Impacting Cities & Communities thru Prayer
A Community of Prayer Champions, Praying Churches, Prayed-for Communities
"Frankly, many of our churches lack heaven's blessings because they no longer devote the time necessary to prayer. Many churches have abandoned congregational prayer and even the pastoral prayer. When was the last time your pastor and the congregation spent a sustained amount of time in corporate prayer?"
"The prayer life of a typical Western church is anemic at best."
"The weekly evening prayer meeting has gone by the way of the dinosaur or has been replaced by programs. And when we finally get around to praying,we focus on everything but the things of the kingdom."
"Now is the time for pastors and the laity alike to transform their congregations into kingdom-driven churches. A good place to start is with prayer."
R. Alan Streett, Heaven on Earth (Harvest House)
It appears on the surface, that the prayer life of a typical Western church is anemic at best. Two excellent resources our church has used for our Wednesday evening prayer are the video series "Giving Prayer A Second Chance" and "Love to Pray". These will change your perspective, practice and persistence in prayer.
Maybe we need to focus on those who are committed to praying and inspire and equip them to pray big-Bible-promise prayers. What if we held no-request-list prayer meetings? Only scripture-based prayers could be prayed. With a prayer focus like that, 20 people have the potential of becoming a tipping point towards transforming a church that prays into a praying church.
phil--I agree I was going to respond to one who said only 20 of 400 show up. our group only has 6 to 8 faithful ones, and we have seen a lot of fruit in ten years. our main focus is on 3 scriptures
1-hab 2:14 that the earth or ? will be filled with his glory
2-luke 2:10 jesus, send more laborers in to the world or ?
3-phillipians 2:3 our ministry (prayer group) is great--but yours is greater--how can we pray for you.
we have been developing the same simple model for the seven spheres of Spokane county, and anticipate much fruit.
I think the most powerful element is in john 5:19 and 30----ask Jesus how to pray and respond accordingly
i sadly agree. Lord awaken your Church!
I DON'T HAVE KNOWLEDGE OF OTHER CHURCHES IN TERMS OF PRAYER HOWEVER, I WILL SAY THAT THERE SEEMS TO BE A DECLINE IN THE AREA OF PRAYER IN THE CHURCH I ATTEND. WE USUALLY HAVE THE SAME FAITHFUL MEMBERS WHO ARE REGULAR ATENDEES. WE ALSO HAVE A TELE PRAYER CONFERENCE GOING ON THREE DAYS OF THE WEEK AVERAGING BETWEEN 10 AND 16 ON ANY GIVEN DAY. AS FOR OUR PASTOR, I FIND HIM VERY DEDICATED TO PRAYER AND HIS FOCUS IS ALWAYS ON PRAYER AS WELL AS MOST OF THE LEADERS UNDER HIM. AS THE PRAYER COORDINATOR OF OUR CHURCH, I DO BELIEVE THAT IS NOT THE TIME TO GIVE UP ON PRAYER ESPECIALLY, COORPRATE PRAYER. IT IS THE HEART OF THE CHURCH AND THE MAIN SOLUTION TO WORLD PROBLEMS.
Willow Creek just went through a 6-week series on prayer, supported by a prayer curriculum for small groups based on Bill Hybels' book, Too Busy Not to Pray. Although it's too soon to gauge the results of the "campaign", I do know that literally hundreds of small groups across our campuses participated in the study. The combination of a series from the pulpit on prayer (it's been a while since we did that) and a small group initiative focused on prayer (I don't remember that ever happening in our church) has great potential to ignite a prayer awakening in our congregations. There are faithful pray-ers in all of our campuses, but I don't think it could be said of us that we're a "praying church" as a whole. Those of us who are involved in prayer as a ministry at Willow are praying that God will use this experiment as a catalyst for a renewed sense of dependence on him. By his grace, more to come!!
Phil, our pre-service prayer team has begun to use the Lord's Prayer as an outline for our prayers for the church. We don't do this every week - maybe about half the time - but we find that it gives us a basis for thinking in terms of kingdom prayers first, while still allowing us room to pray for specific needs (in the "give us this day our daily bread" part). I think that we're beginning to see these needs in the light of larger kingdom issues by praying this way, and the bulk of our prayer time is focused on what we believe God wants to do in our church and in our community. We're basing our outline loosely on Gary Hansen's "Kneeling With Giants", chapter 4, which is about how Martin Luther used to use the Lord's prayer as an outline for prayer. We just started this and we have a lot of room to grow, but I think it's going to be an effective practice for us.
Wonderful news, Andrew! Please share the stories as they unfold!
Could it be that the prayer life of a typical Western church is anemic at best because our theology can be characterized as a process of explaining why the Sermon on the Mount doesn't apply to us?
Interesting observation, Dennis - Can you elaborate a little on the Sermon on the Mount connection to weak prayer?
The Beatitudes are rarely taught in Western churches. And when they have been taught, more than likely people will hear that they are merely a collection of wise sayings which cannot not be taken literally because they are too unrealistic and can never work in the ‘real world’. Indeed, the whole Sermon on the Mount has been taken this way, to the extent that it is pretty much ignored by many Western Christians.
But as prophetic people we believe that just as Jesus spoke of his Kingdom coming in the here and now, we can choose to believe that Christ is currently turning the world upside down, making the most broken and the most vulnerable the most blessed by God.
It seems impossible to believe that’s happening now, yet our Commander-and-Chief said, “I am the way” (John 14:6). But every generation asks, “What does it mean to make love your aim? How do we cultivate a greater receptivity to God’s love and a greater response to the way of love?”
From earliest times, Christians have included the Beatitudes as one way to cultivate a greater receptivity to God’s love and a greater response to the way of love. Rather than seeing the Beatitudes as a collection of wise sayings, Christians view them as a “way” of life that leads us increasingly into Christlikeness. I share this view, even though it is difficult to describe it. But for now, think of it as a way that takes us ever closer into the mind, heart, and work of Christ. The Beatitudes are a kind of “battle” in our minds that enable us to rise into increasing Christlikeness, with this invitational pattern…. (Matthew 5:3-12)
(1) The Battle of Surrender (v. 3)—everything begins with abandonment.
(2) The Battle of Lament (v. 4)—before God, we always ‘mourn’ our sins.
(3) The Battle of Guidance (v. 5)—God direct the steps of the ‘meek.’
(4) The Battle of Holiness (v. 6)—understood as ‘hunger and thirst for righteousness.
(5) The Battle of Compassion (v. 7)—living as God’s ‘merciful’ people.
(6) The Battle of Singularity (v. 8)—’purity of heart is to will one thing” (Kierkegaard)
(7) The Battle of Reconciliation (v. 9)—being God’s ‘peacemakers’ in a warring world.
(8) The Battle of Suffering (v. 10)—’persecuted for righteousness’ sake.’
(9) The Battle of Joy (v. 11-12)—’rejoice’ even when it hurts; heaven is real.
I can only point you to these “battles” along the “way.” But taken together, they are one way to answer the question, “What does it mean to make love your aim?” And that is more than enough for now. Study them individually, but also collectively—and then pray, "Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven" (Matt 6:10). And do your part in bringing it to pass in the here and now. This is not a 'someday somehow' prayer? In heaven there's unity and oneness and honoring one another as you would honor the Lord. In heaven there's great joy because of that love and there is complete freedom because obedience is the only way of life in heaven. So shouldn't we be committed by the power of the Spirit and the grace of God to be people of blessings here on earth now? @MakeLoveYourAim
Good words, Dennis.
OK to post on a LOVE2020 site?
If so, what attribution line should I use?