perfect program that does the job.

2. We have to remember that the kingdom of God is not defined by programs, curriculum, video libraries,

or any other ministry tool that’s being offered.

3. What is the kingdom of God

a. The kingdom of God can be defined as “God’s rule and reign in the lives of His people.”

b. That kingdom is not a matter of human endeavor.

--It is a matter of spiritual power.

c. Dann Spader: “It is the supernatural work of a supernatural God invading the natural world of our

lives.”

4. If our desire is to see God do His kind of work in our lives and in this congregation, we have to work

according to His program.

--Prayer is God’s ordained program

5. We are encouraged in scripture to “pray continually”

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