I believe that the revolutionary Sunday School class exists to serve our Lord in our community and world. The class gathers together to learn and then mobilizes to practice what has been learned in the world. The class seeks to make an eternal difference in the lives of others.
I want to challenge you to ask yourself these questions: (1) In what ministry or service could my class become involved that would impact lives in the community or world? (2) In what ministry or service could my class become involved that would attract our community to God, the church, and my class? (3) I began reading Ed Stetzer and Mike Dodson’s book, Comeback Churches, today. Allow me to redirect to the class one of their haunting questions for the church: “if your [class] closed its doors today, would anyone but its own members notice” (p. 5)?
Into that context, I believe some classes should become known for prayer, for experiencing “a fresh touch from God,” and for changing “from the inside out.” When classes do so, the community will “notice that something special was happening” (p. 16). One way this could be done would be for classes to invest in contract prayer.
Now, what is contract prayer? Cecil Murphey wrote an article entitled Contract Praying. In the article, he describes struggling as pastor with what to do about prayer requests until he asked one woman two questions: “specifically what [do] you want me to pray about and how long [do] you want me to pray?” He then wrote down the name, request, and end date. In a nutshell, that is contract prayer. He asked her to report at the end of the requested time period so he could know what happened or so she could ask for an extension. After that experience and instituting contract prayer, he began praying daily through the index cards of requests, and people began to realize he would take seriously their request to pray.
What if your class or a group within your class undertook such a ministry? What if the class sought to know God more deeply through prayer? What if class members “contracted” or covenanted with people to pray for and with them? What if the class invested in contract prayer? What if the class not only said they would pray, but they actually did pray? What if the class became known for praying for the needs of others? What if God moved in the lives of the class and the people their prayers touched?
I know it will sound glib, but I invite you to pray about it. Be revolutionary!