Q&A

Does anyone have experience with Strategic Prayer Initiative? It was developed through Harvest Prayer Ministries (a group that CRC'er Al VanderGriend is on staff with).

My church is considering it as a more systematic approach to our prayer ministry. But we'd really love to hear from...

August 16, 2011 0 3 comments
Discussion Topic

I've been meaning to post this for a while, so we can use this as a guide for some of our prayers concerning the various spheres of influence we have...

"Our vision, a dream for the crc, that we will be a leading voice, a leader for God’s mission work in NA in the 21st...

July 6, 2011 0 4 comments
Discussion Topic

Ok, I had shared part of a testimony as a reply under the first "listening prayer"  posting... what was interesting timing is that very day when I wrote this 2nd part, I later ran into the cantata director to get his permission to share his part in it.   I had only met him at the cantata last...

July 6, 2011 0 0 comments
Q&A

ok, with the intro at Synod (Tues pm1 @ about 37 minutes in) to our new home missions director, Moses Chung, I want to raise some questions on listening prayer.  How much do we do listening prayer in corporate/communal settings? 

In the intro, Brother James, pres. of home missions, said...

June 15, 2011 0 7 comments
Resource, Job Description

This document gives a suggested job description for a Classical Prayer Coordinator.

February 22, 2011 0 0 comments
Q&A

Over the last couple of months several people have asked me, "Do you know of some Christian Reformed Churches that would be considered 'Houses of Prayer' or 'Churches Dedicated to Prayer?'" I know a few, but since my knowledge of every individual congregation is limited, I am sure there are...

January 19, 2011 0 2 comments
Resource, Job Description

This sample job description includes mission, management, scope and appointment information from Classis British Columbia NW.

December 20, 2010 0 0 comments
Resource, Website

This website has resources to encourage prayer in individuals, churches and denominations.

December 14, 2010 0 0 comments
Q&A

Classis Yellowstone's Prayer Coordinator retired, and as Stated Clerk I am attempting to encourage another individual to take up the task. Now as I begin to reacquaint myself with the Prayer Coordinator ministry, I have be browsing the CRCNA & Home Mission's webpages for more information....

November 13, 2010 0 4 comments
Q&A

Hi folks,

Our church, together with a couple others in our area, are beginning to plan a "coming home" prayer service.  The main impetus for this is that a young person in our congregation ran away from home over the summer, and her parents still can't find her.  So, the service is first...

October 18, 2010 0 1 comments
Resource, Activity or Game

Here are few fun ideas for praying with middle or upper elementary kids... All you need is construction paper cut into strips, pencils or crayons, and a glue stick, tape, or a kid-sized stapler.

September 24, 2010 0 0 comments
Q&A

Hi folks,

Anybody running a healing prayer...

September 1, 2010 0 5 comments
Discussion Topic
Several weeks ago, I was asked by a ministry leader to lead a prayer walk through the neighborhood surrounding our church here in Bellevue, WA. I was happy to agree, as I have been spiritually nourished by prayer walks in the past. I see prayer walking as part of a missional strategy -...
March 24, 2010 0 1 comments
Blog

If you’re a doer like me, you’ll find it easier to check things off the list than be still to pause for prayer. Like Martha in the kitchen, nothing that we do is as important as the relationship we’re cultivating with God.

January 10, 2010 0 0 comments
Resource, Article

I don’t remember the course content, the final exam, or the other students in my favorite university course at DordtCollege in Sioux Center, Iowa. What I do remember and what I looked forward to most each day was the professor’s opening prayer. He’d look at us all with this big smile on his face...

December 15, 2009 0 0 comments

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Richard Rohr, a franciscan contemplative author and speaker, put on a conference entitled: "Prophets then, prophets now".  there are audio recordings of the lectures which you may find helpful. I tried to include a link in this post, but that didn't work. Just google richard rohr and prophet and it will show up

Here's a five-year  old Prayer Coordinator Job Description.  We no longer have this position and there are several things in the job description that we'd change to fit our current church life, but hope it helps you think about your own needs. 

 

PRAYER COORDINATOR

Job Description

 

The Prayer Coordinator at First CRC is a part time, volunteer position.  This person will interact with staff and congregation, encouraging and enabling growth in prayer.  As a result of the work of this person, First Church will grow in maturity and practice of prayer.

