Friday, January 30, 2009

Q & A on Facilitating Prayer

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Phil,

I am to co-lead a 90 minute prayer session for our Pastors Prayer Gathering. The focus is giving praise for the God of the City. Can you help me with some guidelines, thoughts, pointers, suggestions. Thanks in advance.


A few thoughts - Always seek the moment-by-moment leadership of the Holy Spirit - Hope they help!
  • Recruit someone who can begin a song when needed. They must participate in the circle, not play piano from outside the circle (2 concentric rows of chairs).
  • Ask them to prepare sets (2-3) of songs that focus on God's character, songs of praise, repentance, seeking, celebration ... You will ask them for a song when needed; they will probably not use all the songs they prepare. Lyrics are unnecessary if the songs (hymns and contemporary songs) are well known - the goal is to sing the song as a corporate prayer, not as a filler or just to sing a song.
  • Sit with your co-facilitator at the "12 o'clock" part of the circle (determine that by the feel of the room, lighting/windows, or (especially) the door participants would walk in and out of - Sit where movement would cause the least distraction.
  • The worship leader does not need to sit next to you two.
  • Eliminate the 2nd row seating directly behind you.
  • Design a format, something like:
    • Welcome ... Housekeeping ... Introductions
    • Cast vision for the purpose of this session (why are we praying along this particular theme? What might the impact be?)
    • Explain how this kind of praying is different than around-the-circle, down-the-list praying:
    • Give instructions:
      • Praying can be spoken, sung (lead out in a song and we will join you), scripture (read a verse of paragraph of scripture as your prayer or as a prologue, or silence (do not interrupt a time of obvious meditation led by the Spirit) ...
      • Listen to the prayer of the person you follow so that your prayer is an extension of their thought, much like in a conversation. Before you begin a new subject, allow someone else to add on to the previous prayer.
      • If you believe the Lord has given you an insight for the entire group, please come and share that with the facilitators before saying anything to the group
      • Some songs will be used as a transition to a new focus but whenever we sing, sing it as a corporate prayer.
    • Start prayer with triads: Find 2 other people, each praying a brief prayer:
      • First person - address the Holy Spirit, asking him to lead and guide all of our praying...
      • Second person - ask the Lord Jesus to reveal the mind of Christ to us so that our prayers are in agreement with his heart...
      • Third person - express to our heavenly Father that our goal is for his kingdom to come and his will to be done more effectively through the Church as a result of our praying today ...
    • Praise to the God of the City
      • Draw triads back to their seats with a song of praise
      • Read a scripture on that theme that can be used to focus and launch prayers
      • Prayers of the people...
      • Inject another song of praise ... more prayers ... allow silence (for some this is adjustment to see if you will really follow all the instructions you gave!) ...
    • Repentance to the God of the City
      • Transition to this focus with a song of conviction
      • Explain corporate repentance is, like Nehemiah and Daniel, leadership repenting for sins that they may not have personally committed
      • Talk about the way the Church has failed to obey, to live up to this reality, to trust ... launch praying from a scripture passage that calls for prayers of corporate repenting: "Father, forgive us for ___."
      • Inject 1-2 additional songs that are prayers of corporate repentance...
    • Agreeing with the God of the City
      • Transition song with a focus on corporate obedience
      • Read a passage of scripture that ca prompt many prayers of how the Church is meant to reveal and reflect the character of God into the city; person-by-person, community-by-community
      • Inject 1-2 additional songs that are prayers of corporate obedience...
    • Yielding to the God of the City
      • Transition song with a focus on the power of the Spirit to bring victory
      • Passage of scripture ... Prayers ... Concluding song of anticipated victory in Christ
    • Debrief
      • Ask for feedback: What was your experience like as we prayed? Anything surprise you?
      • What did God say to us as we heard the prayers he placed in our hearts?
      • How can we implement this style of corporate praying into our congregation?


Note >>> Click here to read my chapter on Leading/Facilitating Corporate Prayer in ...



Click here to buy this new text book on prayer - 80 chapters!

What do you think? Questions?? Feedback???
phil@nppn.org

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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Outward Focusing Your Prayers ~ A Template



Identify a leader or an issue:
  • Arts & Entertainment
  • Business
  • Education
  • Family
  • Government
  • Media
  • Religion

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Sunday, January 25, 2009

Prayer Today ~ Check Out This Website

>>>Note: Walt Davis, Pastor for Prayer for Fellowship Community Church in Norwalk, IA introduced me to this website . . .

Coaching


prayer
Walking Sticks


Walking
7 Days of Solitude



Prayer Biking

Fun
The Fun Factor

prayer
Backyard Cottage



Your Prayer Room

COMING SOON!


Pastor To Pastor


Global Prayer

Prayer Blog

Reflections

2008 Updated Prayer Trainer
These are the newest updates of our prayer training materials in PDF format.

2008 Prayer Training Manual 38 pages
2008 Prayer Workbook 28 pages
2008 Sin-ventory 28 pages
2008 Scriptorium NIV 60 pages
2008 Helps & Tools 59 pages



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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Kids Pray @ PrayKids




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New Year's Resolution: Love Your Neighbor ... Outward Focused Prayer




New Year's Resolution: Love Your Neighbor
by Bret Kincaid


Inspired by President Obama's call to perform an act of community service on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, I thought I'd offer an opportunity to you, Reader, to commit yourself to a New Year's resolution of public service. Perhaps many of you have already committed yourself to engage in public service this year. Still, I offer the following 11 suggestions to help us all live into the second greatest commandment (love your neighbor as yourself) in a year that will surely be full of political and economic challenges. Commit yourself to doing any of these once or as often as you believe you are able to do them.

