Tag Archives: prayer
Are you involved in your church’s worship services? (If you’re reading this blog, I have a sneaking suspicion the answer is, ‘yes.’) Do you pray with your team before the service begins? Is it easy for you? It is for me. You know the drill: the worship leader gathers everyone together just off-stage to say a quick prayer before the service begins. He slides his guitar behind his back, tells the drummer to stop talking, waves the guy who will give announcements over to the group, and then pulls everyone into a huddle for prayer. I’ve been in a lot of worship services at various churches and this scenario is frequently repeated in many of the churches I’ve attended. These scenes are comfortable for me. I can say a quick, “Go get’em team” type of prayer in these instances without much effort.
But what about the prayers after the mid-week band rehearsal? Are they as easy? Does your worship band pray before or after they practice? Mine does, and it’s not as easy for me to pray there. You probably can imagine this scene too: Everyone is putting away their instruments, wrapping cables, and folding closed their music folders. The worship leader invites everyone to sit in the first couple of pews or on the stairs of the stage, and then the conversation begins. People start sharing prayer requests. Five minutes stretches into twenty and then a person or two (or three) closes in prayer.
These scenes are not as comfortable for me, though they are just as commonplace in our churches as the scene described above. I don’t know why I’m uncomfortable. The only difference between the after-rehearsal prayer and the pre-service prayer is time. After the rehearsals we have time to talk, dish out our requests, and pray for each other. In the pre-service prayers all we have time for is a quick blessing over the morning’s proceedings. Why is it harder for me to pray in one scenario over the other?
I found some thought provoking questions and ideas in Rory Noland’s The Worshiping Artist: Equipping You and Your Ministry Team to Lead Others in Worship. Here’s what Rory’s got to say. I think some of these bullets might help me have an easier time praying with the group after those mid-week rehearsals. They might be a blessing to you too:
- Devote a half hour of prayer this week exclusively for others. (I would add, exclusively for your worship team.)
- Is there anybody you need to forgive? Set up a time to call or meet with that individual.
- Think about what practical steps you can take to engage more deeply with those close to you as their spiritual friend.
- What are some specific ways those on your ministry team can serve each other?
- Do you think a prayer list has merit? Why or why not?
- Is there any way the artists on your team could do a better job of extending grace to each other during rehearsal or sound check? How?
(Excerpts from pages 176 – 177.)
What do you think?
If you’re interested in this book you can download a sample PDF here.
My wife and I are trying (desperately) to teach both thankfulness and prayer to our two boys. My eldest son has a hard time with both of these (must take after his dad). After our family Bible story each evening we go around and pray and all we ask for now is that they say one thing they are thankful. Luke was thankful for being able to go to the park yesterday, but Jack said he didn’t have anything. After pressing him, he was thankful for “the day”.
Why is it so easy to feel entitled to things and take blessings for granted?
I know, sin. I think it also has to do with the fact that, as Craig Groeschel puts it, “we believe in God, but live as if he doesn’t exist.” Thankfulness is something that comes out of a heart that understands and appreciates the gift given. Prayer is an outpouring of our need and true belief in God. If we expect blessing and feel entitled, we won’t be thankful, and if are not thankful, we will probably not see a need for God, or need for prayer.
I fully point the finger at myself on both of these counts. Having grown up in the church, as well as in a middle-class home, I felt a certain amount of entitlement both spiritually and externally. I was like the elder son in the parable of the prodigal sons – I didn’t want the Father any more than the younger son, I just wanted him for what I was going to inherit and kept “slaving away”.
So what to do about my son’s (any my) lack of thankfulness and desire to pray? In his first session from The Christian Atheist, Craig Groeschel says that to know God better, seek him. If you seek him, he will reveal himself to you. It seems that going through the work of daily counting our blessings and setting aside specific time to pray will help. Another idea came from my pastor while teaching on Ephesians this weekend. Take yourself under the wing of a prayer mentor from the Bible. Look at Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians in chapter 1. Paul says, I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.
