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LIBERTY UNIVERSITY

PRAYER: THE TIMELESS SECRET OF HIGH-IMPACT LEADERS BY DAVE EARLEY A READING REFLECTION

A PAPER SUBMITTED TO DR. KENNEDY ADARKWA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR
THE COURSE EVAN 670

LIBERTY BAPTIST THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY

BY ELKE SPELIOPOULOS

DOWNINGTOWN, PENNSYLVANIA FRIDAY, JANUARY 27, 2012

CONTENTS

INTRODUCTION ...................................................................................................................... 1 ABOUT THE AUTHOR............................................................................................................. 1 SUMMARY ............................................................................................................................... 2 EVALUATION AND CRITIQUE .............................................................................................. 4 PERSONAL APPLICATION ..................................................................................................... 5 CONCLUSION .......................................................................................................................... 5 BIBLIOGRAPHY ....................................................................................................................... 7

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INTRODUCTION For many believers, especially those that are relatively immature in their faith, prayer happens just in time, which usually occurs when he or she has reached a place where it is deemed important, such as when a family member is in critical health condition or prior to an airplane taking off. For the more mature believer, prayer may happen on a more regular basis, but it still is very much focused on what God can do for the believer, such as Lord, save my brother! Prayer lengths may increase as the believer grows in his relationship with the Lord, but many other spiritual disciplines are easier to integrate into daily life than prayer, e.g. daily Bible reading or corporate worship. As Dave Earley shows in his impactful book Prayer: The Timeless Secret of High-Impact Leaders, prayer in the life of a spiritual leader is not just a nice-to-have, but it is instrumental to the health and success of his or her ministry, in fact it is what propels the ministry to a level that truly glorifies and honors God. Earley tells many stories about how prayer has shifted the course of men, women, and the events that surround them. Through this, he derives nine important prayer discipline principles that are practical and applicable for spiritual leaders around the globe. ABOUT THE AUTHOR Dave Earley is the chairman of the Department of Pastoral Leadership and the Director of the Center for Pastoral Leadership at Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary, where he also serves as the director of the Lovett Center for Ministry Training and the Liberty Center for Church Planting at Liberty University. He has written a number of books on prayer and small group leadership and successfully planted New Life Church of Columbus, Ohio, which he pastored for

many years and saw tremendous growth in attendance from 12 to 2,000. Earley is currently preparing to plant a church in Las Vegas, Nevada.1 SUMMARY Earley lays out nine prayer discipline principles for high-impact Christian leaders, which he derives from Scripture and which he thoroughly supports with stories of well-known leaders both within Scripture and throughout the history of Christianity. The book is divided into ten chapters on valuing the power of prayer, making time to pray, praying for those you serve, training others to pray for you, turning problems into prayer, fasting and praying, possessing a bold faith, building on the basics, adopting best practices, and putting it all together. The first chapter, Valuing the Power of Prayer, sets the proverbial stage by sharing a sobering statistic that the average pastor in North America spends a mere seven minutes a day. Earley points out that not only is prayer the most important task of the spiritual leader, which shows up on every level of Christian leadership, but it also is the most influential activity for a Christian leader, which Earley highlights through a number of men who changed the world for God through prayer. Christian leaders may believe that prayer cannot possibly be fit into an evertighter schedule, but as Earley demonstrates capably, prayer actually saves the leader time as God answers in a very brief period of time what would have taken proportionally much larger amounts without His intervention. Not only can the leader save time, but prayer is omnipresent, meaning one need not be physically in the same location. It is often the determining factor, which Earley shows through biblical examples. It provides insights as God shares with us what will give us a fresh perspective. Finally, without prayer, God will not act, highlighted by a study Pastor David Jeremiah did of Scripture, yet prayer serves as our greatest spiritual weapon.
Dave Earley, Prayer: The Timeless Secret of High-Impact Leaders (Chattanooga, TN: Living Ink Books, 2008), Back cover of book.
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In the second chapter, Make Time to Pray, Earley focuses on the time Christ spent in prayer to highlight to his readers that even the Lord Himself took much time to pray to God the Father. The remaining chapter focuses on establishing a daily prayer time and determining the time and place to pray. The third chapter, Pray for Those You Serve, takes the focus off the praying leader praying for him- or herself and instead refocuses it on those a leader actually is tasked with leading. Earley highlights the effects intercession has had in the past in various settings. The forth chapter, Train Other to Pray for You, establishes the need for prayer partners who will cover a leader with prayer as they are preparing to execute on tasks at hand. Again Earley uses his storytelling skills to share several stories of giants of the faith who through the prayer cover by their prayer partners were able to fulfill the challenge at hand and achieve larger than expected results for the Lord. Turn Your Problems into Prayer is the title of the fifth chapter, which calls the reader to allow everything that is going on in their lives to find its way to God through prayer. Whether in long prayers or in short intense pleas for help, the believer can carry his concerns to his heavenly Father. Earley underlines how many times in Scripture prayers for help are recorded, and the list is an impressive one to ponder.2 Chapter six, Fast and Pray, develops the concept of a renewed approach to fasting in the believers life. Earley offers a twenty point Why Fast? section3, which documents well from Scripture how fasting was the answer of a believing person or nation. Earley does not leave the reader without a practical section on how to fast.4 Possess a Bold Faith, the title of chapter seven, hints at the need for boldness in the readers prayer life. Again, Earley develops this concept well
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Ibid., 78-79. Ibid., 95-98. Ibid., 107-8.