1. As an act of love and in a spirit of honest and earnest truth-seeking, study the Scriptures and read biblically-based material on public life to help you form or strengthen your faith-based perspective on public life. This exercise will help you perform the following faithfully.
2. Pray for at least one of the following political actors (preferably by name in the case of individuals):
1. President and his advisors
2. Congress
3. Your own congresspersons
4. Bureaucratic leadership (political appointees in each federal department and agency) and civil servants
5. State political leaders (governor, his/her advisors, legislative representatives, bureaucratic leaders, and civil servants)
6. Leaders of local governments (your municipality, school district, county, township, etc.) and local civil servants
3. Pray for leaders, employees, and volunteers of nonprofit organizations doing advocacy (such as Bread for the World or Center on Budget Policies and Priorities) or direct service (a local food bank or after school program, for examples).
4. Keep up on the news and pray for people who are suffering and those who are helping them.
5. Pick a country to learn about and pray for.
6. Pick a policy issue that is dear to your heart, do some research on the issue, and pray for those who have the power to influence that issue.
7. Support an advocacy organization financially.
8. Support a direct service organization financially or by volunteering.
9. Write or call a local, state, or federal representative to respectfully try to persuade him or her to support your position on a particular policy issue.
10. Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper to persuade readers to support your position on a particular public issue.
11. Consider how your church might directly or indirectly influence a public issue and propose this to your church leadership, being willing to take the initiative to do some spade work to help inform and move the church to achieve what you propose.


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Friday, January 16, 2009

Prayer Meeting ~ Not Best Practices

The Prayer Meeting



“I desire therefore that the men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.” 1Tim. 2:8 “So, when he had considered this, he came to the house of Mary... where many were gathered together praying.” Acts 12:12


Prayer has been on the increase in many parts of the world… and that is a very good sign. Prayer meetings are springing up everywhere. The saints, including many leaders are crossing denominational boundaries to meet together for intercession and worship! As you know, throughout Church history, God has stirred extraordinary prayer before He did something of significance. Be attentive, God is about to do something.


Because we want to flow with God’s Spirit as He leads us into prayer, it would seem wise to maximize the effectiveness of our corporate efforts (Prayer leader please take note). Whenever possible intermingle worship with prayer. This will most definitely enhance your prayer time. Also consider singing some of the prayers. You will be surprised how this adds life to the meeting.


For the sake of improvement it may be helpful to mention some common practices that occur during a prayer gathering:

  • The one who is praying dominates the time with longwinded prayers. Prayers must be Spirit-led; and of course, you are to flow with the Spirit for as long (or as short) as He gives utterance. But do not drone on in the power of the flesh.
  • Announcements are made within the prayer. Let’s say that Joe broke his arm. The prayer will usually go something like this: “Dear Lord, you know that Brother Joe broke his arm this past Tuesday and was taken to Mercy Hospital – Room 511...etc.” Wouldn’t it be better to stop the prayer and explain the situation and then pray for Joe’s healing? Surely God knows all of the details; you do not need to remind Him. Also, be sure that your prayer is not gossip!
  • Horizontal, instead of vertical “prayers How many times have you heard a short sermon included in the prayer? In fact, it is seldom directed toward the throne of grace, but rather to the attendees, to teach or exhort. Don’t fool yourself, beloved; this is not prayer.
  • There is a lack of focus upon the One who hears our prayers. When you pray aloud are you wondering how others perceive your petition? (Is it doctrinally correct; does it sound spiritual enough?) Or, are you fixed upon the Lord… thinking of Him and speaking directly to Him?
  • The flow of the Spirit is cut short by a well-meaning pray-er who changes the subject of prayer before the entire objective has been met. For instance: the current topic is spiritual revival in your city. A few people have already prayed for certain aspects of this multifaceted issue and the Holy Spirit intends for there to be several more prayers offered regarding this subject… but then someone begins to pray for those suffering with AIDS. Surely this is a noble prayer, but the timing is off. Allow there to be a “dead spot” before changing topics, so the fullness of God’s purposes can be accomplished.

Ride the wave of the Holy Spirit for as long as He leads. You may enjoy intense prayer for a half-hour, sometimes for several hours. You will know when the session is over - the steady stream of intercession simply dries up. Here is a rule of thumb: If you have to think about what to pray next, it is usually time to take a break or to end the meeting. Dear disciple, don’t become legalistic about these things, but let’s ask God to help us pray most effectively.

Peter Whitehouse

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

For more information or to apply:

Email: info@prayerandhealingcenter.org

Address: 553 Clinton Ave, Albany, NY 12206

Phone: (518) 432-7100

http://www.prayerandhealingcenter.org


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Praying through the Bible

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The One Year Praying through the Bible

Cheri Fuller
click to enlarge
Just as the popular One Year Bible reinforces your habit of daily Bible reading, this new companion volume helps you focus your prayer life. Based on key verses from each day's reading in The One Year Bible, each devotion in The One Year Book of Praying through the Bible also offers a prayer and a relevant quote from a well-known Christian to help you weave together your personal prayers and God's Word for the day. Includes index of dates and Scripture references.


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Monday, January 12, 2009

"If churches would only pray for their pastor"


Phil,
I feel the lack of payer for pastors is why the USA is in a spiritual mess. When one knows the qualifications of a pastor it is mind boggling. Then you realize that no one can fulfill such high standards. The only qualification needed for a pastor is a great love for Jesus Christ and the rest will come if there is a great prayer program in the church. I added a paragraph at the end. Please check this over.
Warner

