• Will Spink
    Senior Pastor
  • Wyketa Shipman
    Executive Assistant
  • Ron Clegg
    Associate Pastor, Discipleship
  • Shannon Clark
    Administrative Assistant
  • James Parker
    Chief Musician
  • Peter Render
    Assistant Pastor, Youth/Families
  • Christine Betts
    Assistant Director, Youth/Families
  • Ty Commons
    Youth & Families Intern
  • Kim Delchamps
    Administrative Assistant
  • Derrick Harris
    Assistant Pastor, Shepherding & Young Families
  • Angela Sierk
    Director, Children's Ministry
  • Niña Banta Cash
    Director, Nursery
  • Robert Blevins
    Director, Community Development
  • Janice Crowson
    Director, Facilities/Finance
  • Daniel Brown
    Print & Digital Media Specialist
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Core Commitments: Dependence and Prayer

Core Commitments: Dependence and Prayer

We recognize our deep dependence and need for prayer.
We are a community constantly dependent upon God both individually and corporately. In fact, this is a large part of what it means that we must continually experience grace ourselves. Our relationship with God is one where we remain desperately needy and He remains gloriously sufficient – we repent and He forgives; we depend and He provides. Because God is committed to seeing his kingdom advance, we don’t merely pray for the work of the church; rather, prayer is the work of the church. Prayer is weak people prevailing upon a strong Father to do mighty things in, through, and in spite of us. – Matthew 6:9-13, Luke 18:1-8, I Samuel 1, Acts 2:42, Psalm 71, Ephesians 6:10-20, James 5:16

At an early age my parents taught me that “if you read your Bible and pray every day, you’ll grow, grow, grow.” Come to think of it, though, they said the same things about eating my vegetables, doing my homework, and practicing piano. It was easy for me as a kid to categorize prayer as one of those things I was supposed to do, but I always felt I’d also be OK without praying – just as I would make it through the day without broccoli.
I was fairly self-confident and independent, capable and resourceful – and thus at least a bit hypocritical when it came to prayer. I talked about praying way more than I prayed. Mercifully, what God has done as I’ve grown older – and especially in the past couple of years – is help me to see more of how desperate and dependent I truly am. He’s shown me weaknesses and inadequacies I wasn’t aware of. He’s shown me failures and needs I didn’t want to acknowledge. And at the same time, He has allowed me to see more of how faithful and capable He is.

I still want to do great things for the kingdom. We still want Southwood to be a church that proclaims the name of Christ to all people and storms the gates of hell for King Jesus. But becoming a prayerful church happens when we realize God’s commitment to that mission and his power to accomplish it are exceedingly greater than our own. When we actually pray, we bow the knee to the King to acknowledge that He is the capable, resourceful, independent one who nonetheless loves us and delights to engage us in his kingdom work.

Prayer is presented in the Bible as a weapon in the arsenal of God’s people not because they are a mighty army in themselves but because in prayer they prevail upon a mighty King who fights for them. When you see a weakness in your church, do you tend to despair, complain, or pray? When you see the brokenness in the world, do you tend to despair, critique, or pray?

If there’s one thing that must happen for God’s kingdom to advance through us, it is not church growth, it is not good programs, it is not preaching about prayer; it is actually praying – humbly bowing and pleading for the King to hear us and speak to us and act for us.

Perhaps that children’s song about reading the Bible and praying every day is a little simplistic or can even be taken to be a little moralistic. But it’s also full of simple truth. One of the things Church History teaches us, is that when the Spirit of God brings revival to a church, a community, or a country, it is almost always accompanied by a renewed commitment of God’s people to the Bible and to prayer. Simple perhaps? Yes, but profound when people grasp their truly desperate dependence on a truly great God.