5 Questions with Jim Cymbala

Jim Cymbala
Author, Pastor 
Brooklyn Tabernacle
Interview conducted at Eastern Hills Wesleyan Church by Kyle Patterson.

Tell me about the House of Prayer mentality? The burden that is in my heart is to encourage pastors. There are many areas where we all fail as James says and stumble and we aren't doing it exactly as we need to. As I talk to pastors one of the things that does come up a lot is pastors tell me, “I am preaching the word, it’s doctrinally right, we’ve got good health we’ve got good music but there isn’t a real spirit of prayer as we see in the New Testament so what do you think about that?” If I preach on that it seems to resonate. So it’s not like I am telling people to make your model into a house of prayer because I don’t know what that looks like. I think it looks different in each church. I think we can all agree as Christian leaders that there has to be a real return to prayer and calling on God because look at all the promises that are connected.
Is there a place for regional prayer gatherings?  It seems in the Bible it is always right to be praying. Whether you pray within the church, minister all alone or cross denominationally, it’s all very good.
You mentioned prayer as a outward symbol of people’s spiritually maturity, what do you mean by that? Usually it (prayer) can be linked to the  spirituality of the people to practice prayer because we know it is probably the highest spiritual discipline. Pastors, I think need to preach more and more effectively on God’s promise about prayer so that the people through the Spirit and the Word get an appetite for it. Like, “Yeah I’ve complained, I felt bad, I called my aunt, my uncle, I complained, I felt sorry for myself, hey, I didn’t pray about this.” It seems like it’s simple and basic but we know sometimes we do everything but pray. 
You mentioned your story about  starting your church and your first week’s offering was $85, how did you persevere when ministry wasn’t easy? By the grace of God.
What advice would you give someone today? Mark 3. He called them that they may be with him. You have to spend time with the Lord so your batteries can get recharged, that your faith can be built up. He is the God of all comfort the Bible says who comforts us in all our troubles. You have to be with him to let that comfort be effectual. You preach, you pray, you plod. At the beginning there was a lot of plodding and there still is. God gave me grace to do it one more day because you don’t see changes overnight, you have to keep at it and at it and at it.  So he is the God who gives us perseverance so we just have to go to the throne of Grace because, "God we not only need mercy I need the grace of perseverance so I don’t quit.” I tried to quit twice and he blocked me. I got so discouraged. Really, there is no other formula that I know of.