 

DESIRED CHARACTERISTICS OF THE COORDINATOR:

·        Prays regularly

·        Attends worship regularly

·        Organized

·        Administrative skills

·        Communicates well with others in verbal and written forms

·        Knowledgeable about prayer in its various forms

·        Humble and gentle (perhaps through personal “brokenness” experience)

·        Encourager

·        Discerner of needs and of the Spirit

 

EXPECTED ACTIVITIES OF THE COORDINATOR:

  1. Congregational Prayer Requests
    1. Collect Prayer Needs

                                                               i.      Via notes, phone calls and emails from staff and members

                                                             ii.      From missionary care team

                                                            iii.      Through personal discernment re: life of the church

  1. Communicate Prayer Needs

                                                               i.      Prayer Phone Line (updated twice weekly)

                                                             ii.      Prayer Page on the Web site (updated twice weekly)

                                                            iii.      To the Pastors and Worship leaders for public prayer

                                                           iv.      To prayer teams as needed

  1. Resource Center for Prayer
    1. Research prayer studies or books and recommend

                                                               i.      For library

                                                             ii.      For small groups

                                                            iii.      For Sunday School

                                                           iv.      For family devotions

  1. Teach prayer lessons as needed (or organize others to teach)

                                                               i.      Sunday School

                                                             ii.      Wednesday night

                                                            iii.      Small Groups

                                                           iv.      Evening Worship

  1. Prayer Partners
    1. Research prayer partner options
    2. Recruit as needed
    3. Through the MCD, connect with various ministries utilizing partner methods
    4. Regularly check with both partners to help them connect about the prayer needs and the prayer that is happening.
    5. Organize partner systems in desired places
    6. Keep record of all those who sign up to pray and encourage them periodically.
  2. Initiate new ideas for encouraging increase of prayer and maturity of prayer at First CRC. 

 

 

Bev, others will have more and better thoughts than I.  But I am reminded of Elijah complaining to God that he was the only one left who served God.  I am reminded of the donkey who spoke to Balaam.   I am reminded of Gideon asking for the dew on the fleece.  Prayer is a natural part of living for prophets;  it is embodied in every thing they see, or desire, or experience.   And for the prophets, I think that prayer included listening as much as speaking. 

Good thoughts John... Thanks for taking the time to think about this and respond.  I have just started studying Samuel as prophet (and seer, now there's a term we don't use too often)... I am particularly looking for indicators of his prayer life, and so as I was reading Samuel earlier today, and in 1 Samuel 7:5-17, it talks about Samuel interceding on behalf of the people, with a footnote that says, prophets had a special responsibility to be intercessors for God's people.  hmmm...  i think there is a high correlation between a person's prayer life and the release/level of prophetic gifting in their life.   that's my hypothesis, and so now I'm studying the prophets to see how true that is.  and love any and all the input from everyone that would like to share their thoughts!!  or maybe someone's written a book about this already, that I'm not aware of  =)...

What does it mean to be prophetic in our current culture?   I think of prophets like Nathan who spoke to King David, Elijah who spoke to Ahab,  Jeremiah who spoke to Israel, John the Baptist who was beheaded.   Maybe Stephen was also a prophet before he was stoned to death.  Generally their messages were unpopular, although sometimes, like John the Baptist, they gathered large crowds before they were put in prison.  But the essence of their prophecy was that they spoke the word of the Lord, and brought people to repentance, and back to God. 

Do you remember the story of the prophet who was deceived by another prophet, and yet was held responsible for his disobedience, and died as a result?   Prophecy does not guarantee perfection, and prophetic position does not guarantee purity or a prophetic word in all cases.  

In general, the significance of prophecy was that it countered the prevailing notions of the day, and yet was found to be true.   It was often unpopular because it stressed the supremacy of God at the expense of the popular opinions and current authorities.   The prophets stressed that Israel and Judah would suffer severely and be decimated because of the actions of most of the Israelites and Judaites and their kings in worshipping false gods on the high places.   John the Revelator prophecied first about several churches in terms of warnings and encouragements, as well as proclaiming the promised future of God's kingdom. 

I have difficulty calling someone a prophet when they merely follow the conventional and popular wisdom of the day.   A true prophet was a leader, not a follower.  Except for being a follower of God, of Christ, of His Word. 

Bev: I appreciate your post, and think it is extremely timely, given how much some recent speakers on Synod's floor emphasized that the institutional church must exercise its prophetic responsibilities (and so declare, for example, that a near consensus of scientists believe this and that about climate change).

I'll thus be more than a bit baffled if no one takes this opportunity to explain in this public CRC forum where they would have more than two minutes (time limit on the floor of Synod) to speak their minds.

