Thursday, May 28, 2009

Climate-Changing Prayer

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June 8th, Monday
8:30 pm eastern / 7:30om central / 6:30 pm mountain / 5:30 pm pacific

Climate-Changing Prayer:
Praying For, then
Praying In, then
Praying With the
Places and
Things ... that matter in our communities

Phil Miglioratti is the presenter (30 minutes); followed by 20+ minutes of Q & A

Call: 1-712-432-0232
Pass Code: 732668#

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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Inner~View #65: Seasoned Leader on How to Make Prayer the Heartbeat of Your Church

Prayer Leader's Phil Miglioratti interviewed Doug Small on the release of
Prayer: The Heartbeat of the Church.


Phil ~ The release of this new book coincides with a new ministry role in the Church of God. Tell us about what God has you so passionately pursuing...

Doug ~ God backed me into the prayer movement. Years ago, on a phone call about prayer summits with Terry Dirks, now with the Lord, I felt that God clearly whispered to me, “You will do this!” I had no idea what that meant. My involvement with pastors in some 100 prayer summits and now with my denomination, has been more of a blessing to me, than to anyone else. Why the passion? I think I finally figured out the difference between what I was created to be and what I was called to do. For most of my ministerial life, I have pursued what God called me to do – preach, teach, pastor, minister, disciple and train. And I have subordinated what he created me to be and do to my calling. I was created to be with him, to walk and talk with him, to live in unbroken fellowship with him. And that is the essence of prayer. Tragically, I have gone to my creative purpose, to find strength for my calling. The calling is temporal. The creative purpose is eternal. I have had them backwards. And this is not merely a philosophical difference. When you make ministry function and performance the essence of your life – you have just fallen into the cultural trap that plagues our society. When you make pursuing God the center of your life, you enter a transformational dynamic. The Western church is obsessed with doing – the power is not there. It is so hard for us to get this. The power is in being. It is in the return to what we were created to be – walk with God.

Phil ~ Your new book, and the companion 40-Day Devotional Guide, are beneficial for Christ-followers of any denomination ...

Doug ~ Yes, of course. The earlier book, Transforming Your Church into a House of Prayer also has a DVD companion with support materials. It is a book for serious prayer leaders who want a blueprint for a 3-5 year process of bringing prayer to the heart of all they do. This book is more of a primer for a general audience. It begins by answering the simple question, “What is prayer?” It moves forward by addressing – Personal Prayer, Family Prayer, Intercession and Evangelism, the Church at Prayer and finally, Longing for a Great Awakening!

The companion DVD series is recorded in 15-18 minute clips which are meant to be starters for the teacher. In addition, there is a leader’s guide, a resource guide full of wonderful materials that are practical in nature keyed to each chapter. The devotional offers a prayer a day along with suggestions for prayer outreach.

It is designed as a complete package. Some pastors are using the book and the DVDs, then introducing the devotional guides and the resource guide to make this a longer program. It can be used as a church-wide study. We have heard of some churches using this on Sunday mornings, for Sunday School, for a special Sunday evening prayer emphasis or for small groups. In some cases, local church prayer teams are using the materials.

The book is now also available in Spanish.

Phil ~ You write: "Prayer has transformational power. Prayer has resurrection-renewal-restoration power. Prayer is the heartbeat of the Church!"

Doug ~ Prayer does have resurrection – renewal – restoration power because it appeals to the resurrected Christ, enthroned on David’s throne, though in exile, and more importantly, a throne now connected to the divine throne itself. Out of the resurrection and on the basis of the acceptance of Jesus in the heaven’s as both a representative of man, the last Adam, and as the divine Son, the ultimate apostle returned from his mission – the power that raised him from the dead, works in us and through us. It dances on our preaching. Without it, we offer a philosophy, a fanciful story that is devoid of power and quickly shelved along with mythic data.

Phil ~ What can we learn about God's intentions in prayer by examining the first few mentions or occurrences of prayer in Genesis?

Doug ~ Because we see prayer as acquisition, we have tended not to see the encounters between God and Adam as prayer. If we understand prayer to be larger, the communion and communication environment in which encounters and exchanges between God and man take place, then we have a better understanding of prayer. Prayer isn’t talking. It isn’t words, even though it demands words. It isn’t merely a means for requisition. It isn’t a transaction. The potential and promise of prayer as a transaction, rest on and rises out of the power of prayer as a transformational relationship. “You may ask,” Jesus tell us, “if you abide in me.” We plug ourselves into and out of prayer like we do the branches of an artificial Christmas tree. And in our short moments of connection, we make requests. And then we wonder why we don’t get more answers to our prayers.

Here is the astounding, almost contradictory reality. God has designed prayer as the means by which he blesses. “You have not, because you ask not!” And yet, the great blessing of prayer is not is prayers answers. God does answer prayer. In the Biblical record, the majority of prayer requests recorded are answered. But the greater blessing is not in answers – we don’t even know what we should pray for, or how to pray. The greater payoff is in the rewards of praying – and rewards are not the same as answers. Seeking God, not merely things from him, opens us up to the rewards of prayer. Only then, when we have shifted prayers focus from ourselves to God’s will, to wanting to please him, can we be trusted with the rewards he would offer us.

To the point above, if we see prayer as the larger venue in which God comes to man and man encounters God, we have to see Gen. 1 and 2 as prayer. In both the initial interactions between God and Adam, man says nothing. Instead, God takes the initiative. And in Gen. 1, he comes blessing. He is not a God with a tight fist. Prayer is not the means by which we wrestle things from the hand of a resistant God. He comes blessing – and the blessings include the capacity to be fruitful, productive; to be empowered and not live in a victim state; to ‘have’ and not merely ‘to take’ authority, and the greatest blessing of all – the Sabbath, the gift of his rest out of which we will labor, and the privilege of walking with him. In Genesis 2, he comes with boundaries. The boundary is meant to protect the blessing. One boundary, one commandment. Man violates that boundary and forfeits the blessing. Moses gives us not one boundary, but ten. The Law then exponentially multiplies boundaries. Why? The dangers have increased in a world of sin and death. Christ, the last Adam, comes to restore the blessing. He begins his ministry blessing and ends it offering blessing.