The Pastor: His Qualifications
God has set some qualifications that must be met in order for a man to be called of God, to have His blessings upon his ministry and be effective as a minister. I must hasten to add that no man will meet every qualification perfectly. These qualifications are what God has set for the ideal preacher and we, being mere mortals, cannot (with our sin nature) perfectly fit into God's perfect mold. However, the man of God should strive to be the best minister he can be with God's help and also strive to meet each of these qualifications as best he can. A pastors burden is very heavy and the church should pray diligently for him at all times.
The love for Jesus Christ must be regarded as the pastor's supreme qualification. All other qualifications are worthless if this is absent.
1. Blameless. Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:6a, 7a).
2. The husband of one wife. (I Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:6).
3. Temperate. (I Timothy 3:2).
4. Prudent. (I Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:8).
5. Of good behavior. (I Timothy 3:2).
6. Given to hospitality. (I Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:8).
7. Able to teach. (I Timothy 3:2; II Timothy 2:24), (Acts 20:28).
8. Not given to wine. (I Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:8).
9. Not violent. (I Timothy 3:3; Titus 1:7), (II Corinthians 10:4).
10. Not greedy for money. (I Timothy 3:3; Titus 1:7).
11. Gentle. (I Timothy 3:3; I Timothy 2:24).
12. Not quarrelsome. (I Timothy 3:3).
13. Not covetous. (I Timothy 3:3).
14. One that rules well his own house. (I Timothy 3:4), (Ephesians 5:22 - 25),
(Proverbs 21:19), (I Timothy 3:5).
15. His children in submission. (I Timothy 3:4; Titus 1:6).
16. Not a novice. (1 Timothy 3:6).
17. Have a good reputation with those outside the church. (I Timothy 3:7).
18. Gentle. (II Timothy 2:24).
19. Meekness. (II Timothy 2:24-25).
20. Not self-willed. (Titus 1:7).
21. Slow to anger. (Titus 1:7).
22. A lover of what is good. (Titus 1:8).
23. Just. (Titus 1:8).
24. Holy. (Titus 1:8).
25. Self-controlled. (Titus 1:8).
26. Holding fast the faithful word that he has been taught. (Titus 1:9).
27. Courageous. (Acts 20:22-24).
28. Diligent. (2 Corinthians 8:22).
29. Prayerful. (Acts 6:4).

===>Click headline to access expanded version of this list . . .

Prayer
A good way to pray is to pray the Lords Prayer of Matthew 6:9-13 and when you come to the end keep on praying. Include praise in your prayers (Psalm 148, 149, 150) for in praise God works wonders (Exodus 15:11). Also, pray for protection as described in Psalm 91, 103:3 and Ephesians 6:10-18. Be confident in your prayers for our Lord has established His throne in heaven and His kingdom rules over all.

Charles H. Spurgeon A choice servant of God in England had in his church a prayer group that prayed for him every time he preached. This resulted in tens of thousands being saved. This procedure should be followed by all churches.

Feel free to share this with others.

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Saturday, January 10, 2009

A Prayer Resource for Expecting Parents


I am a stay at home mom in Atlanta and I just completed a yearlong book project.


The book is called We Are Expecting! It's a keepsake book for the expectant Christian parents!


This prayer book leads expectant parents on a prayer journey from the time of conception, to their baby's birth and through adulthood using Bible verses, a lyrical poem and sweet illustrations. "The book telegraphs the truth about our lifelong hopes for our children and helps us see the big picture that God sees for our little ones," wrote a mother of three in a recent email.


There are so many unknowns during pregnancy. Every expectant parent worries about the health of his or her baby. It is very important to learn to lean on God during this exciting and sometimes stressful time. I pray that this prayer book will be a support for expectant parents and that it will encourage them to pray to God every day for their developing baby.


WeAreExpecting.com is now selling hardcover and paperback copies of the book.


Special features in this book include:

  • Spaces to note milestone dates such as birth, baptism, wedding, etc.
  • Scripture references for each verse of the poem
  • A place to keep your child's first ultrasound picture
  • A place for you to include a favorite picture of your child
  • Space for parents to write down special prayers of their own

My hope is that parents will want to give this keepsake book to their adult child at the appropriate time, possibly after their child reveals to them, that they are now expecting! In this way a tradition of passing this book on is begun.


You can check out the web site here:
http://www.weareexpecting.com

In Christ...

Zuaquis Ross

Author of We Are Expecting! Also seen on Amazon.com



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Friday, January 09, 2009

Inner~View #54: Kids ... Untapped Prayer Power

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Phil Miglioratti interviewed Kathleen Trock of Pebbles and Stones --

An International, Intergenerational, Non-denominational Christian ministry.1 Peter 2:4-12

Phil ~ Kathleen, I've seen many products promoting prayer with children, but you seem to take both children and praying seriously. You are not content to use prayer to keep kids busy in class...

If we relegate prayer to busy work, we misunderstand both God’s nature and the power and reality of prayer. God's ear is turned to hear our children’s hearts in prayer. In Genesis, there’s a story about a young boy whose mother, not wanting to see her son die from starvation, leaves him by a bush. The child begins to cry, and God sends a message to his mother saying; "What is the matter, Hagar? Do not be afraid; God has heard the boy crying as he lies there.” Lift the boy up and take him by the hand, for I will make him into a great nation." Gen 21:17-18 This story gives a glimpse into God’s compassion toward children and His readiness to intervene on their behalf. The cries of children reach God’s ears as prayer. God heard the cries of Ishmael, and He continues to hear the cries of children from around the world. I am hoping that God will use Kids Love to Pray Too to strengthen the prayer lives of our children. I want to encourage children to come to God as their Father, to learn to seek His face and to know His love as He answers their prayers and comforts their hearts. Connecting children to God through prayer invites them into an awesome relationship that will begin to change their life on earth and continue through eternity.


Phil ~ What prompted you to use Love to Pray by Alvin VanderGriend as the basis for Kids Love To Pray Too?

Kathleen ~ I was honored when Dr. VanderGriend asked me if I would be willing to write an accompanying curriculum to his book because we share similar goals. We have a love for prayer and a love for children and their prayer lives. In Love to Pray, Dr. VanderGriend invites readers to view prayer as a relationship with God – a friendship. His heart is to encourage children to connect with God in a real way. Our goals are parallel and his work is an ideal springboard for my curriculum.

Phil ~ You indicate that Kids Love to Pray Too! follows the Pebbles and Stones format ... Please explain that format and how it is unique to teaching children spiritual disciplines such as prayer.