And yes, I am baiting. :-)

But seriously, if this reason (CRCNA must exercise prophetic responsibility) is going to used to justify CRC statements/actions on non-ecclesiastic matters, some definitional discussion is needed.

thx. Doug, appreciate you thinking about this and sharing your insight...

Bev: I've been looking for suggested answers to your question. 

I tend to view the claim of having the responsibility to be prophetic in this article as merely a way to emphasis the writer's insistence that he is right and those who oppose his view are wrong.  In the context of the article you cite, I wonder why the Banner is not insisting, in order to excercise the church's prophetic role as it has chosen to do about climate change, that congress pass laws prohibiting taking the Lord's name in vain, or coveting, or adultery, or worshipping idols.  Doing that would be in accord with the article's emphasis on "sphere universality" (as the article seems to define it), as oppose to "sphere sovereignty."

Here is a partial contract description which was used for the Church Multiplication Initiative's National Prayer Advocate.  A bit broad since it covered several Kingdom Enterprise Zones.  But you may see something useful for a congregational level.

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

 

The Prayer Advocate will convene and champion the Strategic Prayer and Empowerment Task Force (SPETF) to be engaged in and equipped for prayer ministry related to church plants.

Services that will be provided

·       Mobilization:   Articulate a Church Multiplication Initiative (CMI) vision for prayer and be responsible for the recruitment and organization of KEZ prayer teams and intercessors; Direct each KEZ prayer leader in developing a team engaged in prayer; Administer and remain accountable for the SPETF budget

·       KEZ Coaching and Mentoring:  Provide bi-weekly one-hour coaching  conference calls for each KEZ prayer Leader on various aspects of a prayer ministry (e.g., prayer walking their communities, intercession for planters and teams, discerning strongholds in a community,  building prayer shields for church planters and planting teams, establishing houses of prayer, etc.)

·       Training and Equipping Events:  Design and conduct webinars for prayer leaders, their team members, and intercessors; Conduct onsite visits for each KEZ for prayer and equipping

·       Apprentice Zone Coaching: Begin working with apprentice zones as they show up on the radar and move towards becoming kingdom enterprise zones; Seek out leaders for coaching/equipping  for participation in the SPETF

Hi John,

Although I don't have specifically what you are asking for, I was able to locate a Prayer and Spiritual Development Director job description https://docs.google.com/a/crcna.org/document/pub?id=1dnDwd27gIL0DUllO5NpW-GVJpHF879FsUNRPNLGWHYo . Here's a Classis Prayer Coordinator job description which might give you some ideas as well http://network.crcna.org/content/classis/classis-prayer-coordinator-job-description .

If you google "Prayer coordinator job description" you will find a few useful documents to start your draft.

All signed up and ready to go.  I hope the Kalamazoo churches pick up on this.  This comes highly recommended

I highly recommend this to anyone within driving distance to attend (unfortunately, I'm 2000 miles away, but I'm very excited for you)...

I had the privilege of hearing Dan Henderson speak a few years ago and have the "Fresh Encounters" book he wrote, I've read it several times, including one time in the last month...  and often pick it up to randomly read a chapter here or there to remind and encourage me in the prayer journey, as the Spirit transforms us into "houses of prayer", both individually, and communally, this book prompted me to attend "prayer summits" =) and the Holy Spirit put a hunger on my heart to want to spend increased time in prayer, in the Word and in worship, individually, and communally...  bless your heart, St. Joseph CRC for hearing the call of the Kingdom and helping make this happen...  Love and prayer... Bev S, 2nd CRC Lynden, Washington

yes, I'm grateful for how God is using Moses in the crc to help encourage prayer (#4), the recent prayer summit was a beautiful testimony of one piece of how God is answering that prayer in our denomination... thank You Jesus, for what you are doing in the crc, as part of Your Bride...

I was greatly blessed.

It was a blessing.

Thanks, Moses

wow.. you are quick and thanks for deleting my 2nd save =)

That'd be great. Thanks Bev.

I wish we did have some experience with this Tim...  I will pass this on to Alvin VG, if he has any insight for you, we are on a prayer board together, and our meeting is tomorrow...

