Tuesday, July 31, 2007

The Pastor as Prayer Champion

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The Pastor as Prayer Champion


By Phil Miglioratti

As a former senior pastor and a current national prayer mobilizer, I’ve had opportunity to interact with many pastors and prayer leaders. I have experienced that one of the goals of many churches is to enable its lay people to minister. That’s certainly biblical. But often the senior minister will abdicate his responsibility to those who are given leadership in a certain area.

Many ministries flourish under lay leadership. Prayer, however, has a little different dynamic. A good prayer leader can oversee and develop a great deal, and can be an invaluable asset to a church. But prayer will grow far more quickly if the senior pastor stays involved.


Pastors have a lot to supervise! But pastor, if we are in agreement with Acts 6, the early church leaders focused on two things: the Word and prayer. Your church will only grow in prayer as you take an interest in it. You do not need to lead everything, but you should show your congregation that prayer is important to you.

Let me suggest a few ways you can maintain responsibility by becoming a better prayer champion.

A prayer champion practices prayer. Talking with the Lord is a personal, daily experience (1 Thess. 5:17). Develop a hunger for learning about prayer and connecting with God. Don’t let prayerlessness operate in your life. Perhaps you need to take a prayer retreat. Read books such as Deepening Your Conversation with God by Ben Patterson.

A prayer champion promotes prayer. Be an advocate. Challenge your members to make prayer a priority in their lives and to come to corporate prayer times. Cast a vision to become a house of prayer with your leadership. Recruit potential prayer leaders and equip them with resources, workshops and conferences. Present a yearly teaching series on personal and corporate prayer.

A prayer champion participates in prayer. Be visible and verbal in the prayer life of the congregation. Practice 1 Cor. 11:1: “follow my example as I follow the example of Christ.” If you want to see corporate prayer increase, regularly participate in prayer meetings, either by facilitating or merely taking a seat in the circle. Allow people to pray for you. Many pastors have a team of men and women who shield him or her through ongoing prayer. More and more pastors also demonstrate their personal participation by joining a Pastors’ Prayer Group (http://www.nppn.org).

A prayer champion provides a variety of prayer opportunities. A one-size-fits-all approach seldom works even for a small congregation. Work with your prayer team to develop ways members can connect. Introduce a prayer room, a prayer chain, have a concert of prayer. Plan a prayer retreat for leadership and ministry teams. Encourage Prayer-during-the-Worship Service Teams. The place of prayer needs many doors and windows to encourage optimum participation.

A prayer ministry team of laypeople is a vital cog in growing prayer in your church. But every congregation needs a pastor prayer champion—a man or woman of God who leads the charge into and out from the prayer closet. If you refocus your efforts in the prayer arena, you will see positive results in every aspect of ministry. Just as the early church leaders pulled back from other things they were doing—perhaps it’s time to refocus your energies as well.

--Rev. Phil Miglioratti is the director of the National Pastor’s Prayer Network, the managing editor of The Praying Pastor e-magazine and the facilitator of CPLN.===>Click headline to become a CPLN member . . .


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Sunday, July 29, 2007

Uncommon Prayer ~ From the Churches of Revelation

Praying Through the Mistakes of the Churches in Revelation

The seven churches of Revelation all experienced God's divine power as they began—everywhere God manifested, a church sprang to life. New believers were added daily. But a visit to those locations in present-day Turkey is a startling reminder that powerful moves of God can flourish and then man can cause them to fail. Something similar happened to Aaron and the elders of Israel. They saw God and even ate and drank in His presence (Ex. 24:9-11). But after this incredible experience, they returned to their people and participated in idolatry (Ex. 32).

As we pray for revival to come, perhaps we should also pray for hearts that will receive and retain it. Praying through the warnings Jesus gave to the seven churches can help us to avoid pitfalls and keep the fire burning.

1. Lord, bind our hearts to You so that we will not forsake the passion of first love. Recall to our memory every evidence of Your manifest presence so that we will not forget the excellence of the lofty position You have given us. We acknowledge our disobedience in not doing the things You've shown us to do at first. We desire to be obedient in the little things (Rev. 2:4-5).

2. Abba, help us to develop such a deep love relationship with You that all fear of suffering melts away, for Your Word says that perfect love casts out fear. Prepare our hearts for persecution so that we will stand strong and faithful even to the point of death (Rev. 2:10).

3. Holy Spirit, help us discern false doctrine. Teach us to rightly divide Your Word of truth so that we do not fall into apostasy. Give us a hunger for Your Word so that we desire to read it, memorize it, and meditate on it. That way we will be able to test every spirit to know if it is from You (Rev. 2:14-15).

4. Father, keep us from tolerance for the sake of tolerance alone. Help us to despise the things that You despise and love the things that You love. Grant us repentance quickly when we are in sin. Help us to recognize Satan's schemes and flee from them (Rev. 2:20-24).

