Tag 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.


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.


Developing a Prayer Team – Part 1

It’s a privilege to be able to come and worship God through singing and it’s amazing to hear the word of God presented in a relevant way each week.  But the most important part of a worship service, as we give ourselves to God, is when we respond to the worship and do something with what we have heard.  That’s why I believe the invitation is the most important part of the church service because it is our chance to respond to what God has revealed to us.  

Many are moving away from having this as a part of their service for a variety of reasons from not capitalizing on emotional responses to the message, to not wanting ‘seekers’ to feel uncomfortable or pressured.  But if we close the door to the freedom of the Spirit we actually hinder the growth of our people and the movement of God.  Because I do value the ‘invitation’ or ‘altar call’ portion of the service, I recently was able to develop a Prayer Team that is available to help minister during this time and continue throughout the week.  Some of this ministry is described below:

Overview of Ministry

The purpose of this team is to pray with, direct, and love people.  It is to show comfort and consideration to others.  Having a burden to help people is one thing. Actually acting on that burden is something else. John 12:8 says there will always be people who are hurting and who need help and encouragement. That’s why this ministry is being formed.  We will be available for people to seek us out during the invitation.  But we won’t just wait for others to seek us out; but rather seek them out. Pray for, look for, and act on opportunities to comfort others. If we don’t, who will?

What will you do on this team? You will…

  • Lead people into a personal relationship with Christ.
    • With new salvations we make sure they understand what they prayed and believe, reinforce and encourage them, invite them to meet the pastor and sign up for the next baptism. Move them towards the next session to introduce our church. (We will follow the New Believer Process to accomplish this.)
    • Give guidance to those who receive Christ at the altar
  • Support those who want to rededicate or strengthen their walk with the Lord
    • When someone comes forward to rededicate their life, always explore whether they have had an initial dedication. (Is there a time in your life when you made Jesus the Lord and Savior of your life?)
  • Pray for the prayer needs of those who come forward for prayer
    • With prayer needs, we let people talk for a few minutes but then ask them to be specific as to how we can pray for them. We ask our prayer team not to give counsel but to offer prayer. Many times people will ask important questions like “Should I quit my job?” Our role is not to make decisions for people but to pray with them as they make the decision. Afterwards, they’re invited to a small group if they’re not in one.
    • If someone comes forward asking for the elders/pastors to pray over them for healing (according to James 5:13-16), direct them to one of the pastors.
  • Equip others by presenting opportunities for them to grow in their faith (directing to small groups, quiet times, missions, etc)
  • Help those in the prayer ministry understand what they believe, and how they can most effectively help others
  • Encourage those who have matured in the prayer ministry to step out as soul winners
  • Work with People interested in membership
    • If someone comes forward and wants to become a member of the church, start here:
      • Has there been a time when you accepted Jesus as your Savior? … If yes, explore that with them
      • If no, present the gospel … If yes, explore and then sign them up for the next session to ‘Introduce our church‘.
  • Direct people to resources or counseling (we have a handout available in the prayer room to help with this: You can use this as a guide for creating your own: Prayer Team Reference Guide)
  • Pray throughout the services

Follow Up after Sunday

It’s important to fill out a Decision Card on each person you speak with so that you can continue to pray for those requests through the week.  Additionally, the team that serves on Sunday will need to do a follow up phone call at the first part of the week to anyone they counseled.  Also, there will be a letter or email sent out from Pastor/Staff on Tuesday to these people letting them know we’re praying for them and reinforcing the decision that was made.

Requirements to serve on this ministry team:

  1. Must have a personal relationship with God that is being maintained through daily times with Him.
  2. Must be an active member of our Church who has been baptized by immersion and completed the Membership group.
  3. Must be trustworthy, knowledgeable and personal.
  4. Must have a Pastor’s heart. (caring, loving, concerned, bold)

Committing to Serve in this Ministry

Taking the first step to join this ministry might be the hardest part. It’s easy to allow your flesh to refuse to be used by God because of fear: fear that you don’t think you’re ready, fear that you’re not good enough, or fear that you don’t know enough.  I want you to remember that the disciples were ordinary men, but they were available.  If you are available and you want to grow, God will use you. When we face a situation that creates fear in our hearts, we need to remind ourselves of how great our God is and pray that He will grant us courage to overcome our fear.

Every day God gives us opportunities to create meaningful moments where we can reach out and comfort others–close friends, relatives, or complete strangers.  We often miss those opportunities because we fail to open ourselves to those “God moments” each day.  By serving in this ministry, you will not only be able to minister during the invitation, but you will become more aware of other opportunities (“God moments”) daily.

It’s my prayer that this has been helpful to you.


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