Well, I have been to a number of prayer retreats.  several were pastor/prayer leader summits.  Some were 3 days, some are 1/2 day, about 4 hours, and some are 1-2 days, some included some teaching.  Some  were facilitated by Dennis Fuqua, who uses a wonderful, fresh approach to prayer, and focuses a lot on worship based prayer.   I think having someone like Dennis come for a weekend to teach, preach and pray with a church or several churches would be very helpful in expanding/growing  a church's/community's prayer life.  It opens the door to praying differently then we have traditionally prayed in our reformed tradition.    It's not wild and crazy, but beautiful and sweet, with everything directed by the Holy Spirit, and straight out of scripture... something our conservative inclinations can be ok with.  Dennis is a very down to earth man of prayer, and we've appreciated his leading through his sensitivity to the Holy Spirit in growing the level of prayer in our area.  let me find the link to his ministry, International Renewal:

http://irm.livewebsitebuilder.com/

and this is another link for Dennis

http://livingprayerbook.web.officelive.com/aboutus.aspx

I also get together regularly with Dr. Alvin Vander Griend, Author of love to pray, and a founder of the Harvest Prayer Ministries.  I know he has amazing and powerful teachings on prayer, with very practical guides to help the church grow a "culture of prayer."

The board for the prayer center i help serve on, tries to have a quarterly prayer retreat.  So far, these have been 9-4ish on a Friday or Sat.  We will spend time confessing  and praying for each other (James 5:16).  We will pray about different ministries connected to the prayer center, we will pray for prayer events, we will pray for our prayer missionaries, etc. ...let's see how does that translate into a church... confessing is same, praying for ministries would be sunday school, cadet/gem programs, catechism classes, bible studies, nursery, music, youth group, whatever you guys have going on, and then also maybe praying for para church ministries that your members are involved with like feeding homeless and poor, schools, supporting single moms, or whatever it might be.   You can also pray for denominational leaders (ie Board of Trustees, Executive Director, Home Missions Director and their staff) and issues, which we generally don't get to spend very much corporate prayer time on. 

and then just pray for the Holy Spirit to pour out through prayer...

I've had extended times of  prayer together from  2+ plus hours to 3 days, some were held at church, some were at a retreat facility.  I will say, most people, including most pastors, are not ready for 3 days for various reasons, but hopefully that day is coming to the crc =)

Steve, there are lots of options, and I think you get to pray into what God  wants it to look like for your church.    some questions:  What are the funds available for it?  How busy people are might limit it to an evening or an evening and part of the next day, but a prayer retreat is far better than meeting the Pres. of the US.  You would drop everything you have going on for that opportunity =), right?  We get to meet with this amazing God of the universe, our Creator,  the One Who loves us beyond our wildest imagination!   

Hope and pray you have a powerful and profound prayer retreat where you encounter God in fresh and beautiful ways!

This is a great discussion on "listening prayer!" and long overdue. It seems to be a subject we have unfortunately shied away from for a whole variety of reasons - some theological, some simply practical.

When we listen to God, and "hear/listen/know his voice" (John 10:2,4,16), and then obey what he says, the testimonies are incredible. Thanks for sharing a few of your stories - they provide encouragement for us as we listen...

I am also excited about Moses' (Chung) leadership at Home Missions - he is God's answer to many prayers. Prayers continue that God will use him to bring a renewed passion and commitment to prayer throughout our denomination (and nations). And God is now using him to raise up a discussion on "Listening Prayer!"

The four best books I've encountered on the subject of listening prayer are:

1) Hearing God: Developing a Conversational Relationship with God. Dallas Willard (IVP. 1984); This is probably the classic book on listening prayer.

2) Whole Prayer, (Zondervan. 1998), by Walter Wangerin, a Lutheran pastor, underscores that (whole) "prayer"  really requires both talking and listening. Much/Most/All(?) of our praying emphasizes the talking part of the conversation; i.e., most of our praying is simply like leaving a message on God's answering machine.

3) Ted Kalleman has a wonderful little book entitled, "Stark Raving Obedience,"  underscoring his experience and growth in listening prayer, Ted underscores the (obvious?) imperative that if we hear God speak we are required to obey. (This may be one of the reasons listening prayer a low priority for many!)

4) Can You Hear Me? Brad Jersak (Fresh Wind Press. 2003). While very helpful, this should be read carefully through "Reformed glasses" (actually, all the above books should be read carefully through "Reformed glasses.") The blessing for Bev (S) is that he is in your neighborhood (just across the border in Abbotsford at Fresh Wind Christian Fellowship - at least last I checked) and he provides periodic teaching/conferences on listening prayer. He also a a children's version designed to introduce listen prayer to elementry school children.

Thanks Colin...good to hear from you...  I got to attend a summit with you in 2009  =), I missed 2010,  and missed you this year, but I got to meet Mike VanderKwaak sp? and his Mennonite office partner...fyi   Dennis is coming Oct. 3 to B'ham  - not sure if it's a full day or 4 hr, but you can get that on your schedule and share the word...

