Presentation on theme: "I. Guiding Associations and Churches in Prayer Specific, biblical prayer makes a dynamic difference in the lives of the families and churches who make."— Presentation transcript:
I. Guiding Associations and Churches in Prayer Specific, biblical prayer makes a dynamic difference in the lives of the families and churches who make up associations. Associations across North America have a unique opportunity. Associations can guide churches to listen to the Spirit for a powerful and comprehensive prayer ministry. Prayer needs to be the foundation of everything in the life and ministry of every believer.
A. The Resource Kit Overhead cell masters, CD ROM, Guide B. Purpose of this Guide This guide prayerfully seeks: To identify ways to hear and respond to the call of God to pray. To encourage believers to seek the Holy Spirit for a prayer ministry strategy in an association or church that can be customized to their specific needs.
The resulting strategy provides a specific process to challenge believers to reclaim the church as a house of prayer with a passion for lost people. The strategy helps associations and churches create a prayer ministry that is foundational to everything done in and through their ministries. Each section in this guide is in response to many requests for help from those who hear the call to pray. The response includes transforming lifeless rituals of prayer and witness into dynamic relationships with God and humankind.
C. More Than a Strategy or a Ministry Prayer is broader than a strategy and is not a human made activity for the church. Prayer is also broader than a typical prayer ministry. God is calling His people to prayer and revival as He has done before each spiritual awakening. We need to be talking to God about men and women as much as we talk to men and women about God.
D. An Associational Luncheon Revival is needed when believers treat holy things with mundane attitudes. At the typical pastor’s luncheon, the conversation centers around three groups of people: “Sorry state of the churches” group. “It’s not about God, but about me” group. “Sports and current events” group. Thankfully, this scenario is changing in many associations as they attempt to renew a personal passion to pray unceasingly.
II. Hearing the Call of God to Pray Hearing from God requires prayer and Bible study. A. Called to the Priority of Prayer Imagine the consequences of every church and every person receiving specific, biblical prayer and witness. Prayer has to remain a priority or it immediately moves to the sidelines.
1. Prayer was a priority to Jesus (see Matt. 14:27; 6:46; Luke 6:12) 2. Prayer was a priority to the early church (see Acts 1:14; 6:1-4) 3. Prayer was a priority to Paul (see Rom. 12:12; 1 Cor. 7:5; Phil. 1:4) 4. A priority is seen by use of money, time, and talents. B. Called to the Difference in Ritual Prayer and Relational Prayer. Jesus focused attention on ritual prayer in Matthew 6:5; 23:14; and Luke 18:9-14. Jewish disciples of Jesus knew a lot about prayer.
Lifeless ritual prayer was not fulfilling. When they watched Jesus pray in Luke 11:1, they said, “Lord, teach us to pray,..” (so we can pray like You pray). Jesus causes people to examine their external rituals and replace these with a spiritual relationship. If believers are not careful, we will “develop,” “create,” or “build” a human-led prayer plan that is not from God. If it is not from God, it will not be blessed by God. Personal devotional time is essential for pastors. State prayer leaders have discovered that baptismless churches are led by men who allowed their personal walk with Christ to stagnate.
C. Called to Biblical Prayer Satan hates biblical, specific prayer. He has created a lot of counterfeit prayer movements to confuse believers. It is important that biblical prayer be taught. The Holy Spirit always points people to Jesus (see 1 Tim. 2:5). Angels are not to be worshiped or addressed in prayer (see Rev. 22:9). Pastors and other spiritual leaders should not assume authority that belongs to God, His Son, or the Holy Spirit. First Peter 5:1-9 is a biblical definition of the pastor as a shepherd. Shepherds lead, cowboys drive.
D. Called within Two Types of Churches In the first three chapters of Revelation, the churches are described as in need of revival. The first type relies on the world’s way to draw a crowd by means of human leadership. “My Way” Community Church represents this type of congregation. The second type of congregation tries to rely on God’s plan and the Spirit’s leading. “God’s Way” Community Church represents this type of congregation. Fleshly success will not last (see 1 Cor. 3:11-15). Associational leadership need to encourage the “God’s Way” congregations and encourage change in the “My Way” congregations.
E. Called to a Corporate Culture of Godliness and Righteousness. It is alarming the kind of language and jokes that are told among believers and professional ministers. In Luke 6:45, Jesus said, “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good... For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks” (NKJV). Ministers must set the standard for godliness and righteousness. Believers should resemble Christ. God calls believers to encourage a corporate culture of godliness and righteousness. In 1 Timothy 6:11, the apostle Paul lists several spiritual characteristics of walking with Christ. Believers should be different through Christ that it would be obvious to unbelievers.