The Christian life is not about the acquisition of the things of this world, it is about the pursuit of God, mysteriously, the God who pursues us. When we shift our passion, and our focus comes to rest on Him – not even on building a great work here for his name, which is really often for our names – something radical happens. He can now trust us. Rewards come. Blessings multiply. Now, we will use them for his Kingdom.

Phil ~ What is the difference between (and why is it so vital to be) praying in the Holy Spirit and praying in the name of Jesus?

Doug ~ Praying in the Spirit or with the Spirit is praying with divine enablement. The best praying is when we, standing on the earth’s surface, offer to God in heaven, prayers that are in perfect agreement with the father’s will. This is done when we finally reach the point that we are giving voice to the Spirit, articulating the will of God for our lives, our churches, our cities and nations, for the earth itself. Like a courtroom, God, the Judge of the earth, wants humans, with the residue of Adam’s authority, to declare their desire for new management, to cry out that the hostage state of the planet be ended, that the dark revolution that has enveloped us be over, that a divine intervention be launched from heaven.

Praying in the name of Jesus, gives us access to heaven. We come because Jesus in his perfection, has proved the human race worthy of redemption. Adam sinned, he did not. In his death, he sealed his perfect obedience. In the descent and resurrection, he declared to the grave and all in it his authority over death, and therefore sin’s hold. In his ascension and enthronement, he secured David’s throne and was received into heaven as the Son of God, and as the son of man, of Adam. We come in his name, because in him, all that we lost in Adam is restored – and more. We come in his name because he now has all authority. We come in his name as his bride partner, left in the earth to declare that he is not dead, but alive.

Phil ~ You identify three "Great"s in the New Testament. What are they and how do they flow from the first to the second to the third?

Doug ~ The Great Commission involves the last command of Christ to carry the message, to tell his story, to the ends of the earth, more importantly, to make disciples, to bring men under his Lordship. The real emphasis in the Great Commission is neither in the “going” or the “preaching” and the subsequent conversions. It is rather in the making of disciples. Conversion is a transaction with God! Sadly, that is where we leave people. We have offered salvation as a commodity to be acquired. The Bible offers Christ as a Savior, to be invited into one’s whole life and sphere – that requires discipleship.

The Great Commandment is the heart of where real discipleship should take people – to love God with all their heart, soul and might, and out of the dialectic of that love, to love others. You can’t take people where you aren’t or haven’t been. The Great Commission flows out of the Great Commandment. Only Great Commandment people can be authentic Great Commission people. Anyone can memorize an evangelistic presentation. But the Great Commission can’t be completed with information about Jesus, it can only be completed by people in a transforming relationship with Jesus. We are doing transactional evangelism with pieces of truth. The greater truth is the love of God. It isn’t an idea, it is a person. When lost people feel God’s love, they become open to truth. To say it differently, it is not the proclamation of the gospel that is in view, but the incarnation of the gospel. It is not our love – but his love.

If the completion of the Great Commission requires that we incarnate love and truth, we can’t do that. It is not our love improved, but his love imputed. And that requires a relationship with him – prayer. That is the Great Commitment. Prayer opens the doors for the gospel (Col. 4:2), but it also transforms us the presenters of the gospel. As is often said, “We are the message!” it is incarnational. Transformational.

The more we spend time with God and pray, in that time not merely for ourselves but for others – for kings and leaders and people in authority, therefore, for nations and people movements, for the social condition of our cities, that we might live in peace – and this cosmic praying. Not merely praying for our narrow slice of pain. The more we engage in this kind of Kingdom praying, the more we end up loving the people for whom we pray. Joe Aldrich used to say that you can’t pray for people long without loving them. And it is that love, that changes the texture of the Great Commission. We have been doing Great Commission work outside the spirit of the Great Commandment, and without evidentiary power in and on our own lives, that comes out of the Great Commitment. You have said it often – here is the trilogy of the church’s mission: Prayer, Care, Share.

Phil ~ You declare these four elements are critical to establishing a prayer ministry: At-Home -- Daily Prayer -- The Church @ Prayer -- Identify Intercessors -- Prayer Evangelism ...

Doug ~ I don’t think that mere prayer activities, though noble, at the church are enough. We need to cultivate a spirit of prayer, and live in that spirit. The family altar needs to be restored. Family worship needs to take place. Prayer can’t be a rare thing that our children only see us do in the strange building with the colored windows. It has be natural and normal, laced into our lives, our first response to good things – thanksgiving our first response to challenge – petition and intercession. Children want to pray. It is easier for them, but parents need to take them beyond a “Now I lay me down to sleep …” prayer. One of the most interesting phenomena in the world, is the child intercessor movement. God is calling our children to prayer. We need to join him. So, at-home prayer is critical to any legitimate prayer movement.

Every church needs a church-wide prayer meeting, monthly, if not weekly. No preaching. No teaching, other than incidental moments. A directed, fervent prayer meeting – typically led by the pastor. Prayer can’t be delegated. The pastor has to lead, to model. Here, at this prayer meeting, like going to the Tabernacle in the Wilderness where there was always fire on the altar, here, we catch “prayer fire.” We learn to pray by praying. We listen to veteran saints pray. We see their tears. We come to understand how to weave Scriptural promises into the language of prayer – and yet, this is not about words, phrases or techniques. We catch the spirit of prayer in prayer. And we take that home. Church prayer meetings have succeeded when home prayer fires are burning brightly. Back and forth we move – from church to home, and home to church – all the while praying, living in the Spirit, praying without ceasing.

In addition, to the church-wide prayer meeting, a plethora of small prayer groups need to be started. Groups of 3-5, 8-10. You are not looking for size, but for specific focus – the daughters of lost Mothers, former alcoholics praying for other alcoholics, a group praying for the peace of Jerusalem, fathers of young sons. Any configuration imaginable. These groups come and go. Like any small group, their life cycle is 18-36 months. No one group with a specific focus is large enough for the church. This is not the engine, but a series of pistons. They live, they die. Each of them may feel that their prayer call is the secret to revival in the city. Thank them for their passion. Encourage them.

