by Darren Kupke

About 10 years ago, Pastor Fred Veerhuis organised some NSW District gatherings and from one of these, a district intercessory prayer team was started.

As we became aware of various prayer needs of the district, they were shared via email with the team.

When Fred retired a few years later, he asked me to oversee this group. This continued, until we realised a glitch had deleted most of the email addresses we had. We would have to rebuild the list from scratch. At about the same time, the pandemic sent our ministries into survival mode, so this was postponed.

Later, Pastor Nathan Hedt invited me to join his Local Mission prayer group on Zoom. I received considerable encouragement and healing through this.

In mid-2022, a discussion with District Bishop Robert Bartholomaeus led me to consider my district roles and my giftings. I felt God prompting me to ask to be released from one district role and devote time into cultivating prayer ministry in the NSW & ACT District.

Bishop Robert was overjoyed. He had just finished reading Anatomy of a Revived Church by Thom S. Rainer. Rainer surveyed many churches that had nearly died but which God had revived.

While some things varied from church to church, there were seven key findings that were present in every case. One reason God revived all these churches was because they ‘committed to powerful prayer’.

He writes:

‘I have yet to see a sustained church revitalisation that was not undergirded by a powerful movement of prayer. … We have seen churches turn around for a brief season with a new methodology or a new emphasis. We have seen some churches reverse their negative trends briefly with a new pastor or dynamic staff member. But we have yet to see a sustained church revitalisation that was not undergirded by a powerful movement of prayer’ (Rainer 2020, p.59).

This renewed focus on prayer in the district has become a highlight for me and the bishop.

So far, two projects have helped cultivate prayers in our district.

Firstly, we have re-established a list of email addresses for district intercessors. This is used as certain specific prayer needs arise.

Secondly, each month I collate prayer points from those in our district prayer calendar. These are then shared with pastors, congregations, ministry leaders and intercessors in our district. This reminds them to pray and helps them to pray specifically. I continue to receive much positive feedback in this regard.

The next step is to cultivate the network between intercessors. I’m starting to gather a team to organise a gathering of district intercessors.

We believe God has placed intercessors in every congregation and we want to encourage them by gathering and praying together. I’m also exploring the best way for our district intercessors to connect and share insights and encouragement. As we commit to powerful prayer, may God revive our church.

Pastor Darren Kupke is Prayer Cultivator for the NSW & ACT District and serves the Lutheran communities at Temora, Trungley Hall and West Wyalong.

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