Think about the advantages of encouraging an environment where believers are encouraged and expected to be different. The term “corporate culture” describes the accepted attitudes and behavior in a business setting. Encouraging a corporate culture of godliness and righteousness is important to effective prayer and spiritual growth. Prayer is one of the casualties of secular assimilation. “Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us” (1 John 5:14, NKJV).
Godliness Refers to the transformed nature that only comes through the indwelling Holy Spirit. Other extremes are those who teach we are god or negate or ridicule those who are trying to live consistent, biblically-based lives. Godliness became defined by individuals instead of by God. Biblical godliness is a prayer concern of Paul. In 1 Timothy 2:1-2, Paul encourages Timothy to “… lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity” (NASB). “Having a form of godliness but denying its power” (2 Tim. 3:5, NKJV).
R ighteousness “The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much” (Jas. 5:16, NASB). Righteousness is right behavior that flows out of the godliness that comes from accepting Jesus. Righteousness comes from holiness, which only comes from the Holy Spirit, changing will and behavior. The Holy Spirit only comes through accepting Jesus Christ as Lord. Righteousness is essential to effective prayer. Godliness and righteousness are difficult to attain and maintain. Focus of the Christian life is to resemble Christ. Evangelical believers must not adopt the prevailing cultural attitude.
III. Responding to the Call to Pray with a Prayer Ministry Strategy What do you want to see happen through prayer in the association, state, or province? A. Prayer Strategy A prayer strategy seeks to discover the Holy Spirit’s plan of action. A prayer event is helpful, but is much more effective in the context of a comprehensive prayer ministry strategy. B. Prayer Ministry A prayer ministry helps to saturate everything done in and through the association and church with prayer.
Every church and association needs to respond to God’s call for people to pray. Strategy ensures that prayer is a foundational and functional priority. C. Intentional Prayer Reclaim the church as a house of prayer with a passion for lost people. A strategy is needed to saturate everything with Spirit- led prayer. Pride, self-esteem, and self praise effectively shut the door to prayer.
IV. Steps to Great Commission Praying There is a coordinated attempt to present biblical principles for Spirit-led prayer and awakening while not creating a program. A. What is Great Commission Praying Prayer is foundational to following Christ’s commission in Matthew 28:18-20. B. Seek the Spirit’s plan for a Customized Prayer Ministry This is an intentional Spirit-led prayer ministry that considers the individual needs and abilities of each church and association.
C. Six Common Characteristics of a Great Commission Prayer Ministry 1. Enlist through Prayer the State and Provincial Prayer Coordinators. A list is in Appendix A and online at www.namb.net/prayer ; other resources www.imb.org/pray www.namb.net/prayer 2. Enlist through Prayer Associational and Church Prayer Coordinators. Work with church coordinators to help each church discover a Spirit-led strategy. A job description is in Appendix B. Help prioritize a Spirit-led prayer ministry. Identifying through prayer the lay prayer practitioners and prayer coordinators in each church.
a. Church Prayer Coordinator Church prayer coordinator job description in Appendix C. The church prayer coordinator has a very difficult job. Satan is constantly working to undermine biblical, fervent, and specific, Spirit-led prayer.
b. How to identify and enlist associational and church prayer coordinators. Begins with prayer. Prayer practitioner. Biblical priority of prayer. Listen for God’s call to pray. Publicize the need. Elect the prayer coordinator and place them in a position of influence. Look to a church prayer coordinator to serve as the associational prayer coordinator. Encourage each prayer practitioner to disciple another person in biblical, specific, Spirit-led prayer.
3. Enlist through Prayer the Associational and Church Prayer Councils. The prayer council (team or committee) serves to keep Spirit-led prayer before the congregation. The prayer council should not be seen as the ones who pray like the choir is seen as the ones who sing. Help believers turn to prayer as the first choice instead of the last resort.
4. Provide Accessible Training for Associational and Church Prayer Coordinators. a. Begin with reminding people about the importance of prayer. Focus on prayer in the Sunday School and Bible study hour. Satan encourages anything that delays or diminishes prayer and relevant Bible study. Encourage each person to pray their requests so all of the prayer time is spent in prayer.
b. Banish zipper prayers. Banish the ritual prayers that often open and close a meeting. c. Teach people to take prayer to the streets in order to cover the community with prayer. d. Encourage an ongoing school of prayer. Set a goal to train 75 percent of the entire membership in prayer.
e. From John 17, Teach people how to pray for believers, for unbelievers, and for personal spiritual needs. 1) Praying for believers In John 17:9, Jesus prayed, “My followers belong to you, and I am praying for them” Missionaries and evangelism leaders around the globe testify to the effectiveness of praying for believers involved in evangelism and missions. Acts 13:1-3 church commissioning Paul and Silas to evangelistic mission work.