Overall, the Moravian principle is so important – “No one works unless someone prays!” The church prayer ministry is more transactional in nature. We are unashamedly praying for the hand of God to be on all we do. For his power. His anointing. Behind every worker should be an intercessor. In fact, every worker should be required to recruit a PIT crew – Personal Intercessory Team. I think it was Cheryl Sacks that first coined that acronym. As the Moravians said, “An intercessor for every worker, and every worker any intercessor!”

This requires the identification and mobilization of intercessors. These people have been ignored. We identify elders and deacons, singers and teachers, but we have assumed that prayer and people of prayer will take care of themselves. I don’t see intercession as a spiritual gift. I do feel that certain people are “called to the ministry of intercession” in a special sense. Ultimately, all of us are to be intercessors. God the father, was and is an intercessor. He wondered that there was no intercessor, therefore his own arm brought salvation. Jesus came as an intercessor. The Holy Spirit ever lives to make intercession. We can’t be like God, without being intercessors. And yet, I believe there is often a core of people who graced in this area, called to it. No church will succeed in its prayer ministry without identifying and mobilizing these people, anymore than you could succeed in building a music ministry without the people who sang and played instruments. Here the steps – call them together, identify them. Then offer training. Discover the ones who are teachable. Then, team them – not to prayer together in one place, so much as to agree together in prayer and confer. Direct them. This is a neglected area. Intercessors need to be informed. This means that some need to be taken into confidence to pray with intelligence. Finally, debrief them. Read their night-watchmen reports. Pay attention to their hunches.

By identifying intercessors, you push your prayer process forward – in a major way. Who is already praying at home? Intercessors. Who are the most likely people to support your church-wide prayer endeavor? Intercessors.

If all prayer is internal in focus, then we have only trapped ourselves deeper into our current dilemma of being internally focused churches. Good prayer is at its heart, worship, and at its edge missional. The 4th dimension in a local church prayer process is outward, it is prayer evangelism, prayer for the unreached – next door and abroad. It may involve prayer walks, prayer missions, a prayer wall, prayer treks, vigils, etc.

At home prayer is, or should be transformational, going after the face of God. At church prayer is more often than not transactional. We are doing business with God about his kingdom, his church. We are going after the hand of God. Intercessors are the “seeing” dimension of prayer, here is often found a prophetic interface. God reveals things to intercessors. He talks to them. This informs the prayer and evangelism process (Acts 13). Here are the eyes of God. Then prayer evangelism is going after the world in behalf of God. Here is the heart of God.

Phil ~ I noticed several key statements ...

Doug ~
1. "Prayer is the mark of a Christian" ... Luther said “As a shoemaker makes a shoe and a tailor a coat, a Christian prays.” One of the first notices of Paul after conversion was, “Behold, he prays!” He had prayed as a Jew, but now something was different. Christians pray – it is the identifying distinguishing mark of being in a relationship with God. We talk to him, and he talks to us. I think, sadly, many people have a relationship with the church, are decent people, try to live by Christian ethics, but have no vital relationship with God, through Christ – they are lost in the church.

We need a new reformation. One that replaces the church with Christ in the lives of his followers. Not one that displaces the church altogether, but redefines it.

2. "If God came to town" ... All over the world, God is changing whole cities. Some 600 of them by count now. Some are virtually all Christian. It is happening everywhere but here in the West. What if God came, not to our churches, but what if he decided to take a walk through our cities, like he did in the days of Great Awakenings. We have never seen such a phenomena. Almost 70% of those saved in the Hebrides revival were saved outside of Church. A powerful move of God, one like Acts 2, that brought a reverential fear to the whole city, is what is needed to restore a respect of morality and bring genuine conviction. Unless God comes to our American cities, I see no hope for the nation to continue. We are will experience a revolution, we’ll lose the nation.

3. "Good prayer is prayer over an open Bible" ... The Bible is our prayer book. We have no other basis on which we can make an appeal to God. Who do we think we are that we can ask God – the Almighty – to do things for us? Christian prayer is such an extraordinary privilege, we have no idea how unique it is. What other faith offers such open access to a loving God who offers himself to us as a father? None! But this privilege has perimeters. We have access to God through Jesus, and only through Jesus. We are heirs, through the will of Christ. His will and testament became valid at his death. We can’t ask the court of heaven to give us what is not in the estate, in the will. We are to pray according to his will, that is found in the Word, the New or last Testament. Early in Acts, when the church first tasted persecution, their prayer is recorded for us. That’s strange considering we already have a copy of that prayer. They were praying Psalm 2. I think that is in Scripture, not because God needed to repeat Psalm 2 in the New Testament, but because the Lord wanted us to see that good prayer is rooted in Scripture. The Psalms are essentially a book of prayers. The Bible offers us the best language for prayings.

As a boy, I can remember seeing the men of the small church I grew up in on their knees, with open Bibles, praying scriptures back to God like they were preaching.

4. "His exiled kingdom breaks into our time-space world" ... this was the desire of Jesus, he taught us to pray – “thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as in heaven. Jesus is our king. Acts 2 declared that he was on David’s throne. His kingdom is in Exile, like a King who has retreated momentarily in the midst of a revolution, but has not abandoned his designs on his homeland. Jesus, the last Adam, is our king. We pray for his return. And in the mean time, we pray for kingdom manifestations to take place, definitive signs of his life, proof to a watching world that he is alive and not dead. This is a part of our call as witnesses. In such moments, the Kingdom comes, though it does not fully come. These flashes of light in the darkness are declarations that he lives. They call men out into the light. They offer them hope of the full-blown coming of Christ.

Phil ~ What would your first few action steps be if you were a prayer leader/praying pastor of a congregation?

Doug ~ Have an envisioning evening. Call people together. Show the harvest video or a segment of one of the Transformation videos. Talk about the prayer process. Dream together. Prayer your dreams. Ask, what would it look like if our church were a praying church? If God came to our city.

Out of that envisioning evening, I would identify a team of leaders who started moving the prayer process forward. Some pastors make a mistake of taking their lead intercessor and appointing them over the ministry of prayer. You need someone with leadership gifts – and also a passion for prayer.

