Thursday, April 23, 2009

A Prayer Leader's Question



I am thinking our leadership team needs to do a one or two day prayer retreat as way for us to grow closer as a team and to seek the Lord's face as we think about new initiatives in ministry. However, I am not sure what that would look like as I have never been a part of that kind of thing.  I was wondering what, if any information or help you may be able to give in this area?



An idea: Once you determine the focus of each session (morning session, afternoon session, evening session), ask participants to sign-up (or assign) to present a devotional from scripture that will launch the praying.  For example (using the P-R-A-Y acrostic):

  • First Session: Praise (affirming who God is; attributes) & Thanksgiving (acknowledging what God has done; blessings)
    • Welcome, Introductions, Housekeeping etc
    • Songs of praise (song leader or play a CD t sing along to)
    • Devotional thought on praising and thanking our Lord (scripture passage)
    • Prayers & Songs (a capella; as group members lead from their seat)  of praise launched from that scripture passage
    • Small groups sharing how God has blessed the individual and their family and their ministry
    • ...followed by prayers and songs of thanks
  • Second Session: Repentance & Confession (Greek: "to say the same thing," ie, to agree with God over our weaknesses and sins)
    • Facilitator begins with a debrief: Reflect on our first session: Your experience, unexpected results, how God spoke ...
    • Devotional thought on recognizing and confessing sin (scripture passage)
    • Songs that help us be still, see our sin, and agree with God
    • Send everyone out on a personal prayerwalk (1 hour) to reflect further on the passage, to journal, to be still and listen
    • Return ... Prayers & Songs (a capella)  that result from time spent alone with the Lord
    • Then transition to a time of corporate confession (identifying with sins we may not have personally committed but are burdened to rpay about): Our sins as a team, as an organization, a a national Church ...
    • ...followed by prayers and songs of thanks for forgiveness
    • Consider placing this time of forgiveness into a celebration of the Lord's Table
  • Third Session: Asking (seeking the mind f Christ by the filling of the Holy Spirit in order to know and do the will of the Father)
    • Debrief
    • Devotional thought on how we often make our plans then ask God to bless them rather than seeking God for his plans: his will & his word
    • Listening prayers: asking questions of the Lord ... times of silence ... Facilitator inserts brief dialog: "Are we hearing or sensing anything that might be a specific leading of the Spirit?
    • Facilitator concludes this segment by asking the members to identify possible ideas or answers from the Lord, then,
    • Transition to intercession; praying for the purpose and goals of team and organization as they are currently stated
  • Fourth Session: Yielding to the Lord's plans
    • Debrief
    • Devotional thought to motivate active obedience as individuals and as a team
    • Prayers and songs (a capell) declaring our intention to obey, to walk and not faint, run and not grow weary (ask pray-ers to base their declarations on a scripture verse or passage), then,
    • Transition to pray for one naother: Pairs pray Ephesians 1:15-22 over each other (one-at-a-time), then,
    • Conclude by praying for the team and the organization using Ephesians 3:10 as the foundation.
    • Debrief - What has God taught us? Said to us? Expects from us?

An article that might help:



Thanks for all your help on the day of prayer. 

Going into it, I really didn’t know how people would respond. But we had about 9 of us (some had to come and go through the day) and it went really, really well. I followed your outline and people responded accordingly. We went about 6 hours (at least) and I don’t think we were really finished even then. But it was an excellent time in praying, sharing from the word (others shared relevant passages as we went through the outline), singing and talking with each other and with God. We talked through some of our “business” items, but did so in way that really had a sense we were talking with God about it. That helped a lot when it came to our business sessions and we all felt we had prayed thoroughly about the decisions we had made. It was a good group bonding or team building time. We prayed for each other and some of our burdens came out quite naturally during the day. That brought us to pray for one another and know each other better.

So, all in all, I count it a rousing success! I am so glad we did that and so much appreciate your input. I would have been totally stressed out trying to plan this on my own. I am sure we will do it again some time. The main problem I saw was that we started too late in the morning (we aimed for 9:00 but didn’t get rolling till 10:00). It would have been better to start early and then finish mid-afternoon. As it was we had to wrap up because people were fading in the late afternoon.

Again I think it was a sweet time with God and each other and I thank you for your help.

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