Phil Miglioratti Interviewed Thomas Bush of Prayer Assist
PHIL>>> Thomas, you bring a unique set of skills to prayer ministry. Talk about how your corporate roles and expertise in IT (information technology) serve your mission to encourage and equip Christians in prayer.
THOMAS>>> Thanks, Phil. I am a trained Business Analyst. A Business Analyst’s greatest value is to help companies focus on their mission and invites them to connect their organizational priorities, resources and strategies (people, assets, time, talent, and treasure) with the best ways to fulfill their organization’s mission.
Prayer Assist seeks to use our prayer ministry offerings to enhance the mission of God for individuals and ministries. Here are questions we might ask: What is God’s mission in prayer for individuals and ministries? How does the kind of prayer we do enhance and inform the mission God has given us? Can we implement the kind of prayer that shows us how to invest our resources in what will bring the greatest return for God’s Kingdom?
PHIL>>> Your stated mission is to "energize prayer" as a "coach, mentor, encourager, and friend." How do these roles support or augment what you do through teaching and preaching?
THOMAS>>> In order for prayer to be what God wants from His people, it must be the kind of prayer that affects who they are and what they do. Much of the prayer we do today does not affect us in the way that God wants. We need a different focus in prayer.
In summary, Biblical prayer is:
- Prayer that makes us aware that we are dependent on God and can be divinely connected with Him through our union with Him and through His word. This kind of prayer and life in God requires humility.
(Abiding Prayer: John 15, Relationship With God Prayer: Romans 8:15-17, James 4:6-8)
- Prayer that recognizes that God will reveal Himself and His wisdom to His people when we align ourselves with His heart.
(God Reveals Himself to His People: Isaiah 64:7, 1 Corinthians 2:9-16)
"The spiritual vitality of an individual or organization
is an indicator of their connection with God.
People with vital connection to God live with greater strength and purpose."
PHIL>>> How does this presupposition permeate your teaching and training?
THOMAS>>> God has called us to a daily walk in life with Him, like Jesus did. The kind of prayer and spiritual life we have in God must be animated by a life-giving and Holy Spirit-connected awareness of God. Scripture-directed and Holy Spirit breathed prayer is the door to the abundant life in God has planned for His people. (Joy and Fruitfulness: John 15:7-17)
PHIL>>> How do these objectives assist the process of reviewing and revising how a person, congregation or organization approaches prayer?
- Evaluating>>> In order to discern our engagement in life-giving prayer, we must accurately assess the current state of prayer in our life and ministry.
- Example: Pastor Daniel Henderson recommends a 4-part prayer evaluation for churches and ministries: Height, Breadth, Width, and Depth:
-Height: Is the leadership team modeling, cultivating, and teaching on prayer?
-Breadth: Are we helping our people understand the need for a prayer culture beyond prayer activities?
-Width: How are we raising up other leaders to provide a variety of prayer opportunities?
-Depth: Are we equipping our people to develop a depth in private prayer that results in positive impact on their family, church and community relationships?
- Equipping>>> When must seek to align our prayer practice with scripture and/or God’s purposes. We must equip our people with the kind of prayer that fulfills God’s purposes for their lives and ministry.
- Energizing>>> In the Bible, Isaiah 56:7 says there will be “joy” in the House of Prayer. Also, 1 Corinthians 2 says the Holy Spirit reveals the wonderful mind and purposes of God to those who love Him. If we are not experiencing joy, love and the revelation of God’s mind and purposes when we pray, something is missing from our prayer practice. Joy, love, and Holy Spirit revealed life in God are energizing. We receive the “spiritual fuel” that keeps us living, growing and engaging in God’s purposes with His love, joy, and enthusiasm.
- Encouraging>>> Disciples pray. Disciples are “discipled” in prayer by ministry leaders. Ministry Leaders equip disciples with the kind of prayer that is “energizing” so that they can enjoy their life in God and know how to fulfill His purposes. Leaders invite, encourage, and equip their people toward this kind of fulfilling prayer-filled living.
PHIL>>> Help us begin to reimagine personal prayer. How do we rethink the purpose and process of talking and listening to God?
THOMAS>>> God created people for life-long fellowship with Him. God’s Word says ”Anyone who opens the door of their heart to Him, He will come in and have divine fellowship with them.” (Revelation 3:20) That is what God’s people are created for!
