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I'm on our church prayer team and a issue we have is getting more people excited about prayer and participating in prayer events.  For example, we are hosting a prayer vigil next week and nearly everyone who has signed up is much older.  However, a recent healing prayer service where individuals could request prayer for personal issues (physical, mental, or spiritual healing) was a packed house.  It seems we have a disconnect that people are more than willing to pray for themselves but not willing to pray for others.  Suggestions?

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Heya Leslie,
I wish I had some words of wisdom... but alas, I see our own church struggle with this issue. We used to have a prayer group that met once a week, and we would pray for specific issues, either our own, or the requests of others, we would pray for the ministries of our church, for our pastors, for our local and national government, etc. We would pray scripture, pray the names of God. There was rarely a night when we walked out of prayer group, NOT feeling overwhelmed by the presence of the Holy Spirit. The incredibly sad part of all of this, is that at no time were there ever more than 7 or 8 of us in that group. In a church that had a congregation of about 350-400 active members at that time, 7 or 8 was a dismal turn-out. I am really praying someone out there has some great ideas to help all of us!
Hi Leslie and Angela:
There are answers, I'm just not sure where they are. And sometimes, it's not always about a system or plan, but the moving of God's Spirit on His people.
You are not alone in your situation. It is a rampant problem everywhere I see, with so many Christians I know. It is sad and I think it breaks God's heart.
My church is so worried about the clock that they don't allow the Spirit enough time to work. Of about 450 people, about 15 show up. And then they break up into small groups so they don't go over time. What does the Bible say about corporate prayer? Isn't it when all the believers prayed and were in one accord that the people were filled with the Holy Spirit and the place where they gathered shook!? (Acts 4:23-31) If God is the same yesterday, today and forever, (Hebrews) then why wouldn't He do that for us NOW?
God forgive me for my failure and forgive your people for not seeking your face individually and COLLECTIVELY!
I know that when we had our prayer group before... not even our pastors came to it. That was probably the most discouraging part. Had our pastors, any of the FOUR gotten involved, maybe it would have shown our congregation our important prayer is, and encouraged them to get on board. Sometimes I think most of our involvement issues within the church boil down to lack of leadership. Are our leaders fully supporting and engaging in the ministries of the church? Are our leaders getting involved with the people, and seeking fellowship with them beyond the realm of a picnic dinner or cook-out? *sigh* I don't know. Sad to say the least.
Angela, I heard you in desiring leadership to be involved in prayer. So often our leadership gives lip-service to prayer and even sponsors events where they will pray for individuals, but they don't participate in other prayer events. A very wise leader in the prayer movement teaches that your church can never raise above the prayer level of your leadership. So, I keep praying for them.
Hi Leslie,

I lead our men's prayer ministry, Sons of Thunder. We have a number of opportunities for men to pray, I would love to share some of them with you, everything from an Under the Pulpit ministry to conference call praying. I will be speaking on this at 8:30pm (Eastern time) April 13th on a teleseminar, for details click here. It is free. I hope to have my speaking outline on the website tonight or tomorrow. God bless, and however I can be helpful, please let me know.
Hi Angela,

I jut read your note and wanted to encourage you. I know that we all want more people praying but your percentages are pretty accurate. We have 5000 (FBA.org) at our church and have about 100 men that show up the first and third Saturday of each month. Our percentages are pretty close to yours. I lead our men's prayer ministry, Sons of Thunder. And I will be speaking on this at 8:30pm (Eastern time) April 13th on a teleseminar, for details click here. It is free. I hope to have my speaking outline on the website tonight or tomorrow. God bless, and however I can be helpful, please let me know.

Angela Marshall said:
Heya Leslie,
I wish I had some words of wisdom... but alas, I see our own church struggle with this issue. We used to have a prayer group that met once a week, and we would pray for specific issues, either our own, or the requests of others, we would pray for the ministries of our church, for our pastors, for our local and national government, etc. We would pray scripture, pray the names of God. There was rarely a night when we walked out of prayer group, NOT feeling overwhelmed by the presence of the Holy Spirit. The incredibly sad part of all of this, is that at no time were there ever more than 7 or 8 of us in that group. In a church that had a congregation of about 350-400 active members at that time, 7 or 8 was a dismal turn-out. I am really praying someone out there has some great ideas to help all of us!
Leslie. Let me propose a different way to look at this. People need focus and purpose. The healing prayer service had both. The term 'Prayer Vigil' has neither. Whoever's promoting the vigil needs a clear understanding of what the outcome of the vigil will be and how the vigil will be done. These need to be clearly presented.

I know a pastor who began a successful 24/7 vigil by taking a whole worship service to walk the congregation through what they'd do in a one hour prayer vigil. He then passed out sign-up cards and they filled the vigil right then.

I don't know what size church you have, but I do know a 24/7 vigil requires a large congregation. I don't think that's what you're trying to do, but just be realistic.

Many years ago I started a prayer pilgrimage to find the will of God for the prayer life of the church where I was pastor. The first thing He taught me was that His people want to pray. He's proven that to me over and over, but most folks don't know how to pray very well and certainly don't know how to pray for even a half hour.

Hope this helps.
Lowell Snow
www.leadingprayer.com
prayer scares people i think. are younger people seeing prayer modeled any more? we used to see our grandparents on their knees. i confess, i don't model it well for my grandkids. we must start mentoring younger folk. grab them up and teach them. personally invite. our church just started a women's praise and prayer event. once a quarter. talk about it. put it on face book. whatever it takes to get the word out.
Dr. James Evans McReynolds

My congregation, First Christian Church, Weeping Water, Nebraska prayed for 100 days for 100 minutes each session in groups of three in our homes. We really got to know each other and our Lord.
This week we met to see what God was saying to our members. On November 7, we present three possible futures for our church--close, merge, and reaching more to the neighborhood. It is a critical time in our church. Praying has been a joyful spiritual journey for us.

Found this ...

 


Teaching group members to pray aloud affects much more than just the small group itself.

Jesus taught the disciples to pray. Shouldn’t we do the same?

I’ve been in ministry for 36 years now. An unforgettable ministry conversation took place Teach Your Small Group Members to Pray Out Loudone afternoon after our Sunday gathering of Christ-followers. One of the small group leaders at our church was speaking with me about the growth he was seeing in his small group members. I was already on the edge of my seat, but when he told me about one of the members who had prayed aloud for the very first time the week prior, I was trounced on by a dancing heart. And >>>

 

First Christian Church in Weeping Water, Nebraska prayed for 100 days for 100 minutes each session in groups of three persons.  The church had been declining for many years.

 

God's message to the people was to merge with another congregation and use the resources for greater ministry.

The spirit is alive and growing.  Dr. James E. McReynolds, minister, First Christian Church, Weeping Water, NE

That's a great article.  Seems like too often we think people are going to learn the basics of Christianity through osmosis or something, or we assume that everyone knows this stuff.  It's so exciting when people pray for the first time or when they feel a sense of mastery because they can find a verse or two in Scripture.  It's much like watching a child walk for the first time.

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