A significant problem in many churches is the lack of focus on prayer. There is a difference between being a church that sometimes prays and being a praying church. One thing is clear in the book of Acts; the early church was a praying church. If we want to follow their example, we must become churches that emphasize prayer. Here are 6 ways we can do that.
1- Incorporate Intentional Prayer into the Worship Service
I know, you already pray in your worship services, but in many churches prayer is a good transition, a good opening, or a good closing to the service. Prayer must play a more vital role in our worship services.
Incorporating times of intentional prayer will demonstrate your belief in the importance and power of prayer.
2- Have Regular Meetings for Prayer that Emphasize God Working in and Through the Church
For years, most churches had a Wednesday evening prayer meeting. What started as a way to pray for God to move and to work in and through his church, turned into a time to pray for the same physical needs of people in the church, week after week. While it is certainly not wrong to pray for physical needs, the focus shifted off of praying for God to work.
Have times of prayer that are focused on asking God to work as only he can.
3- Preach a Sermon Series on Prayer
Perhaps prayer is not a focus because people have not been taught that it is to be a focus. Preaching a sermon series on prayer in the early church can help the congregation see the importance of prayer and the power of prayer.
4- Start a Prayer Ministry Team
There are many people in the church who will pray daily and specifically for the church if they are simply challenged, encouraged, and equipped to do so. Here is what to do:
- Communicate the need for people to be on a prayer ministry team.
- Build a list of people who have committed to pray for the church daily.
- Have your prayer list structured so that it mirrors the stated purposes of your church.
- Pass out or e-mail those people a list of specific ways they can pray for the church that week.
- Celebrate answered prayer.
5- Incorporate Prayer into Every Meeting
If prayer is, in part, demonstrating reliance on God and not ourselves, then every meeting needs to intentionally incorporate prayer – not in a way that is just going through the motions, but in a way that says “we needs God’s guidance and wisdom.”
6- Have a Quarterly 24-hour Prayer Focus
Churches will sometimes do this when there is a major need or event taking place, such as looking for a new pastor, planning a major evangelistic event, or interceding on behalf of others who are facing tragedy. But why not do this on a regular basis? Have people sign up for 30-minute time slots and commit to pray for the church during that time. Prayer is not only needed for special events; it is needed at all times.
People often wonder about the secret to Charles Spurgeon’s powerful preaching. I am convinced it is the fact that there would be as may as 700 people gathered together praying for him, his preaching, and his church before almost every service.
Prayer needs to be at the center of the church. It needs to be a focal point for the church. It is to be the source of power in the church. We desperately need to get back to emphasizing prayer in our local churches.
What are some ways you emphasize prayer in your church? Please comment below.