2) Praying for unbelievers Pray for receptive and repentant hearts (see Luke 8:5-12). Pray for their spiritual eyes and ears to be opened to the truth of Christ (see 2 Cor. 4:3-4; Matt. 13:15). Pray for them to have God’s attitude toward sin (see John 16:8). Pray for the person to be released to believe (see 2 Cor. 10:3-4; 2 Tim. 2:25-26). Pray for a transforming life (see Rom. 12:1-2). Pray for God to send them into His harvest field (see Matt. 9:35-38).
3) Praying for personal spiritual needs In Luke 11:3-4, Jesus instructs believers to pray for our daily bread, pray that we can forgive everyone, and that we will not be led into temptation. Personal praying acknowledges that God is the source to meet all of our physical and spiritual needs. This is very difficult in a culture that so easily confuses needs with wants.
f. Work with the evangelism committee to train the church in personal evangelism. Too many believers have been intimidated by the culture to remain silent about their faith in Christ. Lead the church in evangelism training if there is not an evangelism committee. Use several approaches to help the different personality types in the church. Four good approaches: People Sharing Jesus, FAITH, The Net from NAMB, Becoming a Contagious Christian
5. Seek the Spirit for a Customized Great Commission Prayer Ministry. An effective prayer ministry needs to consider the individual strengths and weaknesses of each congregation. a. Vision statement. A Great Commission Prayer Ministry begins with a prayer saturated vision statement. Proverbs 29:18, “Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained” (NASB). Unrestrained people have no focus on priorities. A popular vision statement is, “To pray for and share Jesus with every person in the community of the church.”
b. Purpose statements. –What can be done in your association to help churches pray for and share Jesus with everyone in that association? Discover these purpose statements through prayer and Bible study. Humans need to follow God’s plan instead of trying to impose our plans on God. 1) Renew a personal passion to pray unceasingly (see 1 Thess. 5:17). Importance of a personal prayer life. Not vain repetition (see Matt. 6:5-7)
2) Reclaim the church as a house of prayer with a passion for lost people (see Matt. 21:13; Luke 19:10). Importance of a corporate dimension to prayer. 3) Link believers in focused prayer for evangelization and awakening (see Matt. 28:18-20; 2 Chron. 7:14). Importance of a kingdom perspective to prayer.
c. Prayer Events. The next step is to seek the Lord for prayer events to help complete the purpose statements. Reflect the needs and ethnicity of each church and community. No single approach works in every situation. Use whatever approach fits in your cultural or geographic area. “Praying always with all prayer and supplication... for all the saints” (Eph. 6:18, NKJV).
d. Fifteen prayer-saturated steps for churches. 1) Select a prayer coordinator for the church 2) Select a prayer council 3) Ask the pastor to take the lead by preparing a sermon series on prayer 4) Encourage individual prayer through any of the resources available 5) Launch new prayer groups 6) Provide a prayer room 7) Refocus the Wednesday night prayer meeting into a time of prayer
8) Create praying affinity groups 9) Develop prayer lists 10) Participate in North American and International annual weeks of prayer for missions 11) Schedule a prayer time during worship services 12) Create Lighthouses of Prayer 13) Include Prayer Journeys 14) Plan a mission trip that includes prayer 15) Work with the associational prayer coordinator
6. Involve Ethnic Congregations in the Association. Many associations may need to enlist an additional prayer coordinator for each ethnic group. Many ethnic congregations are models of prayer. Effective prayer replaces our agenda with God’s agenda, our will with God’s will.
V. Organizational Options for Prayer Coordinators A. The Most Effective Prayer Coordinators have the Complete Support of the DOM, Pastor, and Staff. 1. The prayer leader needs to have an influential position that has access to the decision making and budgeting process. 2. The prayer ministry needs to have a priority budget. 3. It will usually require someone to devote primary leadership to creating and expanding a prayer ministry. 4. Strive to keep prayer a priority for everything done in and through the association and congregation. 5. Prayer ministry form descriptions in Appendix E.
B. Involve and Inform as Many People as Possible. 1. Use and develop every possible communication network. 2. Discover and report on what’s happening in prayer. When we agree with God, we always get a “yes” answer. Encourage believers to share examples of when it was good that God answered their prayer “no” or “wait.” 3. Discover and report different prayer strategies.