Kathleen ~ Each Pebbles and Stones lesson has eight components based on the seven learning styles explained by Howard Gardner in Frames of Mind. The components are intentionally designed to create an environment where everyone can fall in love with God and where community with one another can grow through prayer. Each lesson’s Scripture passage or Bible story is woven into each component. The most unique and important component of the model is the listening time. During listening time, the participants listen to God, expecting to hear the truths that He is speaking to them through the lesson; the participants respond to God through journaling or drawing. Then each participant has the opportunity to share his or her journal page. The pages launch the group into prayer time, which easily establishes within the heart of each participant the discipline of prayer.

The model also places a high priority on depending on the Holy Spirit and living out our faith in community through prayer. Everyone experiences that prayer often directs our actions.

The following story comes from one of our Pebbles and Stones facilitators in Mombasa, a province in Kenya. He shares about two nine year old boys who were listening to God. The boys said that during their journaling time, God told them to preach to their Muslim neighbors. They asked their teacher how to do this. Their teacher told them to keep praying and ask God how. God showed them that the first step was to become best friends with their neighbors, only then could they tell them about Jesus. For the next three weeks the entire Sunday school class prayed for these two boys and the boys’ neighbors. After three weeks God, used the boys to lead several Muslim families to Christ. The pastor says that the Muslim families now are coming to their church.

In another group, a foster child prayed and asked God to allow her to stay with the family she’d been placed with. She wanted to remain in their family and continue to come to Pebbles and Stones. The following week she ran up to her small group leader, and said, "It worked; I can stay with this family". The group leader writes, “She then boldly shared with our large group how God answered her prayer and that prayer worked. She and her foster sister led us in a prayer of thanksgiving!”

The curriculum is simple and repetitious. Through its simplicity, the curriculum creates a natural “family like” community centered on loving God, others and ourselves. The repetition of journaling and praying helps each participant to develop a life style of prayer and response.


Phil ~ The KLTPT curriculum seems to teach the facilitator how to encourage prayer as he or she dives into each lesson...

Kathleen ~ My desire is that each lesson live first in the heart of the facilitator. Before teaching, the facilitator is encouraged to reflect on the Bible story and answer several probing questions in order to experience the lesson. During the teaching time, the facilitator models prayer by sharing his or her own prayers and inviting others to pray. Prayer is encouraged by allowing time for “conversations with God.” Natural responses from the human spirit to the Holy Spirit are encouraged during the journaling and praying segment. As a result, the full spectrum of prayer is experienced. Participants petition, supplicate, rejoice, cry, worship, engage in plain talk, etc. All of these expressions are valid forms of prayer and are affirmed during the meetings. The Pebbles and Stones model encourages dependency on the Holy Spirit to teach us how to pray and what to pray.


Phil ~ Take us through the eight week journey - What will a child learn about prayer and describe some of the praying experiences.

Kathleen ~

Week 1: What’s the Good of Prayer? This lesson lays the foundation of prayer. It’s the story of a great King who, even though he was a king and controlled his Kingdom, knew the importance of depending on God.

Week 2: Prayer Stoppers and Starters This lesson demonstrates the effects of sin and repentance on prayer.

Week 3: Praying for God’s Gifts In this lesson the participants begin to explore the importance of praying according to God’s will and are exposed to the gifts He offers.

Week 4: Praying for Others God often opens our eyes and hearts to see the needs of others; when He does, it is important to pray for them

Week 5: Pray and Don’t Give Up Through the story of the persistent widow, the participants learn that God does not want us to become tired or weary of praying.

Week 6: Prayer Models A model serves as a pattern; this lesson shows different Biblical models of prayer.

Week 7: Heroes of Prayer: Jesus Everyone has a hero or a heroine. My heroine is Gladys Aylward, who, against great opposition, led hundreds of children to safety during World War II. In this lesson Jesus is viewed as the Hero of Prayer.

Week 8: Prayer Makes a Difference Until we are confident that prayer makes a difference, most of us will not pray.

The following comments from facilitators illustrate what children have learned about prayer:

“The ideas/suggestions/directions have been awesome and the children are encouraged when they realize they have "heard" from God, whether through word, picture, thought, or prayer. The journaling pages are a powerful way for children, even those who are not eloquent with speech, to allow God’s Word to become real to them. Journaling also helps those who are not short on words to keep their focus on God.” Mellissa

“I didn't think kids would sit for 15 minutes and journal at this time of day, but they did. I love it when kids are given the opportunity to build a relationship with God rather than just being told to have one.” Sue


Phil ~ Explain the resources that are included with this curriculum.

Kathleen ~ KLTPT comes with a Teacher Resource CD, a Worship CD and a Song Book.

The Teacher’s Manual includes the following helps.

Unit-At-A-Glance – An overview helps the facilitator quickly grasp the key points of each lesson and invites him or her to experience the prayer lesson before teaching it.

Teaching the Pebbles and Stones Model – Teaching strategies and principles are helpful to those without teaching experience or with training in different approaches.

How to Lead a Child to Christ - This simple approach has brought hundreds into the Kingdom.

Effective Storytelling Tips – Tips gleaned from years of experience will help novice storytellers gain and hold attention.

The Music Book and Worship CD: The CD makes it easy to learn original worship songs, many written by other Pebbles and Stones children. It helps even the most reluctant singers to sing with all their hearts. Learning songs other children have written in Pebbles and Stones group will encourage your group to write their own new songs. The written scores will help musicians lead praise and worship.

The Resource CD contains:

    Lesson Power Points

    Lesson-specific visuals

    G.O.O.D. Acronym Power Point

    Lord’s Prayer Power Point

    Song Lyrics Power Points

    Participant Journal – It’s reproducible, so each child can have their own

    Take-Home Cards – Another reproducible resource.


Phil ~ What are the roadblocks that keep prayer leaders and children's ministers from taking children seriously in prayer, and what steps can we take to change that perception?

