Monday, April 30, 2007

Is This Church A Praying Church? How to Diagnose

Phil -
Thought you might be interested in this. I have been receiving church staffing for around 1 1/2 years and some of the articles are very helpful. I believe this is a great article.
Doug Karius, First Baptist Peru
ChurchStaffing.com

Diagnose: Is the church a praying church? ?
Dr. Chuck Lawless

Prayer is the means by which we get the power to grow a God-honoring church. Most leaders are well aware of this truth. The problem, though, is this: most churches pray reactively rather than proactively. That is, they respond in prayer when a need develops, but they seldom take charge in prayer by seeking God's face before a problem develops. Even our prayer lists reflect this tendency, as we include on the list primarily those who have made known their need for prayer.

In my book, "Discipled Warriors," I compare "churches that talk about prayer" with "churches that really pray." Perhaps this comparison is a starting point to evaluate whether a church is a praying church:

Churches that talk about prayer . . .

* tell people to pray.
* announce prayer meetings.
* preach about prayer.
* may have a prayer list.
* may have a prayer ministry as one among many.
* have leaders who talk about prayer.

Churches that really pray . . .

* teach people to pray.
* actually pray at prayer meetings.
* preach about prayer and pray during preaching.
* intentionally pray through the prayer list.
* have a prayer ministry that covers every other ministry.
* have leaders who model prayer.

Here are some other ways to determine whether a church is a praying church===>Click headline to access . .


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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

RESOURCE ~ Make Prayer Their 2nd Language

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Making Prayer Your Second Language is a local church, 4-week preaching campaign created specifically to increase the prayer life of your congregation. Each week of this sermon series includes an easy-to-use sermon manuscript, powerful graphics, moving video and numerous worship service elements designed to strengthen the impact of your message. This entire series comes on DVD-ROM making it simple to use. The series is also customizable so you can preach each sermon to your congregation with very little effort.

Pastors around the world are using our proven multi-week campaign system to preach powerful and effective sermons that increase the learning of their congregations. To find out more about enhancing the prayer life of your congregation with this series, visit us at http://www.tppt.org/prayer Or call 1-866-433-PRAY

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A Video on Great Presidential Prayers — Receive a powerful video that features inspirational Presidential prayers, designed as the perfect kick-off for your four-week series. Plus, also receive:
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4 Sermons — Each manuscript focuses on one of the four prayer aspects of ACTS (Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication). Use all four messages to conduct a 4-week mini series that will enhance the prayer life of your entire congregation.

Over 175 Pre-Built Graphics — Designed in both JPEG and PowerPoint, these graphic images will enhance the quality and strength of your messages. Blank slides provided for customizing the sermon to your style.

4 Videos — Each church video is a moving collage of imagery and Bible verses outlining the principles of the ACTS model, and setting the tone for each of your messages.

5 Sets of Worship Service Elements — Each element is designed to increase the depth and breadth of impact in this church-wide campaign by harmonizing your worship ministry to your pulpit ministry.

1 Sample Prayer Journal — Help your entire congregation deepen their prayer lives by encouraging them to journal their prayers in the four important areas. The Prayer Journals in this series are a practical way for your people to practice your sermons at home everyday.

How to contact The Presidential Prayer Team:
1. By Mail: PO Box 89130 Tucson AZ 85752
2. By Phone: 1-866-433-PRAY
Our Member Service Center is open Mon-Fri 8am-4:30pm (MST)
3. By Email: Info@PresidentialPrayerTeam.org
4. By Fax: 520-797-7176

Membership in The Presidential Prayer Team is free, but PPT operates due to generous Members who support our nationwide prayer efforts. To say “thanks’ for your support, we like to send you helpful Prayer Resources to assist you in your prayer life.

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One Another Praying: Moving Beyond "Organ" Recitals

Praying for One Another


“For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light” (Colossians 1:9-12).