5. We ask You to keep setting alarm clocks! Wake us up! Help us exercise the faith we have to complete what You have given us to do. Use whatever means necessary to help us remember what we've heard, to act on it quickly, and to turn from our wicked ways! Oh, Lord, we long to walk with You, dressed in white (Rev. 3:2-4).

6. Lord, we pray for an iron grip to hold on to what we have so that no one will take our crown (Rev. 3:11).

7. Father, turn up the heat so that we will remain hot. We accept Your counsel, Lord! Give us spiritual salve for our eyes so that we can see our true state: that we are pitiful, poor, blind, and naked. Refine us, please! Clothe us in Your righteousness. Lord, we desire to be earnest! (Rev. 3:14-19).

Above all, give us ears to hear what the Spirit is saying to us!

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Saturday, July 28, 2007

Kids and Prayer . . .

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"Unless I'm careful, I can do a poor job of choosing words
my children fully understand."
David Staal, Leading Your Child to Jesus


Making Your Children's Ministry the Best Hour of Every Kid's Week
by Sue Miller, David Staal
"Children's ministry is an adventure, and I sure love adventure stories..." (more)

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Saturday, July 21, 2007

RESORUCE ~ Prayer Reuqest Contact Pad


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Are We Praying "Accidental" Prayers?

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Accidental Prayer

As my five-year-old son and I were headed to McDonald's for breakfast one day, we passed a car accident. Usually when we see something terrible like that, we say a prayer for those who might be hurt, so I pointed very quickly and said to my son, "We should pray."

From the back seat I heard his earnest request: "Please, God, don't let those backed up cars block the entrance to McDonald's."

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Sunday, July 15, 2007

Scripture Prompt for Uncommon Corporate Prayer

PrayerNet of Fredericksburg - banner 1

Cultivating a Sense of Corporateness in Prayer

It came as a shock to me to discover that prior to my conversion I was an object of God's wrath. I thought He was at best just disinterested, but to discover that I was condemned under the terrible judgment of God certainly caught my attention! I was born with a sin nature that made sinning as inevitable as a pig wallowing in the mud. The unalterable law of God's moral universe is "the wages of sin is death" and "the soul that sins shall die". What a hopeless situation!

"But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us,even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ-by grace you have been saved-and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus." Ephesians 2:4-7]

Scripture: Matthew 6:9
Pray then like this: "Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.

How thankful we should be for the "But Gods" of the Bible! Into an impossible situation where there was absolutely no hope God offered a most improbable solution, the death of His only begotten Son as a sinless sacrifice for our sin. This one act, when the full import of it dawns upon our soul in eternity, will be sufficient to keep us praising the Father more and more for ever and ever! It would be enough that God would deliver us from Hell, but God's immense heart of love could not be satisfied until we were brought near to Him in the most intimate of family relationships, that of sons and daughters, co-heirs of the universe with His eternal Son Jesus Christ!

What an immense encouragement this must be to those who pray! We have been perfectly reconciled to our Father by the blood of Christ! When we approach Him in prayer, God receives us not reluctantly as servants or slaves but readily and joyfully as dear children! His arms of love are wide open day or night. We are "accepted in the beloved". The moment of conversion, the Father places within our hearts the "Spirit of adoption crying, "Abba! Father!"

But there is more! As we approach the Throne of Grace, we become aware that there is a countless host of brothers and sisters in Christ, who are there with us, the family of God, a numberless multitude both past and present. The lone voice of worship converges with the "great cloud of witnesses" to become a mighty chorus ringing God's praise throughout the endless ages of eternity.

Father, we thank You that we are no longer hopelessly condemned but have been perfectly and eternally reconciled by the atonement of Your precious Son on the Cross! Thank You for the "Abba cry" of adoption deep within our hearts continually bearing witness that we are children of God. Thank You, Father, that we are never alone. You have "set the solitary in families". We are now children of the Most High fully "accepted in the Beloved". Thank You, Father that You are Our Father! Forever!

If these devotionals have been an encouragement to, please feel free to forward them. Our hope is that the Lord will use these to expand our network of prayer and to help us discover other like-minded souls.

May God unite us in Prayer And Unity!
Bowie and Barbara Curry
PrayerNet of Fredericksburg



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Thursday, July 12, 2007

New Blog by a Church Prayer Coordinator


Walt's Perspective


Photo of Walt DavisWalt Davis is FCC's "Missionary In Residence", and prayer is his focus. Besides assisting churches with prayer efforts, Walt will be helping our church move toward becoming a "house of prayer". Walt has an office at FCC and is available for prayer and/or consultation. More about Walt and his wife, Zelda >>


Too Busy to Pray ... Don't Forget To Pray! ... The 'Real' Lord's Prayer ...
By Davis, Walt

===>Click headline to access Walt's blog . .



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Sunday, July 01, 2007

Uncommon Prayer ~ From Vision to Victory

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Note>>> Use the following outline as a format for an hour or session of prayer. Consider introducing each segment with a comment from Pastor Rick (give him credit when you begin). As you transition to each new segment, instruct the pray-ers to use the question as the launching point of their petitions . . .