My ideal team would be a potential leader, a trainer-teacher, someone to assist in eventually creating and operating a prayer room or center, someone to work with the intercessors, someone to work specifically on the prayer-evangelism piece.

P. Douglas Small, President
Project Pray, PO Box 1245, Kannapolis, NC 28082-1245
704-938-9111 Office / 704-996-5091 Cell

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Friday, May 22, 2009

Is Your Pastor Preyed-on or Prayed-for?

Be a Barnabas to Your Pastor

It's time to do a bit of shepherding for the shepherd.

Last fall John Maxwell related the following story in an article for Good News magazine. During his first weeks as senior pastor at Skyline Wesleyan Church near San Diego, John’s schedule was packed. Nevertheless, he agreed to meet with Bill Klassen, a layman he did not know.

"John," Bill said, "I believe God has called me, a layman, to disciple, encourage, and pray for pastors. And the reason I came here today was so that I could pray for you."

"I wept at the knowledge that God would send someone just to pray for me," Maxwell later admitted. Klassen was steadfast in prayer for Maxwell, and during the next 14 years, Skyline Wesleyan tripled in size, and Maxwell became a national leader in the church growth movement.

A similar scenario took place centuries ago. Around A.D. 47 the apostle Paul embarked on his first missionary journey. By his side was a faithful companion, Joseph of Cyprus, nicknamed Barnabas, or "Son of Encouragement." Why the title? Because Barnabas stood with Paul through shipwrecks, stonings and rejection.

A similar scenario took place centuries ago. Around A.D. 47 the apostle Paul embarked on his first missionary journey. By his side was a faithful companion, Joseph of Cyprus, nicknamed Barnabas, or "Son of Encouragement." Why the title? Because Barnabas stood with Paul through shipwrecks, stonings and rejection.

Who encourages your pastor?

Christian pollster George Barna has discovered that "pastors are the single most occupationally frustrated professionals in America." Yet that needn’t be so. Scripture makes it clear that we are to give special affirmation to our spiritual leaders. In 1 Timothy 5:17 we read, "The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching."

You needn’t risk life and limb to be a modern-day Barnabas to your pastor, but there are some simple ways you can encourage him all year long.===>Click headline to access complete article . . .

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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

"Our obsession with whether prayer works is the wrong question."
What Do Prayer Studies Prove?
When a landmark study suggests that intercessory prayer may actually hurt patients instead of help them, you have to wonder.
Gregory Fung and Christopher Fung

Should your doctor prescribe prayer as part of your treatment? According to a study of 1,134 physicians this past December by Health Care Direct Research, the majority of doctors (70 percent) believe miracles are possible today. Yet fewer than 29 percent believe that the outcomes of medical treatments are related to "supernatural forces" or "acts of God." Click to continue.

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Prayer Is A Lifestyle


by Paul Grant

>>>Note: This site has several articles of interest to prayer leaders - Click on the headline above then use their search box . . .

Yes, after 65 years as a Christian I'm learning new things about prayer. Also, that prayer can become a way of life. Prayer is both hugely comprehensive and magnificently pervasive. It can take over our lives. For God's pleasure. For our advantage. When it does we become uniquely transcendent in witness and work. We are on the earth; we are above its powers. We are heavenly-minded for earthly use.

Prayer is a discipline of many forms. I've had some adventures in my little odyssey of prayer. May I share some prayer formats with you? Here are some ways by which I have learned - and still learning - how to 'pray without ceasing' (1 Thess. 5:17). (These are not presented in any order of preference or priority).

* Connecting Prayer. 'Logging on' to God through Jesus Christ and the help of the Holy Spirit, John 14:13-14; Acts 4:29-31. He is the 'password'. In Him we have 'access' (Eph. 2:18) and we are virus-proofed.

* Communing Prayer. As friend to friend. He scrutinizes and confides secrets (Dan.2:47). Intimacy imparts certainty. "The joys we share as we tarry there no other has ever known" 2 Chron. 20:27; Isaiah 41:8; Jas. 2:23.

* Petitioning Prayer. I identify and nominate a specific need. He listens! He urges me to keep asking! Why? To expand my appreciation of His greatness over against the need Luke 18:1-8; Acts 12:5.

* Intercessory Prayer. For a person or social issue. Esther (A people) John 17:6-18. Intercession identifies God's intentions. It leads to an urge to merge with God's will in everything.

* Meditative Prayer. Our minds and hearts focus on issues and matters that are scanned and interpreted by God. We think through our prayers, Heb. 4:12; Psalm 139:23; 1 Chron. 28:9. The mind is transformed Rom.12:2.

* Walking & Working Prayer. As we engage in the routine duties and pleasures of life. Mordecai (Esther); Acts 17:16, 23; Psalm 8; Rev. 1:9-11. (Also, car-driving prayer. Especially for other drivers and passengers.)

* Bible Prayer. Incorporating the Scriptures into our words especially God's promises, Acts 4:24-30. Bible promises repel evil powers.

* Heavenly Language Prayer. Prayer in other (Divinely given) languages can give a particular strength or thrust to a mentally framed prayer, 1 Cor. 14:14-15. The mind surrenders to the Spirit.

* Imaginative Prayer. Go for it! Under the inspiration of the Spirit let's free our minds to be carried along in God's creative thoughts, Isa. 55:8-9. (See Ezekiel 1) This may be described as envisionary prayer, Eph.1:15-23; Col. 1:28-2:5.

* Written Prayer. Writing prayers leads to clarity in speaking our prayers. Short, focused prayers in your journal or diary. Refer to Paul's prayers in Ephesians, Philippians and Colossians.

* Musical Prayer. Many Christians, musically gifted, experience prayer rapture as they play. Each of us can sing our prayers. (Psalms of David). We can 'sing in the Spirit', 1 Cor. 14:15. Go ahead! Compose some song prayers.

* Impromptu Prayer. Spontaneously triggered by an experience, Jonah 2; Acts 9:19-19; Luke 2:25-35. This can be described as being 'led by the Spirit'.