Haven’t you ever thought to yourself, “Lord, how should I pray? I just don’t know how to pray for this person.” As we learn to pray for others, it is great to realize that the prayers in the Bible help us to know how to pray for one another in the body of Christ. They give us tremendous insight into how we can thoroughly intercede for each other and be right on target with our prayers. The Apostle Paul was able to pray for the Colossians without having ever met them in person. We should never think that we don’t know how to pray for another believer. These verses show us how! Today we will be looking at the great prayer of Paul for the church as found in Colossians 1:9-12.


During the recent Easter season, we saw the greatness of Jesus Christ in His death and resurrection! He is our life and message - our everything. He is the answer to every problem and the hope of all mankind. My husband and I recently watched The Passion of the Christ” and were once again deeply touched by all that Jesus went through for each one of us. We must keep Christ at the center of everything. The Apostle Paul was very concerned with the church of Colosse because they had gotten off track. They wanted more than Christ - they had lost their focus. It’s so easy to get out of alignment with what the purpose of life really is. This is one reason we must pray for one another.


“The church in Colosse was in danger of losing its grasp of Christ’s supremacy. Instead of being the integrator of all things, Christ was being integrated into the Colossians’ schemes. Instead of Christ alone, they wanted Christ plus - Christ with supplements. Paul wanted the Colossians to know that Jesus isn’t one of the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. He isn’t even the greatest of the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. He is the one ‘in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge’ (Colossians 2:3).” Prayer Devotional Bible

What to Pray for One Another


“The letter to the Colossians calls us to pray and to do everything in the name of our great Christ. Paul’s prayer for these people is a model of pastoral concern coupled with theological acuity. Paul knows that ideas have far-reaching consequences for good or for bad; there is no idea more determinative of everything else than our understanding of Christ. Our faith, and our prayers, will be as big or as small as our grasp of his greatness.” Prayer Devotional Bible


What kind of prayer should we pray for another Christian? What should we pray for the church in any nation? Pray the following character qualities into the lives of individual believers, your church or the churches in your nation.

  • To be filled with the knowledge of God’s will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding - Pray that they would understand what God wants them to do and gain spiritual wisdom from Him.

  • To live a life worthy of the Lord - Pray that their lives would honor God in every aspect of life in the home, workplace, or out in the neighborhood.

  • To please Him in every way - Pray that they would please God always and that they would know how to put their faith into practice by helping others.

  • To bear fruit in every good work - Pray that they would continually do good and kind things to others and that their actions would be fruitful.

  • To grow in the knowledge of God - Pray that they would learn to know God better and better.

  • To be strengthened with all power according to His glorious might - Pray that they would be strengthened within with His mighty power that never ends.

  • To have great endurance and patience - Pray that they would learn to persevere even when it is hard.

  • To joyfully give thanks to the Father - Pray that they would continually walk in God’s joy and learn to be thankful in all circumstances.

Choose five Christians and faithfully pray Colossians 1:9-12 into their lives. You may pick your family members, friends, Christian leaders or anyone in the body of Christ. Realize that when you pray these prayers for someone else, you are praying a powerful Scriptural prayer that will have great effect. God’s Word does not return void, and He loves to answer prayers based on the Bible. I am learning more and more to pray the Bible, and I find it to be extremely helpful on every occasion. When I don’t know how to pray, I pray the Bible. Some other Apostolic prayers in the Bible are Philippians 1:3-4, 8-11, Colossians 1:2-4, 9-12; 4:2-4, 12, I Thessalonians 3:9-12, 5:23-25 and Ephesians 1:15-20, 3:14-21, 6:18-20.


“Prayer is the match that lights the fuse to release the explosive power of the Holy Spirit in the affairs of men."