Look how Paul prays, and use this prayer as a template of sorts. Pray that you would have a spirit of wisdom and revelation, that God would reveal himself to you. Pray that you would see the hope of who you are in Christ and what he has called us to be.
This is what I told Jack last night. That sin keeps us from being thankful, and when we are not thankful we listen to the snake (Satan). But when we are thankful, we listen to Jesus and defeat the snake.
A couple of weeks ago I was sitting in church and I had a prompting. I felt led to invite a specific guy and his family to dinner at our house. I hadn’t ever talked with him, never met his wife, and only knew that he had a son around my sons age. I either very rarely receive promptings from God, or (more likely) very rarely am listening and recognize them. Well, I had recently watched Bill Hybels teach on promptings from God in his small group study, The Power of a Whisper. I decided that whether or not it was from God, it was a good idea, so I invited him to dinner. There was nothing earth-shattering about our dinner, or what I did. He and his wife have 2 boys around the same ages as our two sons. They had recently moved to Michigan from New York and didn’t know many people. We connected and plan to get together more often.
But this experience definitely has moved me to be more attune to God’s “whispers”. I have wanted to not discard any feeling that I had, and I’ve wanted to be more intentional in my prayer to listen, not just talk.
In The Power of a Whisper, Bill Hybels shares his history with whispers from God as well as his filter for deciphering whether or not the whisper is actually “heaven-sent”. His five filters are:
- Is it from God? (consistent with God’s character)
- Is it Scriptural? (is there a specific passage that refers to your whisper)
- Is it wise?
- Is it in tune with how God made you?
- What do trusted friends advise?
Hybels talks about whispers that he received from God: leaving his family business to plant a church; starting the church in a movie theater; launching a training organization for leaders. To watch the first session of The Power of a Whisper, go to YouTube here. There are also over 80 other sessions from other small group studies on YouTube here.
What whispers or promptings have you received and responded to from God?
Wednesday, Mark Batterson wrote about storming the gates of Hell through bold, audacious prayers. He spoke of 30+ Circle Maker groups at his church and working through it as a sermon series. Your church can do the same thing. The Circle Maker is designed as a churchwide campaign. It’s time to be on offense against the gates of Hell, and our greatest weapon is prayer.
Begin a church experience where your whole congregation learns together how to claim God-given promises, pursue God-sized dreams, and seize God-ordained opportunities and through it all bring glory to God. The Circle Maker is a four-week church-wide experience and small-group video study, in which you and your congregation gain a deeper understanding of prayer and, in turn, make a more consistent practice of prayer.
The Circle Maker gives viewers new vocabulary and methodology to pray with a holy confidence. It will help participants dream big, pray hard and think long. According to Mark Batterson, “Drawing prayer circles around our dreams isn’t just a mechanism whereby we accomplish great things for God. It’s a mechanism whereby God accomplishes great things in us.”
You can launch a churchwide campaign at any time. This four-week preaching and small group study is especially effective for those times of the year when you would like to reach out to your community through a special series.
Would knowing that your prayers will be answered change the way you pray? The Circle Maker shares powerful insights from the true legend of Honi the Circle Maker, a believer who prayed miracles would happen to the people of God—and then they fell from the heavens like rain. Bring your God-given dreams into being through bold, tenacious prayers that honor God and make the impossible come true.
Visit www.Zondervan.com/ChurchSource or call 800.727.3480 for case quantity discounts of 40-50% off.
This is a guest post from Mark Batterson, pastor of National Community Church, and author of The Circle Maker.
One of my prayers for The Circle Maker is that people would NOT read it by themselves! It’s best read in community as prayer partners, small groups or book clubs. The ultimate goal is for readers to form prayer circles and one of the best ways to do that is to leverage the DVD and participant’s guide for small groups. Both are included in The Curriculum Kit.
We’ll launch 30+ Circle Maker groups this week at National Community Church. And that comes on the heels of The Circle Maker sermon series and 21-Day Prayer Challenge. We’re going all out and all in.
