Category Archives: Prayer

Multiplying Results

I believe that the church, when it follows a Biblical model, is an unstoppable force in the community.  It can make a difference in every aspect of it.  As individuals, we all play a part in accomplishing this.  God designed the church to be made up of individual parts, but work in unison together to accomplish something that is bigger than all of us.  When everyone joins together to become who God made them to be, Scripture tells us that even the gates of Hell will not be able to stand up against the church.  We can have power in our lives and in our church, not because of who we are, but because of who He is.

He is the Creator of all things and still works to hold it all in place.  He is the Sacrifice who gave his life and died in our place.  He is the Savior who rose from the grave.  He is our Redeemer who personally forgives our sins.  He is our strength to live beyond ourselves each day.  He is our hope of what can be when we put our trust in Him.

Because of him, I believe that the church can do great things.  I believe that it can make a difference.  As the church, God can work through even small things to accomplish great things.  Imagine a place where hurt people can find peace, where the poor can find relief, where the grieving can find hope.  Imagine a place where those who are broken can be made whole again.  That place is the church.

In the book of Acts we find that at different times there are descriptions given on how the church is growing. Acts 1:15 tells us the church numbered 120 believers.  In Acts 2:41 we find that believers were being added daily.  This continues to grow as we look at Acts 5:14, believers were increasingly added to the Lord.  Acts 6:1 notates that the number of disciples were increasing in number.  Then in Acts 6:7 we find that the number of disciples were multiplying greatly.  It is obvious that the church here is beginning to move from simply picking up a few people here and there to growing exponentially.  Multitudes are turning to the Lord.  There are a few things that I see happen in Acts 6:1-7 that causes some increased momentum for the early church and can have the same effect for our churches as well.

Four Simple actions that can create multiplying results.

1.  Solve problems quickly.  Anytime you have growth, you have growing pains.  And we see that the church is definitely growing.  So much so that some of the widows were being neglected.  This was a real problem.  In the context of scripture, this was a matter of life and death for many.  But we find in the passage that the apostles didn’t drop everything to take care of this.  They realized the need and knew something needed to change, but also knew that they weren’t the ones to handle the change.  Problems have a way of forcing change in any organization, but it doesn’t have to stop the forward progress of what may already be happening. If allowed to, problems can lead to focusing on internal needs of the church rather than the external mission of the church.  As things change in our church, we have a choice of whether to be a part of the solution or a part of the problem.  Our goal should be to glorify God and be used by Him to solve problems quickly.  When problems arise, we can take those problems as opportunities to further the work of the church but at the same time  keep the focus of the church in check.

2.  Set your priorities correctly.  The apostles set their priorities as prayer and the ministry of the word.  They knew that these were two areas of the church that could not be neglected for any reason.  Stepping away from these two areas would have devastating effects on the spiritual life of the growing church.  Prayer releases the power of God in our lives and in our church.  Without it we essentially cripple the work we are trying to do.  The ministry of the word gives us the only true source of truth that can change people.  It is easy to get caught up in running programs in the church and lose sight of the main purpose of the church.  When the program or system becomes the end goal, we have lost sight of our purpose.  We should be seeking to reach people at all times, laying a foundation of prayer and ministering the word as we go.

3.  Share the responsibility.  The apostles delegated portions of the ministry needs to others.  They didn’t try to do it all themselves.  We should be always in the process of including more people in the work of the ministry.  There are a lot of good things to do in the church, but each of us will only have a few God things that He has called us to.  The apostles knew what their God thing was and stuck to it.  They could have added some more good things in, but that would have taken away from their God thing.  At the same time, God had men He had been preparing to do this specific God thing that was needed in scripture.  Let people take ownership of specific areas.  We should encourage people to do their part and find a place to serve within the church.  This actually multiplies the results and effectiveness of ministry.

4.  Saturate everything in prayer.  I know we have already looked at this, but it’s worth repeating.  The very first thing they did when they started wasn’t getting a food pantry started, developing a Widows in Need program or getting a list of names of all of those who were being neglected.  They didn’t just jump in and start working.  We see in the scripture that the apostles laid their hands on them and prayed.  We could see a lot more happen in our lives, in our families, in our churches and in our communities if we would really take hold of the power of prayer.  Prayer has a way of changing the world around us.  It can and does make a difference.  Matthew 7:7 tells us to ask.  This requires us to admit we don’t have all the answers and we aren’t in control.  But it also requires us to admit that we know that God is in control.  He can make a difference in our churches if we let Him.

If we want to see a multiplication movement take place in and through the church, we must place prayer and the word as a priority.  Also we must make it a part of our culture to raise up leaders who will share the load.  When we do things in our power, we get what we can do.  When we do things through prayer, we get what God can do.