In addition, The Bible gives us models of intimate fellowship with God like Jesus, Paul, Enoch and others. Scripture says, “Enoch walked with God.” (Genesis 5:24) At Prayer Assist, our vision is to develop disciples who learn the kind of personal prayer that God wants, modeled after the life of Enoch. We can equip God’s people to have divine fellowship with God and “walk with Him” in relationship though the seasons of life. We train people to have a “walking with God” life of prayer.
PHIL>>> Corporate prayer also needs to be reimagined so that our praying is "transformed; not conformed" (Romans 12:2). Give us a perspective that reshapes how we teach and facilitate congregational-small group-organizational prayer gatherings.
THOMAS>>> First, a primary expression of prayer in the book of Acts is the church praying together. Pastor John Franklin writes, “When Jesus taught on prayer, 33 out of 37 times He did so in the plural.” Examples: Acts 1:14, 1:24, 2:42, 3:1, 4:23-31. Certainly, our churches need the kind of Holy-Spirit power and wisdom that the 1st Century church had.
Second, we cannot accomplish all God has for us as His people by praying alone. Illustration: Let’s say we have 1 facet of a diamond. If light shines on it, it will give a certain kind of glow. However, in a fully shaped, multi-faceted diamond, cut by a master jeweler - when light shines on it, it sparkles with magnificent brilliance.
Effective corporate prayer is shining the light of God’s word and Spirit on a given topic. When we see the refracted light that comes from offering prayer on a given topic, God, the “Master Jeweler,” gives us glimpses of His glory as we gaze on Him together. As we pray and listen together, focused on God’s Word and character, the “brilliance” and wisdom of His revelation can give us an awareness of God’s will, purposes, and ways that we can discern and respond to.
PHIL>>> Point us in a good direction of rethinking how to ...
Increase prayer ministry capacity>>>
As mentioned earlier, “disciples pray.” We cannot activate prayer ministry if we have not equipped people to do it. If we want more people praying in our churches, at home, in their communities and businesses, we must equip them for these roles.
Incorporate praying into our disciple making systems>>>
Since disciples pray, training them for a life of prayer is essential to our disciple-making systems.
Jesus said, “My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations.” (Mark 11:17) The “House of Prayer Church” graphic shown here describes a well-rounded praying disciple.
We can train our people to be “4-quadrant pray-ers,” who are equipped in personal prayer, personal intercession, prayer for others, and corporate prayer.
Include prayer in our compassion and evangelism outreaches in our communities and across our cities>>>
When we love God, we love what He loves. Prayer connects us with the heart of God and the mission God has for us. What I call “ministry prayer” connects us with God’s heart and mission in a way that allows us to tap into His loving compassion for people. Ministry Prayer gives us the wisdom and effectiveness we need in order to share God’s love with others.
'PHIL>>> One more thing we need to ponder?
THOMAS>>> My heart aches for people in our churches who have never experienced “Revelation 3:20” prayer. God desires to have intimate fellowship with His people. Leaders can open the door to that kind of fellowship in God. Prayer Assist challenges and equips leaders to open the door of life-long fellowship through prayer to God’s people.
Like a good business analyst, Prayer Assist reminds God’s people that they cannot fulfill God’s mission on earth without the kind of prayer that connects us with His eternal plan and gives God’s people the wisdom and guidance to know how to invest their resources (people, assets, time, talent, and treasure) into what will bring God’s Kingdom the greatest glory and Kingdom impact.
'PHIL>>> Please write a prayer that challenges us to produce prayer-energized disciples and ministries...
THOMAS>>> Precious Lord, we confess that we have made idols of ourselves and of our ministries. As Jesus said when he overturned tables in the temple, You are looking for a “house of prayer” church and we “have made it” something else. Forgive us Lord!
Take us back to Your word and help us learn and establish the kind of prayer that fulfills Your purposes! Draw us back to you. Disciples pray. Lead us back to life-long fellowship with you through prayer and help us to lead our lives, churches, and ministries to the kind of scripture-fed, Holy Spirit-directed prayer that fulfills your purposes on earth. Lead us to the kind of ministry activity that brings God’s kingdom the greatest glory and return. We agree with You: May “Your Kingdom come” and “Your will be done” in us and in the greater Body of Christ. Through Christ, our Savior, Lord, Redeemer and Risen King, Amen.