Together in the Harvest, Debbie Przybylski, Intercessors Arise

deb@intercessorsarise.org


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Saturday, April 07, 2007

Inner~Views: Author of New Resource: Strategic Prayer

NPPN Interviewed Eddie Smith, President of the US Prayer Center and Co-Author of "Strategic Prayer: Applying the Power of Targeted Prayer" Strategic Prayer

NPPN ~ Eddie, you have published dozens of books on prayer that are blessings to the Body of Christ. Why another one? Why this one?

First, thank you for the interview, Phil. Frankly, this book is a concept that my coauthor Michael L. Hennen developed. He actually shared the idea with me several years ago. When my publisher asked me last year if I had an idea for my next book, I remembered what Michael had shown me and contacted him. We agreed to coauthor this remarkable book===>Click headline to order the book . . .

NPPN ~ You teamed with Michael L. Hennen on this book. How did this make "Strategic Prayer" a stronger work?

Michael is in his early forties, I'm in my mid-sixties. My experience has mostly been in the U.S. Michael's experience has mostly been on the mission field, in some of the most dangerous places on earth. Today he serves several international ministries as a church planter and leadership development specialist in the Middle EastHe's a teacher, I'm an exhorter. We each brought our experiences and understanding to this project.

NPPN ~ Is "strategic" just another buzz-word to make ordinary prayer sound more interesting?

Not at all. As I see it, strategic carries at least three meanings.
  • First, if something is strategic it's important or essential.
  • Second, something is strategic when its part of an overall plan with a specific objective. (In military terms, it is something that's intended to destroy the military potential of one's enemy.)
  • Finally, today "strategic prayer" typically means prayer directed against the work of those Paul mentions in Ephesians 6:12. Tactical praying is when we pray for people, i.e. a child who's abusing drugs. Strategic praying is when we pray against the demonic entities that are manipulating that child.
NPPN ~ Explain what you mean by "Our book, 'Strategic Prayer,' is more than a text, it's a tool."

Phil, most of my books on prayer are basically Chapters that consist of specific lessons. This new book has chapters too. But the chapters in this book are relatively small. Each chapter explains one of twenty-seven military principles that we've applied to prayer. But once briefly explained, we offer a list of Key Points from the chapter; a list of Spiritual Reconnaissance questions pertaining to the chapter; and a list of questions that enable the reader to personalize the issue the chapter presents.The book ultimately provides a "spiritual map" for effective intercession. More than spiritually mapping a city or land area, with this book one can "spiritually map" issues like a lost husband, a drug-abusing teen, or division in a church.

NPPN ~ Would it be accurate to say that "Strategic Prayer" is a shift from reactive to proactive spiritual warfare?

Exactly. In fact, most prayer today is reactive prayer. I asked a large conference in a northeaster city, "How many of you can tell me 10 things the devil is doing in your city?" Every hand went up. I said, "I'm not interested in what the devil is doing. Can anyone tell me 10 things Christ is doing in your city?" Not one hand was raised."Interesting," I said, "You are more familiar with the work of Satan than you are with the work of Christ. You are Christ's Bride, his helpmeet. As he only did what he saw the father doing (Jn 5:19), you're here to assist him in what he's doing. If you don't know what that is, then who or what is directing your praying-Satan?" Sadly, we typically pray in reaction to what the enemy is doing, rather than proactively praying in cooperation with what Christ is doing.Even in the Lord's Prayer we're taught the proactive prayer, "Deliver us from the evil one." When we do that, we're asking heaven's court for a "restraining order" against the devil.

NPPN ~ How is this new book a useful tool for:

==> Pastors & Congregational Prayer Leaders?

  • Eighty-five percent of the adults in the last church that Alice and I served as pastors were intercessors. Our corporate prayer meetings were amazing, well attended, and exciting. Pastors from other churches routinely visit our prayer meetings to see how they were conducted. There are many reasons why they were so well-attended. One of those reasons had to do with purpose, direction, and measurable results. Every corporate prayer meeting had strategic targets, clear purpose, and built in measures of accountability. Those attending knew they were part of accomplishing something remarkable that they could never have accomplished on their own. They also knew that when the prayer meeting was over, we would research the issue for the next month to see if there was any evidence that we had hit the target.If anyone sitting in a corporate prayer meeting can't explain the specific target for the evening, and the desired result, the leader has failed. That lack of leadership will eventually cause folks to lose interest and fall away.The level of direction and the tools provided in this book will help pastors and prayer leaders establish specific targets, and direct strategic prayer toward them.