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Planning a One Day Mission Event

One Day mission events are a great way to ‘prime the pump’ of outreach and evangelism in your church.  These events are opportunities to organize simple acts of service throughout your community that will engage your church body and impact the community.  A One Day event isn’t just one event, but multiple events that occur at the same time.  So you could have a group of people prayer walking, a group of people doing a block party geared towards kids at a local park, a group of people doing yard work and minor maintenance in the community and more.  This allows a variety of different people in the church to get involved and engages your community at multiple ‘entry points’.

There are a few things to keep in mind as you move towards creating a one day event at your church.

1.  Play to your churches strengths.  If you have a strong children’s ministry, gear a part of the event towards children.  If many in your church are good with home projects, create an opportunity for them to use their gifts.  Identify some of the areas where your church is strong and capitalize on those strengths.

2.  Look at community needs.  Talk to community leaders and find out their perspective on the biggest needs in the community.  This is time well spent.  You can make a huge difference in your communities if you start with the biggest needs around you.  Once you know the biggest needs, match the strengths of your church to the needs and begin to move forward.

3. Team up with community events.  You don’t have to create every opportunity.  One great way to make a difference without having to initiate a program is to team up with what is already taking place in the community.  What are some activities, events, community happenings that already draw people together?  Is there a way your church can be a sponsor of the event? Is there a way you can provide volunteers to help with whatever needs there may be?  Then if it’s possible, your church can wear shirts that shows they are serving from your church.  They may be working booths, setting up an event, cleaning up after an event and much more.  But the fact that your church is willing to serve will have an impact.

4.  Keep it simple.  Don’t over think this or over complicate it.  You may find that starting small is the best way to go.  For example, you could plan a Saturday event that lasts 4hours and has 3 or 4 different opportunities to serve.  This can be a good start to developing this kind of ministry and can have a huge impact not only in your community but in your church.  You may find that doing two or three small events like this, along with your other missions effort,s are what works best for your church.

For ideas on a variety of different activities, check out this Servant Evangelism site.  Let’s be intentional about reaching the world around us with the love of God.  Be intentional about not just having activities, but also sharing the gospel at every opportunity.  As we’re faithful to go, I believe God will be faithful to bring a harvest for His glory.


Putting our Prayers into Motion

An example of walking in sandals.

Image via Wikipedia

If we want to see God show up and show out we have to be willing to get out of the way.  We are a culture that ‘plans’ everything and then asks God for His approval.  But I believe that if we are going to see God move beyond our abilities or our plans, we must start with one very powerful thing.  This is called PRAYER!  Prayer is not ‘plan B’ or an afterthought.  Prayer should be our ‘plan A’.  It should be where we start with everything we do.

There has never been a mighty movement of God where He did not call His people to pray.  Prayer revives the hearts of God’s people as it prepares our communties for God’s word to be spread.  As we pray for our communities, we can begin to see a spiritual awakening around us that is prompted by God, not our gimics.  Prayer allows us to tap into God’s power.  Realizing all of this, we can know that concentrated prayer has the power to literally change the world around us.  A great way to put our prayers into motion is through prayer walking our communities and neighborhoods.

Prayer walking is putting legs to your prayers.  Instead of sitting in your house praying, it puts you into the community where the people are living.  This allows you to see the area that you’re praying for and be more intentional in your prayers.   You may see kids toys in a yard and know to pray for the kids at that house, you may see recreational items in a yard and pray specifically for safety and protection.  Every house you walk by you can pray that God will bring them closer to Him and into a relationship with Him.

Prayer walking makes us more aware of what is around us and helps us see prayer needs of the area on a more personal level.  As we walk through the neighborhoods we are trying to reach, we can begin to feel more connected to the area and learn to pray more specifically.

As you’re preparing to prayer walk, I would encourage you to be ready to share your faith at any point during your walk.  If you’re praying that people would come to know Jesus as their Savior, don’t be surprised if He gives you the opportunity to share your faith as you meet people in their yards, on the street or on sidewalks.

Also, prayer walking can be combined with neighborhood canvasing.  As you are canvasing neighborhoods with door hangers or flyers, include prayer walking as an essential part of this canvasing.  God may use the canvasing to bring people to Him, He may use the prayer walking or He may use a combination of both.

There are 3 areas to pay attention to as you prayer walk:

1.  Before you go:

  • Be sure you’re in good relationship with God. Prepare your heart by praying and studying His word.  Confess your sins to allow him to use you and work through you.
  • Ask God to give you His heart and His eyes for the area.  What is it He wants you to see?
  • Set a time when you will actually go prayer walking.  It is important to schedule it or you will never fit it in.  I’ve noticed there is strength in numbers as we go.  This strength comes from the encouragement and additional prayer support that comes from even having one more person with us as we prayer walk.

