Please Pass the Prayer
Last month, we talked about the need for prayer, building prayer filled relationships, and asking God to enhance our perspective on His power through prayer. This month, we are going to look at practical tips for letting God change our tactics on prayer-filled living in the church. Why? Because while we reviewed with our member churches the initiatives intended to build prayer-filled relationships, often these are led by Pastors or church staff. There is a noticeable difference between when Pastors and church staff lead prayer and when prayers are led by all the community of believers, and I want to encourage you to begin to “pass the prayer” leadership to others.
If you are the person who is often looked to for leading prayer, this Coaches Corner is especially for you. It is time to pass the prayer! If there is a Pastor in the room, most often people want to hear them speak because of their knowledge of the Word, their experience praying and quite frankly we are often intimidated by the skill with which Pastors pray. We call on Pastors and other experienced pray-ers (often labeled prayer warriors) when people are sick or at Christian celebrations, and we have therefore often become a Christian culture where we ONLY pray when there is an experienced prayer warrior to pray for us. Here are some practical ideas that some of our churches are using to pass the prayer, so that God is glorified through the prayers of all people, not just those who are articulate in prayer.
In Life groups, train your leaders to call on others to open in prayer, close in prayer, or sometimes to spontaneously pray when the Spirit exalts something that needs to be covered in prayer. It has been my surprising experience that, as I have been using this technique in my Life Group, NOT ONE person has ever turned down the opportunity to talk with God – even out loud. If the person does happen to decline or just looks like they’re going to “poop their pants,” then of course do not force them to pray. But, trust the Holy Spirit in them and by faith, try this. As we begin to allow the prayers of all of us who believe to be heard in group, real transformation is happening. God is moving. And, it is spectacular.
Another Spirit-empowered technique is to ask a church member whom God inspires you to ask to lead the prayers of the church in worship. There may initially be GASPS from the congregation when it is someone other than a robe-clad, poetic prayer champion in front of the church leading prayer. But, by faith, God transforms the gasps over change into gasps over HIS power as the prayers are heard and, more importantly, answered. I will never forget the first time that a brother in Christ told me that my prayers for healing over his wife were answered. We were both in awe of God’s power over a very simple, but faith empowered request to our Father. It was a supernatural moment for both of us.
Also, when you are prompted to pray for another Christian, let them know about it if possible. One of the beauties of technology these days is the ability to quickly let someone know you are thinking of them: email, text, a quick phone call. The purpose is not to inform them of your effort on their behalf. The purpose is to let them begin to experience God’s love through the power of prayer when they recognize God moving in response to the prayers of a righteous person (them!) and through the power of community.
Passing the prayer to others will help grow our faith as we see others begin to GASP at God’s glory instead of at changes that make us uncomfortable. We will all continue the journey of transformation, by the power of the Holy Spirit, and it will be glorious.
May God bless you, as you seek to share the incredible gift of prayer with others. Amen.