C. Be Careful Not to Make Prayer a Program. D. Reject “Trick or Treat” Prayer. A pastor shared, “ I discovered that prayer to me had become a habit of running to the door of heaven asking for a treat.” Satan enjoys keeping prayer as obscure as possible. If Satan cannot persuade us to fail in the flesh, he will convince us to succeed in the flesh.
VI. Conclusion and Commitment Hearing and responding to God’s call to prayer is an important process in every association and congregation. A comprehensive prayer ministry will only occur with intentional planning and application. Pause for a time of prayer to determine how you will respond to this information. Have you been challenged to renew a personal passion to pray unceasingly? Will you serve to reclaim the convention, association, or church to be a house of prayer with a passion for lost people? The spiritual condition of a church can be determined by its prayer meetings.
VII. Four Examples of Associational Prayer Strategies Many associations have found satisfaction in training and encouraging their churches in prayer.
A. Phoenix, Arizona 1.Encourage every church to have a praying and prayed- for pastor. 2.Encourage every church to be a house of prayer. 3.Encourage praying churches to pray together. 4.Create a Prayer Coordinator Network. 5.Cover the area with various media and promotions.
B. Chicagoland, Chicago, Illinois Our Mission To serve the church in the work of the Great Commission. Our Vision To serve every Chicagoland pastor. Our Action Plans Gathering Equipping Resourcing Communicating
C. Capilano Association, British Columbia, Canada Evangelism Church Planting Grow and Develop Missions Leadership
D. Cane Creek Stoddard Baptist Association, Poplar Bluff, Missouri The strategy develops opportunities to cover neighborhoods, businesses, law enforcement and protection personnel, city and county government officials, school students and faculty, pastors, churches, and ministries with prayer.
Appendix B Associational Prayer Coordinator Job Description Function To raise awareness of the need for a comprehensive Great Commission Prayer Ministry in the association and churches. To help individuals renew a personal passion to pray unceasingly (see 1 Thess. 5:17). To help reclaim the congregation as a house of prayer with a passion for lost people (see Matt. 21:13; Luke 19:10). To facilitate training opportunities to help the congregation accomplish these three goals.
Qualifications Be identified as called of God to the ministry of prayer. Understand biblical prayer and be able to communicate it. Recognize that God makes a difference through prayer in lives, situations, and nations. Be able to work cooperatively with associational and church leadership. Be committed to the total associational program. Have skills in planning, organizing, and delegating with a servant leadership style. Be willing to attend an associational prayer coordinators training conference.
Accountability First, to God. Then, the pastor. Then, the church, especially the prayer coordinators in each class, program, and ministry area. Responsibilities Pray and lead others to pray. Work closely with the pastor and other church leadership to develop a Great Commission Prayer Ministry. Set up and manage prayer activities, events, small prayer groups, and a prayer room.
Build a prayer team ministry with NAMB, WMU, IMB, and LifeWay. Create and maintain a relationship with the associational prayer coordinator and church prayer coordinators in other churches. Enlist and train prayer coordinators in every class, program, and ministry. Participate in the church newsletter to share prayer requests and answers to prayer, promote awareness, and communicate kingdom needs. Help the librarian to acquire biblical resources for church members to use in prayer. Facilitate local training conferences for church members.
Participate in the budget planning process. Calendar all prayer events and training during the yearly planning process. Stay current on state, national, and international prayer needs and opportunities through NAMB (1 800 554-PRAY), www.namb.net/prayer, and IMB (1 800 395-PRAY), www.imb.org/pray, prayerlines.
Appendix E Sample Prayer Ministry Forms Here are some suggested forms a prayer coordinator may create to encourage effective, specific prayer. Be careful that paperwork does not replace prayer time! Information brochure/sheet/card Brief overview of the prayer ministry. Describe ways for each believer to become involved. List the purpose statements, yearly prayer events, and each prayer and training opportunity.
Give directions to the prayer room. Explain the watchman network and/or include a testimony from a Prayer Journey. Include a tear-off commitment card. Include these in new member packets or hand these out at church meetings. Commitment card Create a simple card to encourage every believer to participate in the prayer ministry. Prayer request card Create a simple card to list prayer requests. Include an area “Pray For,” and include blank spaces for name, address, phone number, e-mail address, date requested, dates prayed for, and date answered.
Provide a lot of space for the prayer request and updates. Include an area “Prayer Requested By.” Prayer Notes/Prayergram Create a post card, note card, or letter system to follow- up on prayer requests.