A Community of Prayer Champions, Praying Churches, Prayed-for Communities

Small or large, charismatic or evangelical, liturgical or contemporary ...

Every congregation is called to be a house of prayer for all nations (Isaiah 56:7) ...

It has also said that every church prays but not every church is a praying church ...

So we ask,

  • What are the characteristics of a praying church?
  • What were the steps or stages in becoming a praying church?
  • How has a prayer culture become more highly valued in small groups, study classes, ministry meetings?
  • Who has the Lord used as a champion of prayer in your church?
  • Which resources provided insight and/or ideas?

Join the conversation below - -

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I have read lately , that using lists is not the way to pray. We have a small mid town church that has penetrated the worst neighborhood in town with children riding my wife's van to Sunday school at Truth . Each child is prayed for and with weekly . In. Our weekly bulletin we list names for prayer / we have a prayer breakfast monthly , where it is not a formality , but a church work session as we go over each name , some for years , make additions , corrections , removals . The prayer ministry opens doors for visitation and peso al ministry . .....prayer breakfast praying ....

Love your story - may God continue to bless your prayers and keep answering those prayers into the lives of the people you are praying for!

My take on list praying:

  • For many intercessors, this is the most effective way to present their requests to the Lord
  • To me, list-praying becomes less effective in corporate settings
  • Corporate settings need to be dynamic, Spirit-led conversations that allow one topic to be fully developed by several pray-ers and perspectives before moving on to the next name or item on a list
  • When I lead a corporate prayer experience, I think of segments that each have a general focus, rather than a single list. As we pray, different pray-ers offer distinct aspects on the same person or their need.
  • For me, list praying tempts me to simply recite names and needs and present them as if I am informing God ... and I find around-the-circle, down-each-list praying stops at the precise point where the Spirit begins to reveal us new or fresh insight into how to pray.

"For and with" ~ AMEN!

I believe it has helped our church to be known as a praying chuch because at the end of each Sunday's service, the offer is made for anyone in the congregation to go to the front of the sanctuary to meet with a member of the prayer team. It is comforting to know people are willing to pray when needed. I have never been in another church which so openly offered to meet prayer needs.

Dr Hughes and Phil, thanks for sharing your experiences. They are insightful and honest. 

A number of years ago, as an outgrowth of our Men's Prayer Ministry, a group of men agreed to assemble in a small space behind the pulpit to pray during each worship service.  Throughout the service these groups of 5-6 men pray for what is occurring at that moment in the Worship Center, for the needs of various ministries, for the needs of the church staff and their families, and for the work of the Holy Spirit within the congregation.  Our Senior Pastor has commented about how he can feel the power of our prayers manifested in his preaching.  I believe this Under The Pulpit ministry has also been a key factor in sustaining a prayer focus throughout the church.  Several small corporate prayer teams have been formed since the establishment of the UTP ministry.

I would say that when you see answered prayers and people lives being transformed. I think the step or stages would be for me a heart that pleases God, that we seek him in spirit and in trusth .  I prayed that my church would become a more house of prayer.

Thank you for your tnoughts "

Dr. Charles Hughes
Pastor for Prayer

I hope this isn't too off-topic, but I'd like to ask a question of the group.  As background, I would say that our church would not be characterized as a praying church.  Our leaders certainly pray and value prayer, and I'm sure many people in the church have strong prayer lives.  But as a church, we don't emphasize prayer that much.  

I think a part of our issue is that when we encourage people to ask for prayer, we tend to (unintentionally, I think) portray prayer as a "crisis management tool".  Are you sick?  Come for prayer.  Lost your job?  Come for prayer.  Family problems?  Come for prayer.

I certainly believe in praying for the areas in which people are struggling, but we're not great at getting people to see prayer as more than just a "fix my life" sort of exercise.  We struggle, I think, to get people to see prayer as a deeper relationship with God, with discerning and responding to God's heart, seeking his will and work in our lives, etc.

So my question is this:  For anyone whose church is good at doing this, how do you encourage people to seek prayer (and to pray themselves) around God's deeper work in and through their lives?  How do you get your congregation past the "crisis management" view of prayer?  What means do you use, and how do you word your offers to pray for people?

Thanks for anything you can share!

I hope many reply, Andrew, to your insightful question.

Tomorrow (a Sunday) I preach/teach at a church in the city (Chicago) and the pastor is taking what I believe is an extraordinary step to saturate as many members as possible with a passion for more than "crisis" prompted praying.

He has asked everyone to come for the entire morning. I will preach at both services but with a different message each time (more teaching/equipping than preaching).

In between the two services, we will lead a prayer session ... Sunday morning will be more seminar than sermon; worship but also workshop.

Our hope and prayer is that instead of 20% coming to an additional meeting, 80% of the congregation will have experienced the same prayer adventure.

I am hoping for the Lord to anoint and appoint prayer champions for every family, ministry, class and group.

Bravo to this pastor!

Praying for you this morning, Phil.

Your prayers were heard, Andrew ...

Congregation was flexible and open in the Spirit. A good number came early or stayed for the 2nd service. Good concert of prayer in between.


Mega thanks


Great questions Phil.  Thanks for asking.

The true characteristic of a praying church can be discovered when the Pastor leads by example in prayer, provides biblical teaching on prayer based upon Old Testament and New Testament principles.  Once prayer has been modeled in the life of a Pastor and is permeated through the lives of Elders, Deacons, and through the congregation where prayer is experienced as a relationship with Father God through Jesus Christ, and not as a program, then we can see a church that can be called a praying church.

Based upon my experiences in my current church and other churches I have been a part of, I have experienced people who have a passion for prayer to pray about prayer – pray that the Lord will raise up a generation of people after His heart who will pray for revival and pray for the things that are on His heart – to know, love Him, His people and all creation.    Getting good biblical teachings is very important in bringing understanding of why prayer is important.

Prayer becomes valued when people see the faithfulness of the Lord through answered prayers and it motivates people who have passions to pray to connect with multiple small groups in my church.

Our pastor is the primary champion of prayer in my church, but the Lord has actually used multiple champions of young adults, middle aged adults and as well as senior adults.

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