Impacting Cities & Communities thru Prayer
A Community of Prayer Champions, Praying Churches, Prayed-for Communities
I was challenged by Phil Miglioratti’s teaching at the 2009 Illinois Baptist Pastors’ Conference. He focused on the prayer of Jesus in John 17, especially the phrase "so that". It is evident in the passage that Jesus used this phrase or variations of it throughout the prayer (vv. 1,2,3,11,12,13,15,19,21). The result of this personal challenge was an invitation to Phil to come to Rochester FBC and teach us more about "So That" praying which is Spirit led and Scripture fed.
What I learned through these opportunities is how often my prayers come up too short. Let me illustrate by looking at Jesus’ petition in verse 11: I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to You. Holy Father, protect them by Your name that You have given Me, so that they may be one as We are one. (John 17:11 HCSB). Jesus prays for the protection of His people, but then He explain why, so that they might be unified in nature and purpose just as the Godhead is one. I believe this is the key to "so that" praying: explaining why I want God to answer this prayer.
When I pray in this manner, I am compelled to examine my own desires and motivations for the prayer. For instance, I have often prayed for the healing of an individual, but really have not thought about why I want God to heal this person. If you have been in enough prayer meetings over the years, you have heard similar type prayers. On the surface the prayer for healing seems like a good thing, but is it? When I expand my prayers by using the phrase "so that," my true motivations for seeking healing from God is revealed. Sometimes the prayer for healing is based on selfish reasons such as not being inconvenienced with care-taking, or the desire to maintain companionship. When we look at those requests in that context, they aren’t really all that edifying. If I refocus my desires to a more Christ-centered one, "so that" praying for healing looks more like this: "Father, Bro. John has walked with you for many years. He has faithfully proclaimed the gospel to many lost people whom You have saved. Lord, I ask you to restore Bro. John to good health, so that he might continue to share Christ for your name’s sake, so that You will add to the kingdom through his witness, so that You receive all the glory. Amen!"
This focus on "so that" praying made rethink how I pray for the church and for missions. As a pastor, I want my church to grow, but why? Again, I had to examine my motivations. The result was a SO THAT Prayer Guide for the Church. I utilized this prayer guide in several Wednesday prayer meetings in a small group setting. It can also be used on a daily basis for one month. Each prayer petition is grounded in the Scripture. I recently completed a SO THAT Great Commission Prayer Guide that I am going to implement prior to our missions’ VBS this summer. I have attached those documents. Please feel free to use them if they will help.
Found these articles ... and a video of a seminar I led on "So that Praying "
A recent email from Steve, a ministry colleague -
Phil, years ago you did a prayer tour around Ohio. Part of your teaching was on "so that" praying. I have made that a key point in my sharing about prayer, and give reference to where and from whom I first heard it.Have you written on "so that" praying? If so, please share with me where to find it. I would like to give a more concrete reference on the topic, instead of just "I heard Phil Miglioratti say..." I think many would benefit from reading that concept. Thank you! Steve
A"So That" Prayer Champion from Scripture - Epaphras
Marks of a True Prayer Champion
Epaphras - be on a first name basis
who is one of you - in authentic fellowship
and a slave of Christ - discipleship results in prayer
greets you - prayer champions care about those they are burdened to pray for
He is always struggling in prayer on your behalf -pray always (right now) ... life is hard; pray harder
so that - a transitional term is used to move from the problem that prompted the prayer to the purpose of God in every prayer
you may stand mature - every prayer should build maturity n the life of the person prayed or
and fully assured - every pray should build confidence in the person prayed for in all the will of God -Romans 12:2: "Stop imitating...the prayer culture around you, but be inwardly transformed by the Holy Spirit through a total reformation of how you think. This will empower you to discern God’s will for a beautiful life, satisfying and perfect in his eyes."
For I can testify that he has worked hard for you and for those in Laodicea and Hierapolis. - pray for people and places, so that, the Church becomes mature in responding to the world around us and is fully assured as we pray for God's will to be done, God's kingdom to come on earth as it is in heaven; now.,