Provide the right environment, and growth happens.

For my four children–all now teens and young adults–growth is natural. As long as their mom and I provided the right conditions–good nutrition, a safe environment, opportunities for exercise, as well as schooling, spiritual disciplines, the power of example, and so forth–we knew growth would be automatic. Lack of growth would have meant something was terribly wrong.

The early church grew and grew and grew. Growth was natural for them because all the conditions for growth were right. They were the body of Christ, and that body was, and is, made to grow. The Book of Acts shows what those conditions were. Acts 2:42-47 summarizes the rest of the book; they were a learning, worshiping, praying, sharing, unselfish church. “And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”

It’s fascinating to see how often prayer is mentioned through Acts. The disciples joined together constantly in prayer (1:14). In fact, there was a regular time of prayer at 3 p.m. (3:1). Luke records the powerful prayer of the believers and reports that the place where they were meeting was shaken and then the believers began to preach the word of God boldly (4:23-31). And, of course, Paul and Silas prayed and sang hymns to God in prison (16:26).

When we pray, we are taking things out of our own hands and putting them in God’s hands. It is God’s power, not our own strength that will build His church.

Do you want your group(s) to grow? Do you want to fulfill Jesus’ commission for you? Do you want to reach people who do not know Jesus? Do you wish to see real transformation? None of this will happen without prayer. 
It’s time to pray! 
__________________

This is #5 in a series I’m calling “Small Group Fireplaces.” Read the first four here:
Your Small Group Can Be a Fireplace (but it’s not the fire)
Small Group Fireplaces Series: #2 – Leaders Pray
Small Group Fireplaces Series: #3 – Groups Pray

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Michael Mack has been involved in small group ministry as a pastor, writer, trainer, and speaker for more than 25 years. He founded SmallGroups.com in 1995 and started Small Group Leadership in 2012. He became the 12th editor of Christian Standard magazine in 2017 and continues to speak in churches about small groups, discipleship, and leadership. He lives in Pewee Valley, Kentucky (just outside Louisville), with his wife Heidi. They have four young adult children. Michael enjoys mountain and road biking with a group of friends. See the "About Michael Mack" page under About Us for more about him.

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