Church history is full of the blunders of corrupt men dealing with lust for power and earthly glory. But on the other hand it is filled with "reformers" or those who want to restore the "faith that was once handed down to us" by the Apostles. People throughout history have debated over the issues of Apostolic Succession and who is really "right" in their worship. Its interesting to note that every time there is a major reform it always seems to be in response to a church who became filled with wealth, power, and gross immorality. Nearly every time this response was to return to imitate the life of Jesus and the Apostles by forsaking glory and power and wealth in this age and returning to a life of taking up the cross and following in the footsteps imitating Christ and His apostles.
In nearly every story I have read when a movement of people begin to seek to try to imitate the life of Christ it becomes a call back to prayer and a call back to missions. Some of the movements emphasized one over the other like some of the monastic movements who overemphasized personal prayer and inward sanctification above the call to go and disciple the nations. My favorite early story is the one of St. Francis who was a radical divergence in his day from the normal standards of power and wealth of clergy and the solitude of the monastic orders. Francis blended the expressions of prayer and personal holiness with missions in the effort to truly return back to the Apostolic example of being a disciple of Jesus.
Many times cultural norms are complicated and hard to overcome when asking what does it look like to follow Jesus in this generation. But the truth of scripture thunders through the ages! When people have access to read the bible in their own language and they seek to live out a Christian life from the pages of holy writ those souls will move more and more towards a life of both personal prayer and holiness matched with the call the preach the Gospel to all the world. I pray that we can be a people who live a life worthy of the Gospel by also returning to the biblical call of discipleship. Prayer and Missions are both intrinsic to the soul who has been gripped by the Holy Gospel. May this generation be the generation that rises up to effectively love and evangelize the 1.8 billion Muslims all over the earth.