* Observational Prayer. Praying as we look at people and events. (Go into a shopping mall to pray - NOT consume!) 'Watch' and pray, ie. The whole social scene; TV news; etc. Mordecai (Esther); Moses Deut. 34:1-5 (See previous chapters); Neh.1.

* Walking Prayer. In your neighbourhood or city, Neh. 1. Let the Spirit install in you a spiritual monitor for discerning how you can pray.

* Network Prayer. Over time develop relationships with like-minded colleagues in prayer. Set up mail, phone, email and prayer meeting times, Phil.2:19-30; Col.4:12-13; 1 Thess. 1:1-3.

* World Affairs Prayer. For nations, leaders, international events, global mission, revival, etc. See: the prophets, Joel 2; Ezek. 25- 32; John 17:20-26; Matt.25. (The press is a mess; the Bible is reliable).

* Warfare Prayers. One writer has termed this "the gift of battle". This is the affirmation and enforcement of Jesus' victory over hostile powers that contest for the lives of peoples. Acts 4:23-31 (The major New Testament model for group warfare prayer). Eph. 6:10-18. (The focus is on personal fitness for warfare). It is also an acknowledgement of God's engagement with evil-powers in the heavens, Dan. 10.

* Ph.D. Prayer. That is, Pre-Heaven Disciplines. Prepare by prayer for post-death life; for service in eternity. It's nearer than we think! 2 Tim. 4:1-8.

* Prophetic Prayer. Speak out God's purposes for world redemption over nations and peoples and international issues and events, Acts 2:14-36. Allow the Spirit to load you with a burden for a people group.

* Transcendent Prayer. "In the Spirit" (Rev. 1:10) and keeping "in step with the Spirit" (Gal. 5:25) means being lofted above and beyond mere rational understanding into the dimensions of revelation. Refer : the prophets.

Each of these 'formats' of prayer are seen as being attainable in one's own personal, private prayer life. To close I propose three prayer formats that operate in the public domain. They are:

* Direct/Personalized Prayer. One to one. Praying for another person. This should be brief and specifically focused, eg. Acts 3:1f. The prayer may contain words of knowledge and wisdom. It is a "prayer of faith" James 5:13-18.

* Public Prayer. In a Christian or public gathering. The prayer is representative of all others present. Not personal. Nor an occasion for oratory (or assumed oratory!). Note the plural forms in Acts 4:23-31.

* Corporate Prayer. Groups praying together aloud or silently. See Acts 4:23-31 again. If 500 people pray aloud simultaneously God can unscramble it! Moreover, corporate prayer can be a seismic force in routing evil and spirit powers.

The first disciples asked Jesus, "Lord teach us how to pray" (Luke 11:1) Let's become known as prayer activitists. The real dynamic is not in today's trend to "Christian infotainment". Authentic, heaven-approved power is in Biblical prayer that leads to biblical witness.

- Paul E. Grant

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Promoting Your Prayer Ministry

Ways to Promote the Prayer Ministry

by Jill Griffith

Need fresh ideas on how to increase awareness of and interest in your local church prayer ministry? Try these:

1.Submit announcements and articles about the prayer ministry to the church newsletter.

2. Insert weekly prayer announcements in the church bulletin, including church needs, names of those hospitalized, names of the bereaved, a pastor or staff member to be prayed for throughout the week, and so on.

3. Create pew cards which include space to write out detailed prayer requests and to indicate interest in becoming an intercessor in the prayer ministry. The cards are an excellent, non-threatening way to identify the needs and hurts of the local body and provide prayer requests for intercessors. They should be followed up with a note of encouragement, assuring that the request is being prayed for.

4. Designate one month each year as prayer emphasis month. Be consistent from year to year. Include creative prayer reminders in the weekly bulletin and/or church newsletter. Schedule a prayer event each week. You may want to offer a prayer class during this month.

(Please click here to read, print, or email this article from Pray!'s online archives. Issue 39, November/December 2003)
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Friday, May 15, 2009

Climate-Changing Prayer

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June 8th, Monday
8:30 pm eastern / 7:30om central / 6:30 pm mountain / 5:30 pm pacific

Climate-Changing Prayer:
  • Praying For, then
  • Praying In, then
  • Praying With the
  • People,
  • Places and
  • Things ... that matter in our communities
Phil Miglioratti is the presenter (30 minutes); followed by 20+ minutes of Q & A

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Thursday, May 14, 2009

Inner~View #64: Teaching People to Pray As They Pray

Interview with John Franklin, national prayer leader and author

  • We are giving a copy of John’s new book to everyone who makes a contribution to our ministry (tax-deduction allowable for gift beyond cost of book and postage)

  • Click here or send your gift to: National Pastors’ Prayer Network, 1130 Randville Drive 1D, Palatine, IL 60074

Phil ~ Your website begins with "America is morally imploding before our very eyes." What is your perspective on the times and seasons of our culture and how is that impacting your teaching and writing ministry?

John ~ Jeremiah 18:7-11 declares, “If at any time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be uprooted, torn down and destroyed, 8 and if that nation I warned repents of its evil, then I will relent and not inflict on it the disaster I had planned. 9 And if at another time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be built up and planted, 10 and if it does evil in my sight and does not obey me, then I will reconsider the good I had intended to do for it. 11 “Now therefore say to the people of Judah and those living in Jerusalem, ‘This is what the Lord says: Look! I am preparing a disaster for you and devising a plan against you. So turn from your evil ways, each one of you, and reform your ways and your actions.’ (NIV)

Given our increasing wickedness, what other conclusion is there, save we had better wake up before it’s too late. I sense a very strong burden to teach regarding revival, the fear of God, our accountability to Him as Christians and a nation, the hope if we repent, the certainty of judgment that awaits us if we do not.

Phil ~ What prompted you to write your latest book, Walking With God?

John ~ – After speaking to thousands of prayer leaders and people in the pew over the last 12 years, I concluded the majority of Christians do not know how to practically connect with God in prayer. The vast majority do not know how to answer basic questions such as:
1. What does it take to connect with God in prayer?
2. How do you hear God’s voice?
3. What are the hindrances to prayer?
4. What does it take to keep your heart steadfast in a love relationship with the living God?

