Why Prayer is Indispensable to ACSI President Larry Taylor

By: David Harding, ACSI Editor & Writer 

The Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI) is not a mere man-made institution. It exists because God moved in answer to the prayers of the men and women who founded the organization over 40 years ago. According to current President and CEO Dr. Larry Taylor, ACSI continues to carry out its mission as steadfastly as ever due in large part to the daily prayers of the staff, along with those of the organization’s members and supporters. These petitions range from simple words of thanksgiving to requests for wisdom and guidance by board members when they gather to discuss plans and goals for the coming years.  

To Taylor, prayer, both personal and corporate, is something that he enters with a “deep reverence.” He describes it as a “humbling” experience that fills him with awe. Taylor concedes that the entire idea of prayer—us coming before God and Him answering in ways beyond our imagination—is a mystery that we’ll never fully understand this side of heaven. But Taylor knows “through Scripture and personal testimony that (he) has a Lord and Savior who is interceding, and (he) has an opportunity to lay at (his) Lord’s feet daily with his prayers.” 

Talking with the Creator of the universe is a wonderful, mysterious event that His children can experience daily. Moreover, Taylor believes that as it is in his marriage, or in his relationships with his children, “communication brings people together.” He explained that he gets to “adore” his Father and build an intimate relationship with Him through prayer. “It’s a spiritual discipline that goes way beyond just a ritual or a routine.” 

Discerning God’s will sometimes proves to be challenging to believers, which is why it’s so important to have a reverent, intimate relationship with the Father. As Taylor explains, “Whether it’s a family, a school leader, a teacher, a board of trustees, or chairperson, it’s through prayer that we begin to die to self and let God increase to the point where we are discovering His agenda.”  

Taylor and the Board firmly believe that ACSI belongs to God; it’s His ministry, and He has called together a staff of people with unique gifts and abilities who can carry out the organization’s goal: To strengthen Christian schools and equip Christian educators worldwide as they prepare students academically and inspire them to become devoted followers of Jesus Christ. 

As ACSI ventures forth into a rapidly changing educational landscape—partially due to the after-effects of COVID-19—and looks to expand its global outreach, it's vitally important to Taylor that he and the Board seek the Lord’s guidance each step of the way. The discovery process of learning God’s plan for ACSI is the same as it would be for Taylor in his personal life: “It’s through prayer, being rooted in God’s Word and through the Holy Spirit, Who is moving … and ultimately, we have God’s agenda revealed.” 

“We have limited time here on earth,” said Taylor, “So I want to know what God’s will is for my life. But you apply that to the broader context of ACSI, and we need to seek God’s will for XYZ school or XYZ country. It’s got to come through prayer. It’s not going to come just through getting smart people together. I think it’s great that God’s gifted some people to put strategic plans in place—I think that’s needed—but it’s only going to be through prayer that man’s strategic plan is going to be God’s ultimate plan.”  

God has called all believers to be a part of the “Great Commission” (Matthew 28:18-20). For its part, ACSI has been tasked by God to spread the gospel message through its aim of building up Christian education around the world. Dr. Taylor, the Board, and the staff at ACSI are all in constant touch with God through prayer; petitioning the Lord is sewn into the fabric of the organization. ACSI will joyfully and enthusiastically continue to carry out its mission—as long as it’s in the Lord plans. 

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