==> Intercessors?

  • Similarly, individual prayer requires preparation. An attorney may spend 95% of his time preparing his case, and only 5% of his time standing before the judge pleading his case. Unfortunately some intercessors spend 5% of their time preparing their case, 95% of their time pleading their case, and wonder why they are ineffective.This book is a tool that will enable an individual intercessor to "spiritually map" any issue for effective prayer. One mother was distraught about her wayward son who had joined the Army. She visited him at the Army base, and on the way home she saw this book at a friend's house. She asked if she could borrow it, and later she wrote, "By the time my plane landed I had read the first five chapters and completed all the 'mapping assignments' in them. I now know exactly how to pray for him. I can't wait to read the rest of this book!"

NPPN~ "There is no power in prayer!" What does this mean and how would an understanding of this truth transform the prayers of Christians and the praying of the Church?

Too many of us are trying to manipulate God with prayer. We think if we pray long enough, hard enough, and get enough people involved in doing it, that God will simply have to send a revival. We need to know that revival is a gift to receive, not a goal to achieve. And, as you've pointed out, there is no power in prayer. God is the source of power, not prayer. Prayer accesses his power! Through it, we joint-venture with him in the family business-extending the Kingdom!Bro. Phil, most of us are familiar with the electroshock weapon law enforcement uses called a Taser gun. It shoots barbs attached at the ends of two electrical wires into the flesh of a victim. Once hit, the unit sends a million volts of electrical power into the victim through those wires. The power isn't in the barbs or the wires. But they enable the power to get to the target. Therefore they must be aimed effectively.

NPPN ~ Eddie, please write a prayer for those who desire to apply the power of targeted prayer.

"Father, I thank you for the one reading this message today. I thank you for their hunger to know you better and pray more effectively. I pray that you will equip them and enable them to move up to higher levels of prayer-praying to extend your Kingdom. You've taught us how to pray to receive; how to pray to relate to you (intimacy); and now you're calling us to pray to produce-to fill the earth with the knowledge of your glory! In Christ's name I ask, Amen."

{Eddie & Alice Smith offer a free 52-week online school of prayer at www.TeachMeToPray.com}


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Prayer: The Heavy Lifting of Theology

Usually, there's no finer book recommendation than that sweet phrase "I couldn't put it down." But let me recommend Philip Yancey's new book on prayer with the opposite, yet equally enthusiastic, encomium: one of the many small evidences of this book's forcefulness is the number of times

I did put it down—the number of times I interrupted my reading because I was inspired to pray. I own and have read dozens, possibly hundreds, of books on prayer. A whole bookcase, right next to my desk, is filled with them: Dom Gregory Dix's The Shape of the Liturgy, Roberta Bondi's To Pray and to Love, F.D. Maurice's sermons on the Lord's Prayer … .

Once upon a time I thought that my devotion to reading about prayer was a mark of my spiritual advancement. Eventually I came to realize my mistake: in fact, I love books on prayer not because I am uniquely prayerful, but because it is far, far easier to read about prayer than to actually pray. It is the rare book about prayer that, rather than inadvertently distracting me from the pursuit of a praying life, actually prompts me to pray. Yancey's Prayer is one such book, and I am grateful for it.Prayer is one such book, and I am grateful for it. More

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Sunday, April 01, 2007

Is Corporate Prayer Necessary?

Why Pray Together?

