Impacting Cities & Communities thru Prayer
A Community of Prayer Champions, Praying Churches, Prayed-for Communities
Pray.Network Coordinator Phil Miglioratti interviews
Deborah Perkins, author of Life-Giving Prayer
Jacob, you notice immediately God’s blessings are specifically for families and for a nation, not
just for an individual. Those blessings apply to Christians who are “grafted in” to faith today as
well. But most Christians tend to both read and apply Scripture personally, not corporately,
and I believe this is (at least in the West) a function of our individualistic society.
As a result, we often pray alone, missing the corporate blessing of unity described in Psalm 133.
We don’t grow as much, since we aren’t prioritizing the gathering together of believers in God’s
Presence, except for Sunday mornings. We don’t really learn from others how to pray since
we’re mostly talking to God on our own. And then we wonder, after a while, whether God hears
us at all. We lose confidence and don’t show up for those corporate prayer meetings, and this is
a problem for the church because it minimizes the growth and impact we could have if the
church prayed together more.
The Bible is pretty specific about the fact that not only did the early Christians pray and meet
together in their homes daily, but as late as 70-95 AD, believers were expected to “encourage
one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” lest anyone be hardened through the
deceitfulness of sin.” (Hebrews 3:13)
Praying together is encouraging because it lets us know we’re on track. One of the neatest
things to me about prayer are the confirmations I get when I’m praying with a group. For
example, last Sunday I was asked to speak in a local church. During my personal prayer time,
there was a worship song that kept popping into my head, which I decided to pray for the
service. The words were: “Holy Spirit, You are welcome here. Come flood this place and fill the
atmosphere…” etc. When I arrived at the church and joined the pre-service prayer team, one of
the pastors began praying those exact words over the service: “Holy Spirit, we invite you to
flood this atmosphere with Your Presence!” I couldn’t believe it! (Pardon the unbelief!) But
that is how, sometimes, God encourages us to say that we DO hear Him and we are on track.
That confirmation bolstered my faith and filled me with joy, which is what Jesus says prayer is
supposed to do. You can’t get those confirmations unless you join with the Body of Christ in
corporate prayer and worship!
Many people feel “stuck” spiritually, simply because they aren’t sure if what they heard was
“from God” or not. I believe God is bigger than our mistakes and that He is more interested in
our success than we are. When we act on something we believe we’ve heard from Him, He isn’t
checking to make sure we did everything correctly; He’s looking at our hearts.
A Father whose son is beginning to walk doesn’t discipline the child when he takes his first,
wobbly step and then falls: He praises him! I believe that our heavenly Father has so much joy
when we step out in faith – because it is our faith and trust in Him that pleases Him, not our
perfection. He knows we’ll grow, and He knows that takes time. And as a loving Father, He is VERY interested in giving us the time we need to grow and become all He has destined us to
If you have children, you know that even one tiny step from your toddler fills you with such joy
and excitement, because that child is yours – in your image – and is beginning to look a lot like
you, walking and talking and growing into maturity. We should not be afraid to fail, either,
because like Peter who got out of the boat in faith but then sank in fear, Jesus will rescue us
from our less-godly moments!
“I know what needs to happen today, I’ve got a plan, and I don’t have time to pray.” We’re
letting our partial wisdom or life’s deadlines set our agendas instead of allowing God to set
I’m not perfect at this, but I know that when I ask God to show me what needs to happen each
day, things go much more smoothly. This week I planned to do some writing and prayer on a
Monday and tackle some errands and more active tasks on Tuesday. Our New England weather
forecast was for about an inch of snow on Tuesday, so I didn’t think anything of it.
On Monday morning when I sat down to pray, the Lord said: “Do your running around today
and go deep with Me tomorrow.” So I did. I ran the errands, did the family’s food shopping,
and took care of a million little things. When I woke up Tuesday, ready to write and pray, there
was not one inch but four inches of snow on the ground, and it was still coming down with gale
force winds! I was so very grateful that the Lord knew I’d prefer not to have to shovel and drive
around in that! He is omniscient, and our ways are easier when we follow His “GPS.”
based on the idea that we can tithe not only our money but also our time, and that
uninterrupted time alone with God can help us identify areas we need to improve and make
and action plan for spiritual growth. I like to do shorter, agenda-free prayer retreats every few weeks, but at least once a year I go deeper with God, asking questions like: “Where am I now? Where do I want to be? How will I get there? What is on God’s heart for me this year?” Finding God’s blueprints for your spiritual life can be empowering, especially when you invest in working on your weaknesses. Setting aside longer times of rest on a retreat also recalibrates our spirits, souls and bodies so that we are ready to serve Him for the long haul.
For those who struggle with being alone for extended times, or with more “sanguine”
(extroverted) personalities, making a commitment to join a prayer call or prayer movement can
be a good way to invest, too. Check out the events at Pray.Network, or follow this link to
download a free resource I created of praying organizations.
While I don’t always enjoy being partially deaf, I do feel sometimes that it is a “gift” that
enables me to concentrate better on God. One of the biggest prayer-killers for individuals and
churches is noise. Noise from our phones, noise from the radio, noise from the children, noise
from city streets. I didn’t realize how noisy the world really was until I was given hearing aids –
and it scared me at first! You don’t need to be deaf to hear God, but you do need to be more
intentional about turning off all the “noisy notifications” of life. Jesus said it this way: “Go into
your room and shut the door!” We need to close the door (read: turn off our phones) on
everything that distracts us when we want to pray, especially in this age of technology.
Noise isn’t the only problem. I wrote in my chapter on deafness that “the church is stressed
when the noise of our serving hinders the ease of our listening.” Intimacy, not service, is the
key to hearing God. Many churches are so busy with programs, lights, sound, kids’ church, etc.,
that they don’t leave much room for God to show up. Even churches that welcome prophecy or
pre-service prayer rarely devote more than a few minutes out of an hour to this. And it makes
me wonder: have we come to church to meet with God or to hear from each other? Only the
Words of God will change us.
noise, distractions, and our own agendas dull Your voice, though, and for that we ask Your
We pray You would rekindle in us a desire to connect with You and spend time in Your Word,
listening for Your whispers to our hearts. We pray for boldness not only to request miracles,
but also to just step out and act on the inklings and urgings you give us during our prayer
times. We believe You have divine appointments for us: people You want to bless as we act on
these Spirit-led impressions.
May our wobbly first steps bring You joy as we seek to imitate You and expand Your Kingdom!
Catch us when we fall, Lord, and reassure us that You are ever holding, ever guiding, ever
encouraging us into the kind of maturity that makes us a blessing to all the families of the