From Vision to Victory

By Rick Ezell


"For as he thinks within himself, so he is" (Prov 23:7 NASB).

Some years ago a magazine pictured a man staring out of a window; the caption read: "Why does this company pay this man $100,000 to look out a window?" Because the lifeblood of any organization lies in ideas and creative thinking.


Thinking is powerful. Flying a plane, air conditioning, cell phones, vaccines, the World Wide Web-without thinking, these were "impossible." Everything begins with a simple thought.


Ideas are a great moving force of history. For that reason, thinking is a critical need of leadership. We are never free to do what we cannot conceive. A leader's thinking must shaped by the following:


Vision: What Is Our Dream?

Carl Sandburg was right: "Nothing happens unless it is first a dream."


Vision is a process of the mind-it's mental, not visual. Vision is seeing what everybody has seen but thinking what nobody has thought. Vision, in a biblical context, is to ask: What would God have me do? What does God want with our organization, our church, our ministry, our family? Where does God want us to go?


Someone has said that what is needed to build pyramids is someone who can think and ten thousand people who can grunt. Unless at least one person is thinking, no pyramids will be built-and neither will a church or business or ministry or family.


Values: What Is Important?

Values have to do with how we treat people, how we do our work, what is important to our organization. Values are the standards, the principles, the code of conduct that characterizes our organization.


Organizations don't dream up values, they already exist. But leaders give the organization's values shape and form. It's like some universities that decide to pour sidewalks after students have first worn a path. Look at your organization. Where are the well-worn paths-the actions, the beliefs, the attitudes-that matter most. These are your values: make them known.


Venture: What Are We Willing to Risk?

Organizations that make a difference are willing to think outside the box. For example, a company was in the well-digging business. For years the employees had thought only in terms of how to make better augers to dig wells. They hired a new president and on his first day at work he said, "We are no longer in the well-digging business. We are in the hole-making business." Thus his employees began to think in terms of efficient and effective means of making holes, and they soon discovered that lasers dug holes better than augers. They achieved the same goal but accomplished it more efficiently.


Look at things differently, and take risks as a leader.


Vehicle: What Will Get Us There?

Once the vision, values and venture are in place, we need to think about what steps to take to arrived at our objective. How can we accomplish our desired outcome? A dream without a strategy is merely wishful thinking, but with a strategy it becomes powerful thinking.


Victory: What Will the Celebration Be Like?

A leader thinks like a champion. He or she thinks in terms of success, not just "getting by." The leader has the ability to stir things up, to capitalize on a unique window of opportunity. The end result is to move forward, to accomplish goals, to be God's faithful servant, to celebrate being a part of God's kingdom.


Today, wake up and start thinking. Take off your nightcap and put on your thinking cap.

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Jesus Messes With A Rountine Prayer Life



"Jesus, teach us to pray”
by Brian Coday

Our little neighborhood Bible study group finished our meeting last night with prayer. The group is a great mix of people from many different walks of life. There are “professional” Christians, new Christians, normal Christians and non-Christians that attend each week.

One beautiful thing that we all have in common is that we can all do better with our prayer life. All of us can improve, increase and intensify our personal prayer life, no matter how long we have been praying to the God of all creation.

The final comment during our closing prayer was something like “Lord, help us improve our prayer life.” The disciples of Jesus said something similar at least a couple of times in the New Testament.

Recently, I had the privilege of listening to a series of sermons by pastor Andy Stanley of Northpoint Baptist Church in Georgia titled “Permission to Speak Freely.” The messages were all about Jesus’ teaching on prayer. What follows is a very rough explanation of how the truths revealed in that series have changed my prayer patterns in the last several months.

The disciples of Jesus were, for the most part, young Jewish men who had grown up hearing prayers, reading prayers from the Old Testament texts, memorizing prayers, and witnessing the countless prayers of the priests and religious leaders of the day. They had a working knowledge of how prayer was done. But after spending time with Jesus and noticing how HE prayed, they felt compelled to ask Him to “teach us to pray.”

It’s interesting that Jesus didn’t tell them that they already knew how to pray. Instead, he instantly began teaching them what is important and what’s not important when it comes to prayer. One of these instances is recorded in Matthew 6:6-12:

But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

I have missed the importance of the beginning of this passage for years. There is a great deal of teaching being done in these few verses that has the potential to vitally change your prayer life. Jesus was telling His disciples that if they really want to pray like He prays, then they need to take some time to pray in private.

We know that Jesus didn’t always go to the same room and close the door behind Him when He prayed, but He did consistently find private places to spend time in intimate prayer with His Father. How many times a week do we do that? How many times in a year? If we want to learn to pray like Jesus, finding a private place on a regular basis seems to be a very important example of His to follow.

Jesus then told His disciples something that messes up my prayer patterns completely. In essence, Jesus told them (and is telling us) that our words are not really that important to God. Neither are the lists of things that we consider “needs,” because God knows about these even before we ask. Under normal circumstances, asking God for things accounts for about 98% of my prayer time!===>Click headline to access compelte article . .


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