“The failure of the church today is the failure to engage in prayer intercession. The motor of this great ship called ‘the Church’ is corporate prayer. When the Church gathers, she should pray together in one accord, with one voice. When we, as God’s people, elevate and return prayer intercession to its rightful place, the Church will function as it is built to, with grace and power. Prayer is the power that unlocks the door of God’s treasure house… The Church’s ultimate effectiveness will be determined by its corporate prayer life." Franlk Damazio

Is corporate prayer really effective? Yes! Right now we are getting ready to pray together with as many Christians as possible from as many churches as possible in our region for the entire month of April. One-month 24-7 prayer is going to start this Sunday in three cities in our region - Richmond, Williamsburg and Virginia Beach, Virginia. It hasn’t been easy to put this together. It’s taken lots of hard work and many hours of praying in the early hours of the morning. Several of us have expended a huge amount of energy for this task and it’s taken a lot of sweat, faith and prayer. A few questions you may ask at a time like this are, “Why should we pray together? After all, isn’t praying alone or just as effective? Is there any advantage in praying as a group and working so hard to come together corporately?”

The Bible shows us the importance of praying together. Jesus expected His disciples to pray together, the early church prayed together, and there are several verses that show us some advantages to praying together. There is a different dynamic going on when we pray together in a group. I am not suggesting that individual prayer is of little importance. No, it is powerful and effective! But corporate prayer and intercession is even more powerful and effective than individual prayer. There is something that happens in the heavens when an entire city or region chooses to pray together. An amazing thing begins to occur through united prayer that brings heaven to earth in a special way.


What are the reasons for power in corporate prayer
?

“There has never been a spiritual awakening in any country or locality that did not begin in united prayer.” David Bryant

Why take all the trouble to come together to pray? Here are a few of the reasons:

· The Power of Agreement - Where two or more agree about an issue they are asking God for, and they are asking according to God’s will and purpose, He answers. The word “agree” means sympathy in the Greek, and it means to sound together in harmony with one another concerning what God wants. Imagine the power released when whole churches come together to pray in a city!

“Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven” (Matthew 18:19).

· The Power of Confirmation - When we pray together, we can test whether something is God’s will or just a good idea. God brings confirmation through corporate intercession

“This is the assurance we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us - whatever we ask - we know that we have what we asked of him (I John 5:14-15).

· The Power of the Church - When we pray together, we are not bringing our own concerns and needs but we are representing the Body of Christ before the throne of God. The Church has the authority to facilitate God’s will and purposes on the earth.

And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven" (Matthew 16:18-19).

· The Power of Togetherness - When we pray together, we encourage one another, and our own burdens seem to lighten. Our faith is ignited and we become stronger spiritually. We have experienced a change in our personal lives because of corporate prayer.

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another - and all the more as you see the Day approaching” (Hebrews 10:24-25).

· The Power of Revelation - God brings deeper revelation when we pray together. He gives stronger insight into truth for the city, the church and our own lives. We see this in the book of Acts.

While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, ‘Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.’ So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off” (Acts 13:2-3).

Getting a group of Christians to pray together is hard work! Nobody ever said it would be easy. Try starting and maintaining even a small prayer meeting. All hell fights against corporate prayer. When the believers in a city decide to pray together, the warfare intensifies. It’s because corporate prayer is just too powerful. Corporate prayer does just too much damage to the enemy’s plans in a city. Corporate prayer comes too close to bringing real revival in a city and even a nation. Is it any wonder that the battle rages? But the worth far surpasses anything any one of us could do alone. We need one another. Isn’t it time that we learn this simple truth? Isn’t this the season that we finally join forces and take back the nations for God and His Kingdom? The urgency of the time cries out for this.


“Unity is a revelation of the spirit of God that sees that only together can we get the results that God wants. I need my brother. I can’t do it alone. We must give ourselves away to one another and to Him. We must look at ourselves in a kingdom connection. It is in all of us, not one of us.” George Otis, Jr., Transformation video

Together in the Harvest,
Debbie Przybylski

Intercessors Arise

deb@intercessorsarise.org




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