I wrote the book to give basic prayer principles in a format that teaches a lifestyle habit for walking with God.

Phil ~ The subtitle, 30 Days to Change Your Prayer Life, might sound typical for prayer guides but you have incorporated several interesting features ... Please explain:

John ~ The features I’m about to explain spring from three beliefs.
1. People learn best by doing mixed with understanding.
2. Simplicity creates better learning than complexity.
3. Repetition in following a God-centered format creates the greatest likelihood for learning how to pray.

Here are the features:
1. The book is organized around 30 days of training exercises. I called them training exercises instead of devotionals because I wanted people to know they were to learn a lifestyle habit – not merely have a devotional thought for the day.

2. Each training exercise follows a standardized God-centered format. I did this so that learning could be reinforced through repetition.
3. The 30 training exercises are organized by seven themes of what the reader should be learning and doing in prayer.
4. Before the reader starts, they read a brief explanation as to what the three keys to dynamic prayer are in order to give them a reference point for knowing what they’re looking for when they pray.

Three Keys
I recognize that the three keys I teach are not all there is to prayer. But I believe this trio is indispensable to understand anything else. The three keys are:
1. Understanding the nature of Prayer – Prayer is the communication aspect of how I conducted my relationship with God – not primarily about getting from God.
2. Understanding and practicing three foundations – Those foundations are 1) Practicing prayer as a relationship with God. Our desire for God determines whether or not we’ll walk with Him. 2) Praying consistently about your kingdom purpose – What did God talk to the great saints in the Bible about? More times than not it related to their assignment. If someone tries to conduct their prayer life with God by having one on one warm fuzzy sessions, they will not find Him consistently. 3) A Biblical mind-set – in order to connect our minds must be saturated with Scripture. This leads to a God-centeredness, repentance, a clean heart, and asking in line with the desires of God’s heart.
3. Understanding that God has initiated a training process in your life through prayer – Most people start prayer without any sense that God is taking them somewhere. They do not view themselves as kingdom agents whom God is developing to be ever increasingly of greater and greater use in that kingdom. A prayer life will result in personal growth as a kingdom servant.

Seven Themes
The 30 training exercises are organized into seven themes. The purpose of the themes is to highlight ways God wants to train you. The themes are:
1. The three foundations of prayer (training exercises 1-3).
2. God trains you (training exercises 4-10).
3. Begin prayer by focusing on God (training exercises 11-13).
4. Respond from the heart (training exercises 14-20).
5. Seek first the kingdom (training exercises 21-28).
6. Present your request (training exercise 29).
7. Close in joy (training exercise 30).

Thirty Exercises
Each exercise follow a format. I studied every prayer meeting in the Bible to identify what the Bible format for prayer is. I discovered that all prayer meetings begin with focusing on God, then there was a heart response of the people. After that the format varied. I The format I chose begins with focusing on God and responding from the heart. The next three elements correspond to what Jesus taught in the Lord’s prayer. The format for the 30 training exercises is:
-Focus on God
-Respond from the heart
-Seek first the kingdom
-Present your requests
-Close in joy
Notice that the format and themes 2-7 are the same. Again I’m trying to use repetition, simplicity, and reinforcement.

Phil~ I noticed the daily exercises are not all internally focused. Topics include a new mind-set, society, the nations ...

John ~ Yes. That’s because the majority of prayers in the Bible were for the advance of the kingdom. Matthew 6:7-8 tells us not to pray like pagans. The basic nature of pagan prayer is that they pray for earthly provision and think they will be heard for their many words. Instead Jesus tell us our Father already knows what we have need of before we pray. So we ought to pray this way, “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Mt. 6:10). He concludes the chapter by reiterating we’re not to be like pagans all worried and uptight about earthly provisions for our life (Mt. 25-32), but instead to “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Mt. 6:33).

Starting prayer with God instead of our request, taking time to respond from the heart in relationship to Him, and seeking first the kingdom, are the three most violated Biblical practices of prayer that I know of in our day.

Phil ~ The daily format follows five principles taken from the Lord's Prayer ...

John ~ Yes. I mentioned it earlier, but to clarify:
• Focus on God – Our Father which art in heaven
• Respond from the heart – Hallowed by Thy name
• Seek First the Kingdom – Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven
• Present Your Requests – Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.
• Close in joy - For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.

Phil ~ The book concludes with a section of your Thoughts on Revival. Why is that relevant to someone embarking on a path to change their prayer life?

John ~ Because our prayer life is oriented to God. If revival is on His heart, then that ought to be on my heart. Prayer is not primarily about my wants, my wishes, and my heart. Rather it’s about His wants, His wishes, and His heart. Second, if I’m going to pray about this matter intelligently, I need to know how God goes about revival and the things associated with it. So this final section does not teach one how to pray like the 30 training exercises, but impacts prayer by helping the reader know about God’s heart in an area of vital interest.

Phil ~ "God intends to use his people as agents of mercy during judgment." Most authors focus on judgment, and ignore mercy, or on mercy, and minimize judgment. Why is that and how is that dangerous for the Church?

John ~ Historically, the church has focused on one truth of God to the minimization of others. In our day we emphasize the love, mercy, compassion, kindness and grace of God without adequate understanding of His holiness, justice, wrath, vengeance, fear, and accountability. The reason for this in American Christianity is because we are influenced by the Humanism of the 20th century. We tend to think that anything causing human suffering must be the worst sort of injustice; therefore, God couldn’t cause suffering or really inflict wrath to any significant degree.. It has taken me about 10 years to understand the holiness and love of God so that they are no longer in conflict in my thinking.

This is dangerous in our day because we have lost the fear of God. When we no longer have a concept of a holy God who can be provoked to wrath, then we lose any real sense of accountability for sin. If “By fear of the Lord one departs from evil” (Prov. 16:6), and we are no longer departing, then it can only mean we no longer fear the Lord. We evidently have taught mercy and grace in such a way that the majority does not sense the impending wrath of God against sin. Until this happens, we cannot have a national revival. And that must happen first in the church. Judgment begins with us (1 Peter 4:17).