based on Scripture and anecdotes from Christian history. He points out that boldness in prayer involves asking specifically and big. Chapter eight, Build on the Basics, expands on the how of prayer. Earley proposes the ACTS model (adoration, confession, thanksgiving, supplication)5, yet modifies the model by suggesting that thanksgiving can lead the praying leader into the other areas more rapidly. In chapter nine, Adopt Best Practices, Earley proposes the development of prayer best practices and suggests taking prayer retreats to seek God for an extended period of uninterrupted time.6 Earley also suggests prayer walking to discreetly impact a neighborhood or city. Finally, chapter ten, Putting It All Together, provides prayer life inventory, assessment, application, and goal tools to allow the reader to pull everything together. EVALUATION AND CRITIQUE This book fills a gap in theological education. By focusing on the importance of prayer, Earley wants to prepare spiritual leaders to impact the world around them. Yet, in the world of theological books, this could have been a very dry and theoretic review of applicable passages from Scripture, from which Earley could have built a principle framework to pass along to leaders. What Earley does instead is successfully remind his readers of the power of books such as Schaeffers LAbri. In this narrative, Schaeffer captivatingly described the work of God in his ministry through stories, which were so riveting that they compelled the reader to turn page after page until finally he was convicted that nothing but this type of surrender can ever promise to yield the true Christian life and relationship to a Creator God. Earley very capably uses story-telling to make point after point and to build principles, which are not only Scripture-based, but which have resulted in God-ordained and blessed ministries by Christian leaders in the centuries and decades before. He ties this in tightly with
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Ibid., 130. Ibid., 158-60.

Scripture support, making the stories all the more palpable and applicable to not just the Bible characters, but to modern man living in the 21st century. The tools Earley provides allow the reader to step back from identifying with the initial statistics and allowing him or her to design a plan to change this most important aspect of their Christian walk. Earley drives home the point in his book with less than 200 pages that without a prayer life that is consistent, bold and persistent, the Christian may not have much of a true relationship with the One he or she calls Lord and Savior. PERSONAL APPLICATION Rarely has a book compelled this author to action the way Earleys book has. His stories tell such a convincing story of the power of God in a leaders life if the leader is yielded to Him through prayer and fasting an aspect that Earley highlights in one of his chapters, but which he clearly sees as an important element of a powerful prayer life. Understanding the elements of ACTS, while this was intellectually acknowledged before, has taken on a new and fresh meaning that will impact this authors prayer life moving forward. There is a freshness to prayer that Earley has brought about that brings the desire to be in such an intimate relationship with God, rather than thinking of prayer as a needed, but somewhat tedious spiritual discipline, especially as answers seem to be lacking so often. Earley has raised this authors renewed hope in the power of prayer by showing how seriously God takes our fervent prayer if we are also serious about building a relationship to Him, rather than just asking for things we want. CONCLUSION Earleys book on nine prayer principles for high-impact leaders will have an impact on Christian leaders who are serious about their ministries, but who may not have seen the power of Gods work in these ministries. His stories bring about a change of mind how God wants to work

in the lives of men and women who use this communication channel to speak with the God who created them and who desires to bless them in their work for Him. By the time the reader has finished this book, there is nothing he or she will probably want to do than to go sit with the Lord and put into practice these marvelous tools given by Dave Earley. Because Earley has taken the time to give the reader both Scripture backing and Christian history support, the reality of the importance of prayer has sunk deeply into the readers mind, and undoubtedly the desire to grow such an intimate relationship with the Lord has grown exponentially.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Earley, Dave. Prayer: The Timeless Secret of High-Impact Leaders. Chattanooga, TN: Living Ink Books, 2008.