Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Teaching a Church to Pray

Teaching a Church to Pray: How a new pastor helped his congregation re-approach the throne of grace.

trained leaders in four areas.

1. The personal attributes of a prayer leader. Building the hearts of prayer leaders is the most important step. I remind them, "Prayer ministry will never go any farther than the personal passion of those who lead it."

The first attribute we target is motive.

The second attribute is conviction.

The third attribute is longevity. Inspiring others to pray is a permanent calling.

2. The vision for corporate prayer. "Our individualistic culture robs us of a vision for corporate prayer. Private devotion is upheld as the ideal. But Scripture teaches that the church prayed together. And Jesus taught us to pray in a collective sense. The language of Matthew 6 is essentially, "When y'all pray, pray 'Our Father,' and 'give us our daily bread.'" His ideal was that we pray in community".

3. The practical dynamics of effective prayer meetings. "Effective prayer meetings move beyond "bless him, be with her" prayer to elevate pray-ers into the presence of God.

Jesus taught the disciples to begin in adoration—"hallowed be thy name." We developed meetings that began in worship and focused not on informing God of all the troubles he already knows about, but on drawing the people into communion with God. I teach our leaders, "If you pray to seek God's face, you'll know his hand. But if you're looking for his hand, you may miss his face."

Our weekly prayer meetings now begin with opened Bibles, prayerful declarations of God's character, and spontaneous songs of praise. All requests are held at bay until we have worshiped well and connected with God's heart, mind, and kingdom purposes".

4. Principles for managing prayer meetings.
"We want prayer leaders to facilitate effective, engaging prayer meetings. Part of their training involves managing the common distractions—lack of focus and members who mumble lengthy, disconnected discourses. We teach the leaders to implement clearly defined themes for focus, and to use a song and gentle instruction to center a group that has disengaged".

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