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Prayer. It’s one of our ten ministry commitments. It’s the expression of our dependence on God, the privilege of our adoption as sons and daughters, the bold access we have to God’s throne, the power ordinary people have to move God’s mighty hand, the worry killer, and the unceasing activity of the obedient Christian. Yet for something so essential, it’s also something we struggle to do meaningfully and consistently. I know that in part because I know me. It seems like my prayer life flounders when I don’t consider why I should pray and how.

Ephesians 4:11 and 12 tell us, “And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ.” In God’s wisdom, He planned for His leaders in the church to be equippers and for every saint to do the work of the ministry. Far from a recent development in church theory or a nod to the success of grassroots political movements or a scheme of the latest church growth fad, every member ministry lies at the heart of God’s plan for His church.

Have you ever heard someone else (or yourself) saying something along these lines: “I just don’t click with that person. We don’t gel well. He just has a personality I don’t like. She’s sort of annoying. We’re so different. We just don’t have anything in common.” Reality is that we don’t get along easily with everyone we know. Some people irritate us with their mannerisms or habits. Maybe they strike us as odd or make conversations awkward. Sometimes those people are family members, and sometimes those people are church family members. So if we are all fellow citizens, and members of the same family, and parts of the same building, how can we relate to people we don’t naturally like or enjoy or mesh with?