Phil ~ How can this guide be used by prayer leaders (pastors and/or prayer coordinators) to involve nominal pray-ers in the lifestyle of dynamic praying?

John ~ In general the best way to involve nominal pray-ers is to call them to prayer around a central focus for a set amount of time. This book could be used toward this end, for example, by a church going into a building program, a mission team preparing for their trip, or VBS workers seeking God’s favor on their endeavors. In the section of the format Seek First The Kingdom, the central focus of the church or group could be plugged in. Once someone has practical training and a reference point, they will be more likely to become involved in a lifestyle of dynamic praying. I’ve made this book cost effective for churches and groups so that they can do this easily - only $4 a copy when bought in bulk.

Phil ~ John, please write a prayer you hope each one of us reading this will pray; for ourselves and for those we shepherd.

John ~ Father, would you grant that the eyes of our heart may be enlightened to know the character and nature of your Son, to be conformed to His image, to walk with You as He did, especially in this our day when we stand in desperate need of revival. May each pastor and leader have the grace to wisely shepherd Your flock, to turn them from the propensity toward self-centeredness, to see themselves as servants of the Living God, denying self so they may be agents of righteousness for Christ’s sake.

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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

RESOURCE: Sample Chapter

Love to PrayLove to Pray is a 40-day study that will help you become devoted to prayer as a way of life rather than a duty. Useful for adult classes, small groups, or individuals. Other study components are also available.

Read a sample chapter

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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

TeleSeminar ~ Dealing with Doubt



8:30-9:30PM (EST)


*TELESEMINAR FORMAT: FREE (Only the normal charge on the “listener’s” phone bill for a regular “long distance” call)

Each month the “Guest Speaker” is teaching on some aspect of prayer for thirty minutes; followed by a 20-minute “Q & A” opportunity for “listeners” to interact with the speaker; followed by an announcement of next month’s speaker/topic and a closing prayer. The teaching goal is two-fold:

                1. To provide a biblically based understanding of “prayer”…as it relates to God’s people communicating with Him!

                2. To provide practical ideas on how to grow the role of “prayer” in the life of each believer and in the church!



                1. Founder of: National Call to Prayer (1979)!

                2. Author of Why Pray? (1988)…Translated into multiple languages for international teaching also!

                3. Served in pastoral ministry for over 50 years; still serving a church--as “Prayer Pastor”--in Ft. Worth, TX!


*HOW TO LISTEN-IN: From Any Phone…Anywhere:

               1. Dial: 1+712-432-0232 (Automated Voice will prompt you to dial the “Conference Access Code”)

               2. Dial Access Code: 732668# (Be sure to press the “pound” sign at the end of the numbers)


We are so grateful for all that God is doing through your ministry to encourage and equip the “prayer-life” of pastors and their church members; and offer you this invitation to join us for this unique Teleseminar hour as part of CPLN’s commitment to serve alongside you, “in prayer” however needed.


Together with Him,

Dennis & Betty Jo Conner

Church Prayer Leaders Network

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Monday, May 11, 2009

Developing Your Prayer Leading Skill Set

Critical Prayer for Critical Times

Let's be honest,

The alarming financial crisis, devastating fires and threats of pandemic, calls for a Church desperate in prayer.

For the Church to surge beyond around-the-circle, down-the-list kind of praying, we are in immediate need of leaders who are skilled in facilitating Spirit-led, Scripture-fed, corporate praying.

Too many pastors and ministry leaders are untrained and under-skilled, which has led to uninspired and under-attended prayer meetings.

This must change! ... which is why we are inviting you to Reaching The Summit ---

DATE: August 4-6, 2009
TIME: Tuesday noon through 4pm Thursday
LOCATION: Southwestern Baptist Seminary, Forth Worth, TX
MORE: Our sessions will be in the seminary's beautiful Riley Conference Center

August seems so far away, doesn't it?

As we look at our timetable for "Reaching the Summit," though, it seems like August is moving up on us very QUICKLY! We need to send deposits, book airfare, decide on menus, etc. As good stewards, we desire to base these decisions on educated estimates and not guesses. We are hoping you can help us out -- and in return, we have a gift for you!

We know that many of you intend to come to the Summit. Register by June 15 and you will receive a FREE gift when you arrive at the Summit. We would like to thank you with your choice of Fresh Encounters or PRAYzing! by Daniel Henderson, or Prayer Summits by Dr. Joe Aldrich.

If you are not a pastor, please forward this to your pastor and encourage him or her to come. Better yet -- provide a scholarship for your pastor to attend. You never know how this gift might change your church!

By registering early, you not only receive a free gift, you also have a better chance of getting an on-site room (click here for accommodation info). As we pray and plan for this Summit, we are so excited about coming together with you for these days of impact, encouragement, joy, and hope!

Take a look at how Prayer Summits have impacted one pastor and his congregation in Indiana:

Several years ago Pastor Mark Vroegop was exposed to worship-based prayer while attending a Prayer Summit. Mark admits he had reservations about attending the event, thinking that it would be boring to spend two days just praying. What he realized is that it was just the opposite. "We met with God," he says, "and it was the most free-flowing, Spirit-fed, Scripture-oriented thing I'd ever been a part of, and it grabbed was so right. I left saying, 'This is how church is supposed to be, and how can I bring it back to my church?'" Mark made taking this to his church a focus, and has since "infected" two churches with the vision of worship-based prayer.

In March, close to 100 people from College Park Baptist Church of Indianapolis followed Mark, their pastor, in a day and a half of worshiping God using Scripture and song. One woman summed it up this way: "God moved in a mighty way in the heart of my husband at the Prayer Summit. I am not sure what happened there, but he has already put in place some major changes in our daily lives, and he is prayerfully considering more. I am talking radical change to a very busy work schedule, planned times to witness to co-workers and neighbors, lifting me up in prayer and encouragement like never before, and even selling our house to downsize again. Please understand; I have been blessed to be married to a godly man for almost 20 years, but it is clear to me that he has grown closer to the Lord and the desires He has for his life through the Prayer Summit."