Kathleen ~ I believe that we are the biggest roadblock. Many of us, like our parents and grandparents, grew up in a world where “children should be seen and not heard.” By separating children and adults in nearly all church experiences, many churches, as traditional institutions, reflect this same world view or mindset. As a result, most of the church misses the privilege of being with praying children and witnessing firsthand the depth of the prayers of children. We also miss experiencing the awesome response from God as He answers their prayers. We are not the first culture or generation to discount children. The disciples had a similar attitude when people brought children to Jesus. I can only offer conjecture, for the Scriptures do not tell what motivated the disciples to stop the children from coming to Jesus. Perhaps the disciples thought that Jesus would not be interested in children or that the children would interfere with their own plans; perhaps they didn’t trust that Jesus could handle things. In the context of prayer, Jesus demonstrated a kingdom where the young and the old would come together to pray. In the Old Testament, God asked Joel to gather the people, the elders, the children, nursing babes, the bridegroom and bride, for a time of fasting and prayer. Jehoshaphat also demonstrated the importance of the generations praying as he gathered them together to seek God’s battle plan. In both instances the children and adults together experienced God’s answer to their prayers.

Another roadblock is that most curricula written for children ministries are informational versus experiential. I believe that it needs to be both. When a Bible story is told it can become the catalyst to launch the group into a time of prayer. The story often connects us with a desire to change something in our own lives, in our country or in others. Being aware of this potential can stimulate children’s ministers to lead the children into prayer by taking the time to reflect on the story and to pray.

I sense that there is a paradigm shift coming to the Body of Christ. I see more and more pastors, prayer leaders and children’s ministers taking children seriously in prayer. I have seen children change the spiritual climate of their school and neighborhoods through prayer. I have seen many children emerge as prayer leaders from their Sunday school classes - and I am encouraged.

What steps can we take to bring change? Well, it’s a Kingdom principle to begin with ourselves. So I’d say the first step is to ask the Holy Spirit, “What roadblocks do I have that keep me from taking children seriously in prayer?” Listen for His response and then, repent of holding on to those ideas. Ask the Lord to remove them and to show you how to build a highway of prayer. And finally, ask the Holy Spirit to show you how to begin praying with children.

Meditate on the following Scripture:

Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity. 1 Tim 4:12 NKJV

Invite children into prayer settings.

Teach children to love to pray.


Phil ~ How can I get a copy of Kids Love to Pray tool?

Kids Love To Pray Too is available through:

Pebbles and Stones, PO Box 272, Jenison, MI 49428

http://www.PebblesandStones.com

And

Harvest Prayer Ministries @ http://www.harvestprayer.com


Phil ~ Kathleen, please write a prayer we can pray that will invite the Lord to transform the way we view how we teach and include children in the prayer life of the congregation.

Kathleen ~ Dear Father,

You are our Father, and we are your children. We long to see your House of Prayer full of children who love to pray. We ask You, Holy Spirit, to show us the roadblocks that we have set up in our hearts that block children from coming into your House of Prayer. We ask you to forgive us for not being able to see children as prayer warriors. Please remove our roadblocks and show us how to build a highway of prayer. Holy Spirit, please show us how to begin to pray with children. Help us to meditate on your Word and to listen for Your leading. Show us the children we need to reach, and help us to teach them to love to pray as Jesus would. In His Name we pray. Amen



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Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Inner~View #53: Wisdom for Spiritual Warfare from a Spiritual Warrior

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Phil Miglioratti interviewed Eddie Smith, author of Making Sense of Spiritual Warfare.


Phil ~ Many pastors and prayer leaders are concerned and even in conflict with members who practice spiritual warfare but, often because of their own lack of knowledge or experience, are unable or unwilling to confront the issue ...

Eddie ~ Phil, having been a pastor I completely understand that dilemma. I sometimes say, “Anyone can pastor a riding pony, or a plow horse. But God’s warfare intercessors, like race horses, can be hard to keep up with and difficult to tame.”


Spiritual warfare is real. Whether we realize it or not, each of us encounters battles daily. Some battles are more difficult than others. But it’s easy for some to get so caught up in the battles that they begin to think that spiritual warfare is everything.


As a pastor I learned the hard way to thank God for my warfare intercessors. Some wonderful people “coached” and mentored me in my early ministry years. I determined that I would disciple my intercessors, including the warfare intercessors. In time, I was glad I had. Because I sought to understand them, their calling, their passion and lovingly led them, when I was “in the fight” they were always ready to help. So I’ve written “Making Sense of Spiritual Warfare” from a pastoral perspective.


Phil ~ Why is your insight "Spiritual warfare is not synonymous with spiritual maturity" so critical for pastors and prayer leaders as they seek to disciple their people into a praying lifestyle?

Eddie ~ Unfortunately some writers and teachers on the subject of spiritual warfare seem to communicate (whether they intend to or not) that spiritual warfare is a sign of spiritual maturity. This misunderstanding can create pride in an inexperienced spiritual warrior.


The Book of Hebrews clearly teaches that it is time and the skillful use of Scripture that brings one into spiritual maturity. A new Christian will encounter the enemy. In fact, many new Christians face spiritual warfare just breaking free from the darkness in which they have previously walked. So, new Christians can engage in spiritual warfare; but spiritual maturity requires time (years) and the victories of many battles fought.


Phil ~ Even though Satan is a limited being, he is capable of hurting an unlimited, omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent God. What does it mean for Satan to "hurt" God and how does Satan accomplish his plan?

Eddie ~ Phil, some of us have never considered how Satan, who is a limited created being, can hurt an Eternal, omnipotent God. I believe he hurts God in at least three ways. One of my chapter titles is, “If God is His Enemy, Then Why Am I His Target?”


The center of Christianity isn’t the cross. The cross was only necessary because of man’s sin. The center of Christianity is the “Father-heart” of God. Before anything existed, there was a Father and His Son. God created mankind so He could “father” us. Adam and Eve, by their sin, opted out of that original intention. Jesus came to earth to live and to die for man’s sin. Jesus was the first-born among many brethren. The purpose of evangelism is to fill the Father’s house with children. As a father of four and grandfather of five, I get it.

