An Uncommon Goal: Dependence

An Uncommon Goal: Dependence

In a world shaped by wars for independence and caution about the myriad of dependencies and co-dependencies to be avoided, it’s no wonder that “dependence” isn’t often touted as a goal. Yet there is a dependence that we’re made for, and it’s nourished and sustained by prayer.

C.S. Lewis puts it this way: “God made us: invented us as a man invents an engine. A car is made to run on petrol, and it would not run properly on anything else. Now God designed the human machine to run on Himself. He Himself is the fuel our spirits were designed to burn...There is no other.”

Though we’re designed to be dependent, independence seems to come much more naturally. Adam Barker, our new A Praying Life Director shares, “My first official day as director was December 1, and I immediately felt a new weight on my shoulders. My first thought was, ‘Ok. I’ve got to get planning. I’ve got to think strategically.’ It was immediate independence! I saw my flesh and turned to God, but I wish my first instinct wasn’t self-reliance!”

Our A Praying Life team hears (and lives!) stories like these all the time. Just this week, a round of prayer cohorts wrapped up, and three stories in particular stuck in Adam’s mind:

  • A church-planter who is already meeting with a core team and ready to start planting tears up his plans in order to spend a longer time praying with the launch team and asking God, “What would you have us to do here?”
  • A pastor finds new freedom in tense planning meetings to pause and have the group pray for wisdom together, instead of working the whiteboard harder.  
  • A dad of a nonverbal autistic son changes how he’s parenting, loving, and praying for his son in light of the fresh ways he’s growing in Jesus as he asks God for help in the midst of real life.

The tension between self-reliance and God-dependence affects us not only as individuals, but also as churches. Paul Miller’s new book A Praying Church recently won awards from The Gospel Coalition (Ministry Book of the Year) and World Magazine (Award of Distinction). You can hear echoes of that tension in TGC's comment, "Discouragement, distraction, and ministry demands all push prayer out of its proper place in our worship, leadership, and fellowship … Miller challenges self-sufficiency and rallies leaders to their knees. He pleads with pastors and congregations to 'go low, to descend into the hidden room of prayer, to slow down [their] entire ministry and learn how to pray together.'”

What would it be like for you to start the next year of life and ministry going low and learning to pray again?

We have two opportunities to do just that in January 2024:

  • A Praying Church Seminar: Join Paul Miller online for this two-day seminar (Jan 8-9) and discover how the Spirit of Jesus enlivens the everyday saints around you when you bring Him to the center of your community. 9am ET to noon ET.
  • A Praying Life Cohorts, starting January 23: Learn how to get more praying in your doing through a 10-week prayer cohort, in which you gather with a cohort leader and 5 or 6 other committed cohort members online. Various times. 

Join us in making 2024 our most dependent year yet!

P.S. Fuel your heart for prayer by purchasing a “Fuel Pack” from our bookstore! The pack includes Praying Life and discussion guide, A Praying Church and discussion guide – and a free download of our 30 Days to a Praying Life video course.

Author: Liz Voboril