Mark was excited to share this experience with his people and looks forward to how they will bring the vision back to College Park. "I had four or five people ask if we would be doing this again," he says. "It has created an appetite for more, and to share with those who didn't attend. When you have met with God in a way that is meaningful and powerful, you want others to experience it too. Prayer Summits set people up for that. They meet God and want to tell others." Church bodies change when they begin to meet with God in a personal way. Mark is just one example of how the ministry of Strategic Renewal can impact a pastor and then an entire body of believers. College Park Church also holds Fresh Encounters once a month and a prayer and fast Wednesday once a month.

For more information on "Reaching the Summit," visit our website,, or call Lori at 916-489-4774. We are excited about what God has planned for us August 4-6. Don't miss out!

A Prayer Summit . . .

is not like a conference where you can pick and choose which seminars and workshops to attend and where your primary interest is what you take away from it.

Rather, there is a flow in a Prayer Summit from session to session and Prayer Summit participants are not just receivers but contributors as well.

Plus, Reaching The Summit is designed to be a "lab" experience. Through workshops, discussion and debriefing, your facilitation team will seek to provide you with a transforming experience -

Expect to be equipped to lead corporate prayer for large or small groups in a new, spiritually satisfying manner.

It is time the vision-casting, sermon-preaching, goal-setting, decision-making leaders of Christ's congregations increase their prayer leading capacity.

It is time to swim in deeper water.

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Saturday, May 09, 2009

TeleSeminars Equip Prayer Leaders

CPLN Newletter Header

"Every Believer's Bout with Doubt"

Presenter: Dr. Bob Willhite
Tuesday, May 12 at 8:30 PM EST

To participate: Call: 1-712-432-0232 / Pass Code: 732668#

UP-Coming Teleseminars:

June 8: Phil Miglioratti
"Climate-Changing Prayer: Praying For, In, and With the People, Places and Things That Matter In Our Communities!"

July 9: John Franklin (author of And the Place Was Shaken)
"How to Lead a Powerful Prayer Meeting"

August 17: Jenny Almquist (author of KidsGap) "Teaching Children to Be Kingdom Intercessors"

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Friday, May 08, 2009

Hearing God’s Voice

Hearing God’s Voice

“Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him… Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it’”
(Isaiah 30:18, 21).

If ever we needed to listen to God and hear what He is saying, it is now. He longs to be gracious to us and show us the way in which we should walk. We need to listen to the heartbeat of God and not to what others are saying in the media or TV. What is God saying about us? How are we to pray? How do we know what He is saying about the times we are living in? We must know how to hear God. This is critical to us. It could save us our life! It saved one man from an awful crash.

The truth is that most of us are just too busy for God. We’re so often making our plans of what we think He wants, but we’re not really taking the time to listen. We quickly proceed with a hurried prayer for His stamp of approval on what we want to do. But let’s stop for a moment and think about our hearing. We don’t want to be like the man who bragged that his hearing aid was the finest one available. When his friend asked, “What kind is it?” He answered, “About 2:30.” He wasn’t hearing too well was he? We so often fall into the disease of busyness. But how did Jesus live His life? He spent unhurried time in the Father’s presence listening, praying, worshipping, and carefully taking instructions every day for God’s perfect plan. He was in constant communion with the Father.

Jesus only did what He saw the Father doing. We must do the same. Many things will look good, but what does the Father want us to do? What is He saying? Listening to God and hearing what He is saying is a daily experience. It’s not something we have to go on a retreat to hear. Those times are good and beneficial, but if we can’t take the time to really listen to God on a daily basis, we have missed the boat. He may be in one place and we have steered out of the center of His will for even a moment and may not even know it. The challenge is going to get greater and the demands will only increase as the days get harder. We have got to learn this lesson now. We have got to stop and listen now.

How can we put the breaks on and really learn to listen? There are certain basic things we must cultivate in our life that will help us to hear God’s voice. Here are a few:

Hearing God’s Voice in Prayer

"He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches" (Revelation 3:22).
  • We must know God’s Word - God’s will is made know in His Word. It’s our final judge in our decisions. Learn to pray God’s Word.
  • We must look at our circumstances - God’s guidance is often confirmed through circumstances. Bring your circumstances before the Lord in prayer.
  • We must look at our heart - What is it saying? The Holy Spirit is living in you. Examine your heart before the Lord and ask Him for revelation in your heart (John 16:13. 1 Corinthians 6:19).
  • We must meet God’s conditions in our life - God will guide us if we do what he says. Meeting the conditions will unlock His promises to us. Ask the Lord if you have any sin in your life that needs to be confessed.
  • We must have God’s peace - Is there peace in your heart? Even if there is a storm in your life, you can have God’s peace (James 3:17).
  • We must daily humbly seek God’s guidance - Humbly lay your daily and weekly schedule before the Lord. Stay humble and walk day by day with God (Psalm 25:9).
  • We must have listening ears - God often speaks through a still, small voice. He may drop a thought into your mind. He is often guiding us when we don’t realize it. We must listen to these quiet thoughts and ask, “Lord, is this You speaking to me?”
  • We don’t have to know all the details - Many times we will only see what is right in front of us. Ask God to help you walk by faith, and do the thing that is in front of you.
  • We may not always feel good about God’s guidance - It does not always feel good. We have to bear our cross. God breaks us and does not want us to be static. We have to choose his ways. Commit yourself to His ways even when it is hard (Isaiah 55:8-9).
  • When we hear God, we must take action - We must commit what we hear to doing what God may want us to do. The Bible says that we should not merely listen to the world and deceive ourselves. We must do what it says (James 1:22).

We need to develop this skill of listening. We don’t want to miss even a small nudging from the Lord in any circumstance of life.

“As you study your Bible, you may sense that God has something to say directly to you through the verses you are reading. Take a moment to consider the awesome reality that the God who spoke and created the universe is now speaking to you. If Jesus could speak and raise the dead, calm a storm, cast out demons, and cure the incurable, then what effect might a word from Him have upon your life?” Henry and Richard Blackaby

Together in the Harvest,
Debbie Przybylski, Intercessors Arise

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* Coaching? Teaching? Preaching? on prayer - Contact
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