  • First, Satan hurts God by keeping the lost blind to the gospel of Christ lest they become children of God.

  • Second, he hurts God by hurting us. God suffers when His children suffer, like I do when my children suffer.

  • Third and saddest of all perhaps, is that Satan tempts and entices us to sin, and we hurt our own Father. No one can hurt me like my children can.

When I was a new Christian I worried that I would do something wrong and God would hurt me. The longer I was saved, the more fearful I became that I would do something wrong and hurt Him!



Phil ~ The Kingdom of God is advanced as lost persons find and follow Christ, yet, few pastors/prayer leaders seem to recognize the reality of spiritual warfare when they train their members to witness ...


Eddie ~ Our friend and Argentinean revivalist, Edgardo Silvoso, coined the term “prayer-evangelism.” I was an evangelist for my first 16 years in ministry. At that time there were praying people, and there were soulwinners. Rarely was anyone known for both. Silvoso says, “Trying to share the gospel with a lost man without prayer is like trying to show highway sign to a blind man.”


I have experienced praying for lost people and had them say, “When you prayed, it was as if something broke off my head and floated away.” In the next moment, they were born again. That veil that blinds the lost must often be removed before they can see and respond to the gospel message. In Making Sense of Spiritual Warfare I deal with this in more depth.


Phil ~ Explain the three levels of spiritual conflict and how leadership should equip their members in understanding and equip them for the battle:

Eddie ~

1. The Ground-Level Battlefield

In ground-level warfare we battle every day, run-of-the mill, lower level demons. Sometimes they are attached to a person’s life and must be removed in order for that person to be saved. Others are attached to believers who are saved, but not yet entirely free. Justification establishes our eternal destiny instantly. Sanctification frees us from the domination of our lower nature and from the power the enemy exerts on us gradually. Deliverance is the children’s bread.

2. The Occult-Level Battlefield

This level of warfare is against stronger and more entrenched demons. These demons are part of structures of control. They allow “a dabbler” in the occult to manipulate them. They will even “perform” for them until they establish a stronghold in that person’s life. Then, at some future point, they begin to destroy their host. The person’s life, relationships, and future begin to collapse around them.

3. The Territorial-Level Battlefield

This level of warfare occurs in what we call the second heaven. The first heaven, being the heaven we see. God’s throne is in the third heaven. The second heaven is where the Prince and Power of the Air operates. It is where the Eph 6 beings reside. These principalities are prince demons with greater levels of authority that dominate territories and those who dwell in them.


Not every Christian will receive assignments to war at that level. It’s especially no place for a new believer, a believer who is basically ignorant of God’s Word, one with “holes in their armor” (sin), or one who is wounded.


God issues territorial assignments. In Making Sense of Spiritual Warfare I share my wife Alice’s story about how we lost everything, and she almost lost her life by taking on a territorial assignment without God’s direction. The surgeon said she was within a few hours of dying. She has since taken on much greater assignments without negative consequences because she learned to operate according to the Father’s specific instruction.


There are warriors, prayer groups, and even churches who receive such assignments, but there’s no place in spiritual war for “Rambos.”



Phil ~ Many teachers and preachers exhort us from Ephesians 6 to get dressed with the armor of God each morning - Good advice?

Eddie ~ That’s what I grew up being taught. You pray on the armor every morning. However, one morning I was awakened to a totally new understanding of the armor. Let me see if I can briefly state it.


I don’t “pray on” the helmet of salvation every morning. Why? Because when I trusted Christ as a five and one-half year old preacher’s kid, Christ put it on me. I wear the helmet of salvation. I never take it off! I sleep in my armor!


I don’t “pray on” my “gospel shoes” every morning. Why? Because since I was nine years old I’ve been a soulwinner. One can “pray on” those shoes every morning, but until they actively witness and win people to saving faith in Christ, they are “spiritually barefooted.”


I don’t “pray on” the breastplate of righteousness. In a positional sense, it was placed on me at the moment of Salvation. God declared me righteous. I’m being kept blameless; and will be presented faultless! As surely as Christ became sin for me, I became the righteousness of Christ. Secondly, I choose righteousness moment-to-moment. It’s absurd to think that I can sin continually, and “pray on” the righteousness of Christ each morning.


The Word of God is the sword of the Spirit. If I don’t internalize it, the Holy Spirit in me has nothing in His hand. I can’t “pray it on”, I must read it, memorize it, and meditate on it. And so on…


Phil ~ What start-up counsel would you give to:

Eddie ~

  • A pastor who wants to lead his/her congregation into spiritual warfare?

It’s important to teach warfare in relation to God’s plans and purposes. We don’t determine our own causes or develop our own targets. And our weapons aren’t carnal.


We should teach Christians warfare appropriate to where they are in Christ. To some, it’s praying with their children as the put them to bed. To others, it’s learning to minister deliverance to those who are bound. To a few, it’s taking prayer groups to spiritual trouble sites in their cities, or around the world, to boldly confront the powers of darkness that have held people in darkness. I was in the Vietnam War. But I didn’t fly a plane. I typed letters!

  • A pastor who has realized the congregation's approach to spiritual warfare needs correction?

Anytime we bring correction we must do so with love and direction. If I were pastor of a church in this condition I would expect to take no less than six to twelve months of teaching to make the turn. And I wouldn’t begin with Satan at all. I’d begin with the Father, His kingdom, and His purposes. I’d teach a solid foundation of salvation and sanctification and gradually bring in concepts that are biblical and positive. God hasn’t called us to focus on darkness. He’s called us to turn people to the Light!


Listening to the conversation of some well-meaning Christians you’ll hear more references to the Devil and what he’s doing that to God and what He’s doing! That’s imbalance. And one of the ways we worship a deity is to “declare his works.”

  • A prayer leader who only has authority to work with a team of intercessors?

A prayer leader in a church needs to work with, not against the pastor. It’s important that before we teach anything we learn the pastor’s position. Otherwise we’ll undermine the pastor’s ministry, cause division, confusion, and hurt to the body of Christ. If we disagree with the pastor, we need to make appointments and loving share our position to see if we can come to agreement. If we can’t, perhaps we aren’t the ones for the job.