Jesus talked about the power of spiritual synergy when he said: “If two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them by My Father who is in heaven.” Obviously, it needs to meet the two-fold litmus test for any and every prayer. It has to be in the will of God and for the glory of God. But if it meets that two-fold test, then all it takes is two! When two people agree in prayer, they have formed a prayer circle.
What would happen if two or twenty or two hundred people formed prayer circles? I’ll tell you what would happen: we’d storm the gates of hell and they would not prevail against us! I’m amazed at the miracles God has done at National Community Church in the last few years. His blessings have blown us away! But I feel like God has done that despite our lack of corporate prayer. I can’t help but wonder what would happen if we genuinely, humbly, fervently started praying like it depends on God? I intend to find out.
It’s the beginning of a prayer movement at NCC. The Circle Maker has given people acommon vocabulary and a common challenge to take their prayer lives to the next level. It’s a new day. It’s a new normal.
I’m sure you’re aware of the staggering numbers of women and children who will be trafficked this weekend into Indianapolis as a result of the Super Bowl. If you are not, Google it. Several major media channels have articles posted. (Links: USA Today, Fox News, Chicago Tribune, CBS News) The number of victims will break your heart.
As believers in Jesus Christ we can pray, plead, and beg for God’s mercy and justice to be poured out on these victims.
Would you please write a short prayer for these victims and post it below? I’ve asked a number of authors and publishing professionals to write prayers too. I’ll be posting them here throughout the weekend. Updates will appear on this post and on Twitter. Together we can try to flood the ‘blogosphere’ and the throne of heaven with prayers.
I’m simply compelled to try and do something to aid these victims. You and I have the ability to pray and to pray without ceasing. That may be small, but we know how powerful prayer can be.
Will you pray with us?
A prayer from Dan Kimball
Psalm 36:12 ”See how the evildoers lie fallen—
thrown down, not able to rise!” Please Lord bring safety to your children and cease the evil happening.
A prayer from Scot McKnight
Father of the fatherless and Protector of the unprotected, our prayer is that you will act through your Spirit, through your people, and through our law to block, prevent and end the destructive and injustice of trafficking innocent and young girls and boys and the abusive exploitation of women in our culture. Through Jesus our Messiah and Lord.
How often do you pray the Psalms? I try to pray something from scripture (often a Psalm) on a daily basis. When you are encouraging or counseling others, do you encourage them to pray the Psalms?
In the interview below David Beach talks about one method for doing this, particularly as it relates to counseling others.
Will you encourage others to try a “copy change” method? It seems like that is an easy way to make scripture intensely personal, and a way to engage with God that’s very (even painfully) honest.
i got a copy of rev magazine in my box today and as i paged through it i saw a page devoted to burnout in women’s minsitry. it listed some of the top reasons women burnout in ministry, but these can be applicable to men and women alike:
- lack of communication
- not enough delegation
- unclear vision
- mixed up priorities
- lack of encouragement
the page also offers 5 ways to “burn-proof” your minsitry. the first one was to pray. in reading anne jackson’s book, mad church disease: overcoming the burnout epidemic as well as wayne cordeiro’s leading on empty, prayer is vital to your life as not only a minister, but a christian. obvious, right? well, maybe i’m alone on this, but when i am overcommitted, misunderstood, de-energized, and have clouded vision, prayer is forgotten about.
in reality, all else should be forgotten about. wayne cordeiro says “i needed God to quiet every voice but his own.” when i communicate well and often with kate, we click. when i don’t, we don’t just not click, we break. anne jackson says in mad church disease,
“God knows us even more intimately than our spouces do. and he designed us to express our deepest thoughts and longings to him…when we break away from prayer, whether we consciously realize it or not, we’re also breaking away from our natural design to talk and listen to our Creator. and without that line of communication flowing in both directions, we’ll begin to burn out.”
take some extra time to pray today, allow that line of communication flow between you and your Maker. and just like with your spouse, you don’t even have to always be saying something to communicate. just be with Him.