 2.  While you’re walking

  • Be sensitive to God’s Spirit.
  • Expect God to do something through His power as you walk and pray.
  • Pray for People, Marriages, Families, Businesses, Government, Leaders, Husbands & Wives, Children, Civic Leaders, Senior Adults, Churches, Revival and Spiritual Awakening, God’s word to spread, people to accept Jesus as Savior and whatever the Spirit prompts you to pray about
  • You can pray out loud as you walk.  This is helpful especially when you are with a group.  You can also pray silently at times.
  • If you encounter people as your walking and praying, you can say, “We’re out praying for people in our community, is there a special way we can pray for you?”

3.  When you finish your prayer walk

  • Celebrate what God is doing and going to do as a result of the prayers.

One last note to consider as you go, EXPECT GOD TO ACT.  Our prayers should be based on a faith in a living God who is active in the world around us.  When you finish your time in prayer.  Expect that things will be different in your perspective, in your desire to see people grow closer to Him, in your hunger to reach the lost and the least around you.  Let God use you to be His hands and feet.


Developing a Prayer Team – Part 2

Earlier this week  I posted about developing a prayer ministry at our church.  I want to continue to share some of the thought process for this ministry.  God has gifted the whole body of Christ to be able to minister to each other.  We as pastors can share the load of ministering to those around us by investing in a group of people who truly care about people.  We can help them know how best to minister to others and give them tools to accomplish this.  As we build this kind of ministry, we can allow God to work through the process in a way that only He can.  Below are the guidelines and principles of this prayer ministry that we have at our church:

Guidelines and Principles

1.   Realize the serious nature of what is happening when someone responds to an invitation.

 

2. Realize that the enemy and human flesh are interested in interfering with what the Holy Spirit is doing during an invitation

 

3.      Always be spiritually prepared to minister.

a.      You should be in unity with those in authority

b.      You should be living a life honoring to God.

c.      You should be meeting with God daily through personal devotions.

d.      You should be available to be led by the Holy Spirit.   

 

4.      Be physically ready.

a.    Breath mints may be a good idea. 

b. Speak pleasantly and remember to smile as someone comes to you. 

c.   Don’t act “spooky” or “super spiritual”.  People are looking for someone real to talk to. 

d.   Don’t be shocked by what you are told or what you see.

 

5.    Always wear your “identification lanyard”. This is what will allow people to know that you have been authorized by the Church to minister to people.

 

6.      Always treat each person with respect and love. Do not be overly “mushy”. 

         

7.    If at all possible, Men minister to men and Women minister to women. There may be exceptions as allowed by the Pastoral Staff.

 

8.   You must know how to guide someone to accept Christ as Savior and how to help them rededicate their lives. 

 

9.    Allow people the freedom to pray alone in the altar if they desire to do so. (Note: if someone is praying in the altar for an extended amount of time, go to them and ask if there is any way you can pray for them.  The Holy Spirit will prompt you and guide you through this.)

 

10.Always ask the person for permission to pray for them. (Is there a way I can pray with you today? Would it be ok if I prayed for you?)

 

11.You should never argue or debate with anyone in the altar area. In fact arguments and debates are seldom fruitful.  Present the truth of God and pray for the person.

 

12.Remove people to the prayer room who need salvation, extended prayer or who are becoming a disturbance to the public service.  (There will be times when you won’t be able to minister effectively due to the music at the altar and may need to go to the prayer room to minister.)

 

13.Give the person your undivided attention.  Realize this is not a time for a life history to be given to you.  Keep the conversational part only to the specifics of their need.

 

14.Without interrogating a person, ask questions to discover their need.

 

15.Don’t give advice or counsel outside spiritual areas. You are a prayer team member not a lawyer or professional counselor.

 

16.Don’t share your problems. This adds more weight to their burden and draws their attention to you instead of Jesus.

 

17.Don’t preach to them—pray with them!

 

18.You need to learn when “not” to pray for someone.  (We don’t pray selfish prayers for people.  We always pray God’s will to be done.)

 

19.You are to be the leader in the conversation. If a friend accompanies the person you are praying with, do not let them take over the situation. The person has come forward to be helped by the church—help them. 

 

20.Obtain information that will be needed for follow-up.

 

21.Always seek the direction of those leading you if a situation arises with which you are not prepared to handle.

 

22.You should demonstrate respect for those leading your team and ministry. If asked to do something, know that your pastors have asked you to do it and there is a good reason.

 

23.Always point them to Jesus. He is the Savior, Healer, and Deliverer.

 

24.Your goal is prayer and ministry that will honor Jesus.

 

25.Remember: You will be blessed for allowing the Holy Spirit to use you.

These guidelines are useful in establishing a clear understanding of how God can use team members as they are open to Him.  It also helps them know how to prepare to minister as well as worship God as they are His hands and feet.  This ministry is still new to our church, but I look forward to seeing what God is going to do as a result of many being prepared to be used by Him.


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