  • A small group leader who is ready to face serious issues of body, soul and spirit with biblical weapons of war?

The principle above is the same for a small group leader. Perhaps I should explain the difference between warfare proclamation and warfare prayer. Warfare prayer is when we talk to our Father about the enemy. It’s little more than “holy tattling.” He’s your Father. You can ask Him for anything.


Warfare proclamation consists of things we say to darkness. First, we need to know that the Devil isn’t omnipresent. To hear some people pray, you’d think they believe he is. They address him as if he’s present. As God’s ambassadors we are only permitted to say to the enemy what the Father is saying to the enemy.


We can bind or loose only what’s already been bound or loosed in heaven. That’s why Jesus taught us to pray, “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” We are in the process of “synchronizing” heaven and earth.


Phil ~ Eddie, please write a prayer we can pray that invites the Holy Spirit to lead us into battle ...

Eddie ~
Father God, we understand that we were born on a battlefield. We are aware that this battle isn’t about us, it’s about You. It was raging for eons before we were born. We know that the only reason we’re involved at all is because You, our Daddy, is at war. The enemy likes nothing more than to use us to disappoint You. Fill us with your Holy Spirit. Help us keep our focus on Christ and Christ alone. Show us the warfare assignments You specifically have for us, for we know that those are the assignments for which we will possess your anointing. We love you with all our hearts, in Christ’s name. Amen.


[Eddie’s book “Making Sense of Spiritual Warfare” and other resources are available at http://www.PrayerBookstore.com.]

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Houses of Prayer - Different Communities; Much Creativity

Creative Approaches to Houses of Prayer

“One of the things that often take people by surprise when they create space for 24-7 prayer is that there is an instant explosion of creativity. Instinctively, it seems, many people choose nonverbal ways of communicating with God the moment they have the opportunity. Suddenly prayers are painted, drummed, enacted rhymed, choreographed, and even sculpted… The creativity of God is evident all around us, as is the inadequacy of speech amid the mysteries of life. How then can we reduce something as profound as prayer to mere words? Loving God demands the whole of our being: emotion, imagination, and personality.” Peter Greig

Dear Intercessors and Worshippers,

It is exciting to see how creative 24/7 Houses of Prayer are that are now springing up throughout the world. Think about it. If you have children, do you want them to all be alike? No! You probably delight in their unique design. One likes to paint, while another likes to read. Another child is good at sports and handiwork. Their unique gifting and expression of life is a delight to your family. If everyone in your family were exactly alike, it certainly would be boring. We need diversity to compliment our unity. And together you as a family with a wide array of unique looks, personalities, gifting, and talents make a solid family unit that is such a delight to our creative God. The prayer room is like a uniquely created family. It’s a dynamic place where the united creativity of God is expressed.

“Creative and unusual environments can be highly conducive to prayer. The prayer room enables people to pray nonverbally by posting artwork, poetry and graffiti on the wall. The environment can be designed artistically to stimulate and direct prayer.” Peter Greig

Perhaps you are thinking of starting a House of Prayer in your church or city.
If ever there was a time when 24/7 prayer was needed in our cities, it is now! The alarm is definitely ringing everywhere! I feel in my spirit an urgency such as I have never felt before. It’s time - not only to prayer personally - but to exhort others to pray. God is up to something big!

As you begin, realize that there are so many creative approaches to Houses of Prayer. The same Spirit works in so many different ways. Some examples of various places are homes, basements, shacks, chapels or church buildings, offices, shopping centers, prisons, and dedicated prayer rooms. The important thing is to pray and ask God where He wants you to have it. We suggest a neutral location for a citywide 24/7 House of Prayer. This is because it belongs to the city and not one individual church. But realize that God is using a variety of places - He loves creativity and variety - He loves to use our various gifts.

“There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men. Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good” (1 Corinthians 12:4-7).

Ask God to show you the right timing, and carefully plan.
Ask yourself, “Is this the best time when people will be in town?” Look at the big picture in your city. Are you building up to something bigger evangelistically in your community or church? We had a month-long House of Prayer in our city right before the 400th anniversary of our nation and a big evangelistic Graham Celebration. We chose this time very carefully, and it fit perfectly into what was happening - not only in our city - but also in our nation.

Maybe you are thinking about a continuous 24/7 House of Prayer in your city and want to start by creating a short season of prayer and then doing longer ones later. Remember that the local church is the primary cornerstone of the House of Prayer. Some churches and cities like to look at the seasonal approach to prayer. It’s better to quit when you’re ahead than to drag it on too long. You want to leave people hungry and eager for the next time.

Not only are there a variety of places, there are also a lot of different approaches to Houses of Prayer.
Some like to sign up for one-hour slots and fill in 24 hours. Some like two-hour slots. Think about how long individuals should be in the prayer room at one time. Perhaps 1-4 hours should be the limit in the prayer room at one time, though this isn’t a fixed rule. We have been involved in all-night prayer vigils in the prayer room, and this has been a great blessing. Some churches like to cover a week of 24/7 prayer or one day a week for a few months that can later grow into more days a month systematically. Churches can then come together with other churches that are doing the same thing. They can each take one day a week for an entire year. This becomes a 24/7 365-day prayer watch that goes all year.

Young people are starting Houses of Prayer on college and university campuses and even children are mobilizing into prayer watches. People all over the world are becoming willing candidates for full time prayer for various periods of time. God is presently raising up prayer missionaries who make prayer their full-time occupation. I know some of these individuals.

Even the names vary for Houses of Prayer. They can be called prayer rooms, 24/7 watches, houses of prayer, prayer chains, boiler rooms, prayer towers, powerhouses or prayer mountains. And the focuses might vary from praise and worship, intercession and warfare, praying the Word of God, silent meditation and soaking prayer, praying for the nations, the needs of the community, the national needs, the local church, or a combination of any of these. There is extreme creativity and uniqueness to each House of Prayer. Let’s not institutionalize what God is doing according to what we think is the right and wrong way of doing it. God is doing something that is fresh and alive, full of variety and creativity.


