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What prayer topics/groups would get "regular folk" praying at your church?

If you wanted to get a critical mass of folks praying around a single topic, what topic would draw the most interest and participation in your church? Or to put it another way, if you were going to offer one prayer group around a single theme, which theme would the folks at your church most likely gravitate toward (including folks who don't ordinarily involve themselves much in prayer)? I'm interested in peoples' FELT NEEDS not in what you as a prayer leader or intercessor might most want them to be praying about.


• Praying for adult children
• Praying for people with long term illnesses
• Praying for our country
• Praying for the military
• Praying for marriages
• Praying for the unsaved
• Praying for our church
• Praying for our schools
• Praying for God's work around the world
• other
• other
• other

I'd love to hear your thoughts.


Cynthia Bezek

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I think it is going to be different in every church. Those who would not regularly think of praying wih others over something, will only come to group prayer over desperation. The key in any congregation is to rally prayer around any "depserate" situation that presents itself: the major illness of an infant or child in the congregation; something painful that has happened in the community (driving accident among teens, etc.). Beyond those things it is difficult to get many people to pray. The next thing is to look for common ground issues. Do you have a lot of parents of soldiers? A prayer group to pray for military might be good -- though it won't draw many more beyond the parents. Pick the biggest comon ground issues and develop pray for them. A much loved pastor might be able to draw men to pray for him, and so on.
The test of time would indicate that illness is the felt need that consistently draws people to prayer. Many churches have mid-week prayer services that have been ongoing for decades and the primary focus of these is to pray for the sick.

I don’t feel that illness is the primary Biblical mandate for prayer, but it seems to be the reality.

Hope that helps.
Lowell Snow

I don't think that a sustainable prayer movement in any church can be built around an event or need. Even if the congregation rallies around the topic, once the immediacy of the need passes, so does the felt need for prayer.

This question is unknowingly at the heart of the prayerlessness problem in many churches. Too many American Christians (across all denominations) have the idea that heaven is some kind of supernatural vending machine. If I put in the right currency, formula or quantity of prayer, then I will be rewarded with the solutions to the problems, answers to questions, or fulfillment to the needs present in my life. This shallow approach to prayer is systemic, and a cultural paradigm that is unbiblical and in the long run contributes to the unsustainability of event or a "felt need" approach to prayer.

Prayer is, first and foremost, a time of intimate vulnerability with God. We must come to Him on his terms, which, like Abraham and Isaac, means laying down our most prized possessions on the altar. For Abraham, that prize was the fulfillment of God's promise, the answer to his prayer. For Isaac, he was asked to lay down his entire life, and put it into his father's hands. Genuine, and sustainable prayer, leads the participants into this kind of experiential relationship with the Almighty God.

After we encounter a loving God, we cannot help but see our own unpreparedness, unworthiness. Because we are not able to earn this transformational encounter, the power and value of Jesus sacrafice for our sins is elevated. In all the ways we could not earn the right to encounter God, He prepared for, and invited us to join Him. As a result, intimate prayer transforms us, and rightly breaks down the barriers between our tendency toward self will and a promotes a surrendered, heartfelt connection to the Almighty.

In short, what I am saying is that a self willed approach to the Almighty is, as Isaiah said, "my (self) righteousness which is as filthy rags." Sustainable, and transformational prayer approaches God for Who He is, not for what we can get out of the deal.

I think God allowed you to write the words of His heart from your keyboard.

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