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...in response to his frustration in asking for prayer to be more active in the ministries and activities of congregational life.

Most leaders/pastors do not value highly either the critical need to invite the congregation to the place of prayer (a prayer meeting or meetings throughout the week where prayer is the primary purpose; praying for the holy huddle but also for the culture and community) ... and to take prayer to the places the members are already gathered (small groups, studies/classes, planning team/committees, families, etc).

We pray "up" (asking for all our needs) but fail to pray "out" by asking the Lord to empower us to live prayer-care-share lifestyles that deliver the tangible love of God through Christ to neighbors, neighborhood and nations.

Comments anyone?

Frustrated?

Blessed by your experience?

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Comment by Lewis Turner on May 5, 2016 at 12:23pm
Phil--yes we do need to bring our requests to God, yes we also need God empowering us to accomplish what He desires of us--which is living a prayer-care-share lifestyle. I would go one step further--to come to a prayer-care-share lifestyle, we need to develop a close relationship with God through prayer.

It is sad that many know 'about' telling others about Jesus, but have not really come into a close 'relationship with our Lord' through prayer. Perhaps we need mentors for our leaders who can encourage them to go that step further and developing a close relationship with our Lord through prayer. -- For some leaders, accepting a mentor may be quite difficult. However, with people praying for him, it can come about. As his heart is opened to accepting a mentor, we also should be asking the Lord to prepare a faithful mentor, one whom God can use.
Comment by Eddie Smith on May 4, 2016 at 6:53pm

As an associate pastor of our church, many years ago, on a staff retreat I asked our pastor what our primary task as a church should be. He said, we are to be a house of prayer. I asked, "If one were to interview the people leaving the building with the question, 'what is your church about?', I wonder how many would associate our purpose with prayer?"

To his credit, he became so burdened with the question that he took a week-long sabbatical and sought the Lord for a solution. He came back with his suggestion.

1. We have a Wednesday night "prayer meeting", like most churches of our kind, but it's not primarily prayer. And because it's a week night some people are working; others have school age children and can't attend. However, if we had it on Tuesday night and Wednesday night, one parent could come one night and the other the next. It will consist with a brief welcome, 15 minutes of worshipful/prayerful (not praise tempo) music, then 45 minutes of prayer. A podium will be put at the front, with a microphone. People will be encouraged to come to the front and pray as they feel led. We will have an announced topic for which we will pray. We will encourage our folks to stick to the topic.

2. Some of our people don't work. We will add to that, Tuesday and Thursday 11:00-Noon similar prayer services.

3. We will add Friday morning 6:00AM and Sunday morning 7:00AM prayer meetings.

4. Prayer will be given a more prominent place in the Sunday morning worship.

5. Every Sunday school class, youngest to oldest, will engage in a significant time

of prayer each week.

6. Each of we (six) staff members will visit a different children's Sunday School

class, sit and ask them to lay hands on us and pray for us.

7. Each home group will have a more prominent prayer time as part of their

meetings.

8. Any activity, even church picnics, will include a significant time of prayer.

To this day (about 30 years later) prayer still holds a prominent place in that

church's weekly schedule.

To me, an effective prayer ministry offers prayer opportunities that engage

and are fitted to average Christians, young and old, new believers and longtime

believers. And, prayer opportunities, training and such for intercessor-types for

which prayer is their most important ministry.

Comment by Andrew R. Wheeler on May 4, 2016 at 6:12pm

This is a great reflection of my experience.  I attend a great church, very active in the community, soundly evangelical, and active in world missions.  Growing year after year in so many ways.  But I don't think anyone would characterize us as a "house of prayer". To be sure, our leaders are people of prayer and they do occasionally bring big things to the congregation for prayer.  But they do not encourage or teach us to be praying people, and I don't think it would be said that we're a praying church.  I do know that prayer is taking place because of all the blessing God is bringing.

I once fretted because our Prayer Ministry is so small, but I no longer really concern myself with that.  It's not the size of the ministry, but the penetration of prayer through the congregation, that matters.  In the last few years, I've begun to see some beginnings of growth in this area.  This year, for the first time, we had a church-wide emphasis on Seek God for the City (previously, it had just been a Prayer Ministry promotion).  May God continue to draw us more to himself in prayer!

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