A United Tapestry of Creative Prayer

God is putting this together into a united tapestry of creative prayer all throughout the earth. This is exciting! Each prayer meeting is a creative expression of God’s glory. He is a creative God. Just as no two snowflakes are the same, no two prayer meetings are exactly alike either and each one is beautiful in its own way. We can go to prayer with anticipation, and ask, “God, what are you going to do today? How will you lead us? Show us your glory and majesty as we pray.” We may have a plan, but God expresses it in His own way through our prayers and worship.

We must learn to celebrate the united creativity and diversity of God as Houses of Prayer spread worldwide. Some people have thought that 24/7 Houses of Prayer have to be exactly alike. The Holy Spirit is extremely creative! Each city and nation is different and is uniquely designed by God. Rejoice in different people and ways of praying. Rejoice in the different instruments and singers that God brings. Rejoice in God’s unity in diversity. Seek God for the perfect expression that He wants for you and your city and church. Don’t think it has to always turn out the same way or be done in the same fashion. The important thing is to begin so that you can take your part in the beautiful tapestry of prayer that God is designing throughout the earth.

A friend I was visiting had a big tablecloth with a beautiful design that she was mending. There were a few tiny holes in various places and instead of throwing it away because it had no use, she wanted to mend the holes. At one point she told me to take the two ends and help her hold it up in the light in order to look carefully for any holes that would be hard to see when looking at a small section. We held it up and sure enough, I found a small hole in one of the corners. She quickly mended the hole and there it was, a beautiful tablecloth!

The worldwide prayer movement is like this beautiful tapestry of united and creative intercession. Each piece is important. The entire piece makes a beautiful design for the world to see. Just as a tablecloth has a purpose for a family to eat and dine together on it, so the tapestry of prayer has a purpose for believers to gather to feast on the goodness of God and pray for the world. Its’ purpose and design will touch people all over the world with the glory of God and His salvation.

A tiny hole in this worldwide prayer movement will diminish the overall effect and purposes of God in that location. God is mending the nets and preparing the world for a huge catch of fish. It is time that we each do our part in bringing about this great design of creative and fervent prayer in God’s House. Let’s do our part and rejoice in the expression of God’s united creativity.

As you anticipate this beautiful tablecloth of blessing, go to prayer with great expectation.
Pray for God’s blessing in each prayer meeting you hear about, and pray for a great increase in 24/7 prayer in every nation. God is releasing a spirit of prayer throughout the earth, and He is raising-up Houses of Prayer with great uniqueness and creativity in every land. This creativity does not diminish our unity. This unites us more because we realize that we don’t have to be exactly alike. Our unique prayer meeting adds to the overall unity of the prayer movement. God-inspired creativity is part of God’s plan in the prayer movement (Exodus 35:30-35, Psalm 45:1, Proverbs 8:22-31). Ask God to show you a bigger picture of Himself through the diversity and creativity of 24/7 prayer. He is zealous for His House of Prayer throughout the world. He will take the full expression of His praying Church and make it a beautiful tapestry for the world to see and desire.


Intercessors Arise New
  • 24/7 Prayer Arise: Building the House of Prayer in Your City - Please pray for God’s help in the editing and final touches on this book and another one called Deeper Still: Secrets to a Deeper Prayer Life. Each of the 24/7 Prayer Arise books will have a DVD showing what God is doing in Houses of Prayer all over the world!
  • Intercessors Arise is in need of a secretary and website designer - This is a volunteer position for someone who has a passion for prayer, is gifted in web design, and wants to see prayer spread worldwide. Our vision is to develop and International School of Prayer. If you know of someone, write me at: deb@intercessorsarise.org.
“The zeal of the Lord of Hosts is loose in the land. The power and anointing in the Church is escalating as God releases the zeal of the Father’s house upon His people. It brings holy boldness, (creativity) and an unquenchable spirit of prayer. It stems from a holy jealousy of God who is declaring in a loud voice, ‘I’m coming to take over My house and to claim My house for My own.” James Goll

Together in the Harvest,

Debbie Przybylski
Intercessors Arise
deb@intercessorsarise.org
http://www.intercessorsarise.org

To subscribe to 24/7 Prayer Arise, click
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Monday, January 05, 2009

Why Pray in Jesus' Name?

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I’M GLAD YOU ASKED…

(Q & A with a Prayer Champion Pastor)

Q. You always end your prayers to Jesus with “in your name” or “in Jesus’ name” … what’s so special about praying in the name of Jesus?


A. I pray that way because that’s how Jesus commands me to pray. Listen to His words in the Gospel of John. “And I will do whatever you ask for in my name.” (14:13) “If you ask me for anything in my name, I will do it.” (14:14) “The Father will give you whatever you ask of Him in my name.” (15:16) And that exact same promise is repeated in 16:23. And finally, “until now you have not asked for anything in my name; ask and you will receive.” (16:24) Please understand, the name of Jesus is not a secret code that works some kind of magical spell when it is invoked like “abracadabra”. It isn’t a tool with which to manipulate God. To pray in the name of Jesus means to pray “by the authority of,” “in harmony with,” or “sanctioned by,” Jesus Christ. He has given us the right to pray in His name because we are His representatives, and we ask as His representatives because we are about His business. But, it’s not just praying in His name, it’s also living in His name. Paul instructs us, “Everything you do or say, then, should be done in the name of the Lord Jesus.” (Colossians 3:17) Yes, the name of Jesus is special. “God raised Him to the highest place above and gave Him the name that is greater than any other name. And so, in honor of the name of Jesus all beings in heaven, on earth, and in the world below will fall on their knees, and all will openly proclaim that Jesus Christ is Lord.” (Philippians 2:9-11)

See you in Church

Blessings,

Pastor Rande

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