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September 29, 2016

The Activeness of Prayer

By Daniel Im

Every month, Plus Members get video enhanced training from Ministry Grid on topics like leadership, ministry systems, residencies, multiplication, church planting, and multisite. In this Ministry Grid training video, Ellis Prince, Lead/Founding Pastor of the Gallery Church in Baltimore, MD, discusses prayer in an urban context. Watch the full training video here.

*Plus Members can watch this entire Video Training by logging in and clicking here.

The Activeness of Prayer 

I’m a list-oriented kind of guy. I like the satisfaction that comes from checking off my list and getting things done. If you’re like me, being such an active and results oriented person challenges my devotion to prayer. You may ask why? Because there’s a temptation to view prayer as a passive activity—especially in light of being able to see immediate results. This is why we must be aware of such temptation and remember that prayer is a proactive means to connect with God. Prayer helps us connect to our sovereign King who knows all, sees all, is over all, and is working to accomplish His plan in the world.

Ellis Prince, Lead and Founding Pastor of the Gallery Church in Baltimore, MD, reminds us of the importance and necessity of prayer in the latest Ministry Grid training video. In fact, Ellis states that prayer isn’t just an important thing, “Prayer is the most important thing we can do.” As a result, planters and leaders must silence the voices in their head or tune out the voices that would encourage the elevation of other activities of ministry over the most important thing in ministry, prayer.

In the training video, Ellis talks about two particular aspects of prayer: the importance of prayer and the characteristics of a devoted prayer life both applied to an urban context.

Prayer in an Urban Context

Prayer helps to solidify and sustain our calling to the city God is leading. Once God solidifies our call, prayer serves as a sustaining mechanism in the face of the toxicity and glamorous appeal of cities. As Ellis comments, on the one hand, cities contain a density of darkness where there’s constant temptation to sin on every street corner. On the other hand, cities contain pockets of affluence and luxury that appeal to our sensibilities and faculties. Thus, prayer helps to fight the temptation to cave into the sinful pressures of the city, while at the same time battling the skepticism of whether or not one can afford—especially with a family—to live in the city.

In addition, prayer seeks to connect us to the mind and activity of God by asking God for discernment and enlightenment where He is already at work. As Ellis points out, sometimes we forget that God has already been at work in the city long before we ever arrived. Thus, prayer helps us to be sensitive to where God may already be working in the city.

Furthermore, prayer helps remind us of the difference between our responsibility and God’s responsibility. Because our culture (and even Christian subculture) is highly pragmatic and results-based, there’s always a temptation to believe that we can manufacture fruit. However, anyone who’s served in an urban environment (or really any environment) understands that fruitfulness is a work of God done through the conduit of our faithfulness. As such, prayer reminds us of our responsibility to ask God to empower us to be salt and light in the city, so that God’s power, presence, and saving grace can be manifested through our demonstration and declaration of the gospel in the city.

Fruit is not our responsibility. Faithfulness to the call of God on our lives is. Jesus exclaims in Matthew 9:38, after telling His disciples the harvest in plentiful but the laborers are few, “Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” Laborers aren’t responsible for the growth of the harvest but the cultivation of the ground for the harvest to grow.

To read the final point of some of the characteristics of a devoted prayer life, click here for the full video and post.

This video is part of Plus Membership, so to get full access to it, and much more, I encourage you to become a Plus Member. Click here to see all the benefits of becoming a Plus Member.


  • Are you ever tempted to put prayer on the back-burner or see it more as a passive activity of your leadership?
  • Prayer is a proactive means connecting us to our King who knows all, sees all, is over all, & is working to accomplish His plan in the world.
  • Prayer isn’t just an important thing, “Prayer is the most important thing we can do.” @EllisPrince
  • Prayer helps to solidify and sustain our calling to the city.
  • Prayer helps remind us of our responsibility and God’s responsibility.
  • Three characteristics of a life devoted to prayer: Prayer rhythm, Prayer walking, Fasting @EllisPrince.


Daniel Im

Daniel Im (@danielsangi) is the Lead Pastor of Beulah Alliance Church, a multiplying multisite church focused on reaching 1% of Edmonton for Christ. His latest book is You Are What You Do: And Six Other Lies about Work, Life, and Love. He is also the author of No Silver Bullets and co-author of Planting Missional Churches. He co-hosts the New Churches Q&A Podcast, as well as the IMbetween Podcast. He has an M.A. in Global Leadership and has served and pastored in church plants and multisite churches ranging from 100 people to 50,000 people in Vancouver, Ottawa, Montreal, Korea, Edmonton, and Nashville. Because of their love for the local church, after pioneering and leading the church multiplication initiative for LifeWay, Daniel and his wife, Christina, moved back to Canada with their three children. For more information, visit danielim.com and follow him on social media @danielsangi.


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