As we reflect on The Navigators Vision Statement, let’s consider what it means to be “fueled by prevailing prayer.”
After years of ministry with The Navigators, I appreciated pressing the pause button to take a much-needed sabbatical. During that time, I spent time reflecting on my two previous leadership experiences. I read through old journals, Bible studies, and even my calendars. One of my key takeaways was this:
Maintain a rhythm that includes times away with the Lord, times of rest and disengagement and time to think. The most important insights for leadership and strategy came in times away with God. The most critical things that happened in my ministry were supernatural and came in answer to prayer and faith.
Our Navigator vision affirms that a vital gospel movement is fueled by prevailing prayer. What is “prevailing” prayer? E. M. Bounds wrote,
Asking, seeking, knocking, are ascending rounds in the ladder of successful prayer. No principle is more definitely enforced by Christ than that prevailing prayer must have in it the quality which waits and perseveres, the courage that never surrenders, the patience which never grows tired, the resolution that never wavers.
Every time I've seen the gospel make a significant advance, I can tie it to sustained, prevailing prayer. When I was a new believer during my military days, a few of us would meet to pray in the basement of my barracks before going on duty. Many came to Christ during that time and grew to become Kingdom laborers. Over the years we met in early morning prayer groups in people's homes, in a chaplain's office, in our own living room, in a coffee house, and even out in the woods.
Now, I live near Mount Baker Ridge, a hill that I like to climb. From this hill I get a bird's-eye view of our neighborhood, the Seattle skyline, and the city of Bellevue. There's a coffee place nearby (this is Seattle, after all) and a bench. I've spent many hours there praying for my neighborhood and city, our nation, and the nations. I've prayed for many of our Nav Neighbors staff from that hill. Some of them have made that hike with me to the top of Mount Baker Ridge.
One time, we took fellow Navigators Vic and Lindy Black on that climb. Vic was leading The Navigators Prayer Ministry at the time, so I asked him to share his thoughts about the phrase in our calling, "fueled by prevailing prayer.” Vic said:
Prayer is coming into the presence of God. Or, you could easily argue that we are already in the presence of God! So, we could say that prayer is engaging in the reality that we are in the presence of God. . . . I encourage you to adjust yourself to the reality that you are in the presence of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Allow your prayers simply to be a response to this beautiful, powerful, and awe-inspiring reality.
I truly believe that we will not see anything substantial happen in ministry unless we become people of prayer, people who follow the admonishment to “ask big!” I spend some time in prayer every morning. I also set aside Tuesday and Sunday for prayer walking—usually an hour or more. And I schedule one or two days away with God each month (alternating between one day and two days away from month to month). Another habit I picked up from the military Navs was to set my alarm for 10:02 (Luke 10:2) to remind me to pray for laborers.
During a national Navigator staff conference in 1995, then Nav President Terry Taylor wheeled Lila Trotman, wife of the late Navigator founder Dawson Trotman, up front in her wheelchair. He turned her around to face the crowd. Terry asked her, “What would Daws think if he could see this?” Lila answered, “First of all, I think he can
see this. Second, he would not be surprised, because he prayed for this . . . and expected God to answer.”
For your consideration:
“Prayer is engaging in the reality that we are in the presence of God.” How might connecting with this truth affect your prayer life?
How have you seen God work in response to persistent prayer?
“Ask big!” What might this look like for you? Is there one “big” thing you could persistently ask God to do?
Al Engler is the director of Nav Neighbors. This is the second in his series reflecting on how The Navigators Vision Statement can be carried out in daily ministry. The series begins with Unpacking Our Vision: An Introduction. To contact him or learn more about his ministry, click here.