Monday, January 19, 2015

how to conduct a Prayer Meeting 3rd installment on the prayer book


When you have a prayer meeting PRAY instead of talking. I’ve attended many prayer meetings that were intended to last about one hour followed by 15 minutes of fellowship time which is “code” for eating donuts and cookies. People get absolutely giddy about those snacks too. Or the opposite happens; it becomes a burden. You have to pass around a sign-up sheet to get people to bring in a little food and then remind them when it’s their turn. Just save some time and eat at home or better yet eat after you pray, when you get home, so that you were in a state of fasting while you were praying.

Here is a better way to get more prayer done. Instead of having them talking about their request as if they are at a counseling session have them write their requests on a big white board, as they walk in, if you’re in a church building. If you are in a home they can use a sheet of paper and turn those in to the leader OR, and this is the whole point, teach them popcorn style praying.

This is so easy and you can spend the entire hour actually praying. Without any preparation at all everyone sits down. One person agrees to open prayer and to close out the prayer session or another person can do the closing. Then let them know that they are to pray one at a time but they can just pray. Imagine this scenario … I wish I could film this for you: I start to pray about my child’s tooth being pulled. Everyone will catch on and pray with me on that. In fact 3 or 4 other ladies will chime in on Sam’s tooth and how careful the dentist will be and how he won’t be in any pain or get an infection. Believe me they will.

Let’s imagine it’s a larger problem. It can still be done in this style. The Holy Spirit will help you to remain orderly and you will know that it is your turn. Simply pray about your marriage (without gossiping), or the promotion you want, or getting enough money to pay for new tires and the same thing will happen. Others will add to your prayer. And, please let them do that. You, more or less, introduce the problem you want to pray about, by praying about it, and then ALLOW the others to come along and pray FOR you. Do not hog the prayer meeting. Once people come to understand they are not fighting for a chance to pray or going in a circle (that scares some timid people) it frees them up to speak less each time they are going to speak. Their additions will be meaningful and heartfelt….and they know they’ll have another turn. This is not their one and only chance to pray. When the next person prays the same thing happens and as you are led you and two or three others will pray about each need as they arise. There is never any dead-air time. Don’t worry about that and if there is a lull, don’t panic. That just means that all present can remain in a little silent prayer. But it won’t be silent for long, trust me.

We think we need a huge back story when almost always we do not. Those one hour prayer meetings I’ve attended usually consist of each person present going around in a circle talking about their prayer request (too much). Then the leader looks up at the clock and announces there is only 5 minutes left and that means we better “start” praying. It’s five minutes to three and I mean those brownies are not going to eat themselves are they? So in five teensy minutes we cram in all that prayer. Some people promise to keep on praying about the needs shared but either they do or they do not. Or they do not even remember them by time they get to the parking lot.

The ones who are going to remember are the ones who brought a spiral ring binder and you can observe that they are keeping a prayer journal. You can use those when the answers start to come in too. In fact, set the example and carry your notebook with you. When someone tells the group about an answer to prayer you will hear the flutter of paper as they all go looking back a few weeks to see the original request. You can write “Answered” with a big red pen and soon enough your notebooks will fill up with answers. Isn’t that great?

And, can you see the gigantic difference in the two styles of prayer meetings? In one meeting the ladies gossiped (I mean shared their problems and barely prayed, in fact one or two people’s requests usually get skipped due to those darn time constraints) and in the other meeting one full hour of prayer occurred.

Add this: People need to talk out their problems and there is a place for that but let's not call it prayer, let's call it counseling or talking. There is a ministry of listening. That is VERY needed.

Add this: We also READ the Bible for 1 hour too, just read. Didn’t mess around with talking about it and we got so much Bible in us. You can read a lot in one hour. I'm not against Bible study, not at all I've lead a bunch of them and taken a bunch of them. I am in favor of them but plain, straight reading gets a lot of teaching in, a lot!!
Clevsea, copyright 2015

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