So, for the rest of the summer we will be taking a quick look at the 5 foundations of an Oikos (if you missed our last post on Oikos you can read it here).
This week – Number 1: Prayer! Obvious isn’t it:
If you want to build an extended family that is operating with a 3-dimensional lifestyle (UP/IN/OUT) then you need to be praying!
The challenge for most of us though, is how we make prayer a foundation of family life, rather than just engaging personally or with our prayer/accountability partner. These are important places to start, but as disciples we should be looking to build in a life of prayer at each level of family.
As we follow this Jesus-model of shared spiritual life in extended family, we start to see more of the Kingdom breaking in to family life. In our experience, prayer has hugely grown the level of accountability in an Oikos.
This is because as you join to pray for the needs and circumstances people are facing, you begin to walk with them on the journey to seeing breakthrough. This could be anything, from a small job that needs to get done, to a serious illness in the family.
All the needs of the family can be brought before God, no matter how large or small. Naturally, this also leads to a greater level of testimonies being shared, as people come to give thanks for what God is doing.
So, prayer is a great way to build up, encourage and envision those in your Oikos – but how does it work?
Something we encourage leaders to think about is the balance between structured and spontaneous times of prayer. All living things need some level of structure to support growth – you will see this in every organism. The Body of Christ is no different. Neither is your Oikos! Structure brings rhythm and routine that helps us to thrive.
At 3dm UK, our Oikos has a daily, weekly and monthly rhythm of gathered prayer that we grow our shared spiritual life around. It forms the basis of how we deepen our accountability and spiritual support of one another. It’s also good fun!
Where are the regular slots in your day , week or month when you can gather to pray as family/oikos?
Do people know where they can ‘opt in’ and join you?
Helpful rhythms and routines usually pave the way for greater levels of spontaneous prayer. Once those in your Oikos start to engage in a lifestyle of prayer together, you will start to see it happening at all kinds of places and times! Whether its over coffee, in response to a situation that has arisen or just because they want to, in spontaneous times of prayer family members will be drawn deeper in relationship as they connect with Him who is at the Head of the family.
Another practical lesson we have learnt is sharing information and taking the time to communicate with others.
How often do you share prayer requests with those you are wanting to grow extended family with?
Sometimes, this may feel like a step of vulnerability, but vulnerability is what builds relationship. Whether this is in person, by phone, email, text or whatever, taking the time to intentionally involve others in your personal/family prayer life is key to growing Oikos.
What does your prayer life look like as an extended family?
What are the challenges for you as you look to grow this lifestyle?