Check out International Renewal Ministries for stuff on coorporte prayer that moves in the direction of listening prayer.  I agree this is pretty new for many of our congregants, and myself.  I also read Dallas Willard's "Hearing God".  Good for people new to listening prayer and who have the normal objections.  I attended a few IRM's prayer summits for pastors.  Three days of group, small group and individual prayer and worship times guided by a seasoned facilitator.  It is truly renewing!  I will be attending again.   

definitely thought you guys looked young enough that they were yours  =)

I re-read my post on the link and realized the "about 12-13 minutes in" could be read 2 different ways.... so when you watch the link, Moses really starts talking about his prayer journey in Korea, that starts at about 12 or 13 minutes in, and this goes through about 17 minutes or so, just in case you are listening for it only between 12-13 minutes...  sorry if I caused confusion

That is so interesting and excitiing how God is connecting us in the area of listening prayer...  I too, have prayed with others involved in healing prayer ministries (but not CRC or even reformed backgrounds), and went through some training for this.    At this point in my life - with little ones (11, 7 and 5), I don't get to go in and pray with them very often, so most of my prayer time is at home...   we do pray together as a family every night before bed, and,  especially if we need direction with something, take time for listening prayer...  my son, who's 11 has several testimonies of scriptures the LORD put on his heart that were beautiful answers to what we were asking. 

One testimony is last Christmas, I asked him to sing with me in a combined church Christmas cantata that brought  singers from the local CRC's together, since they were organizing a youth choir to participate as well.   So I mentioned it to him, and his response was "do I have to?"  My response, was, "no, you get to sing, but you have to have a good attitude."  So, that night when we had our prayer time together, I said, let's ask God, whether He wants you to sing in this cantata.    We were quiet about  5 minutes,  I rec'd a scripture, but didn't share it right away, and then I asked him if he had any thoughts or any scriptures came to him... He said "Isaiah 5"...  I asked him, "do you know what Is. 5 says?"  He responded "no", so we looked it up, and Is. 5 is the "Song of the Vineyard" and starts with... now let me sing to my Well-beloved...  So I asked my son, what he thought God was telling him, and he said "Sing!" (can't get any clearer than that!)  and for the next half hour, he continued to receive more scripture references about singing...

The scripture that "popped" into my head was "make a joyful noise!"   We both sang in the Christmas cantata last year =)  !

Now, there's a whole lot more to this story...because when we showed up at the first practice, by the time we started practicing the first song, it was my attitude that was not good (and that's putting it mildly)...  and I just realized as I was writing this, that God was going to hold me to the words I said to my son and wanted me to sing it with the right attitude as well... and boy, did He ever "undo" my bad attiude...   the first verse, I didn't even know what I was singing I was so mad, in the second verse He melted the hardness in my heart and by the 3rd verse I was a basket case about ready to walk out because I did not know what I was going to do with all the "fluids" flowing from various places of my face...  I had NOT "listened" to the prompting of the Holy Spirit as I walked in to practice that "you might want to get some kleenex"...My intellect immediately responsed to that with a snarky thought..."why would I need kleenex for practice?"  and dismissed the thought...  it was what I call a "terrible, beautiful" experience of being "undone", taking out the ugliness that was in my heart, and replacing it with a beautiful piece of His heart...

I don't mind being more specific about what was going on and why I was mad and how He got my attention, but it gets kind of long for this post...  I will work on writing that out, and maybe if the network gets a testimony tab  (hint hint moderators;-), I can post it under that some time  =)...

I can't wait to hear about your trip...that is way cool... I sensed the Spirit when I read about it, and now again, when I'm thinking about it (I just read it again, and I felt another wave of the Spirit)...  If you are blogging on it, let me know where I can find that... would love to hear everything... It's going to be amazing...

In Him..

Bev, thanks for the link.  I'll try to listen to it today at work :). 

You asked who I get to "listen" and pray with...God has blessed me with a mentor who is experienced in healing prayer ministry.  She's been teaching me much about listening prayer.  Also, my nephew is active in a prayer ministry that reaches out to college students, as well as to those living in poverty (physical and spiritual poverty).  It just so happens my mentor and my nephew are in the same ministry.  Every other week, my husband and I attend a time of Bble teaching by them, followed by a time of listening prayer.  I love it!  God's been teaching me so much about Him and how He interacts in our lives.

They've asked me to go to Kyrgyzstan with them in July to be part of a prayer team covering a camp for church leaders in Asia (many from "illegal" churches). I can't wait!  I'm sure it'll be an unforgetable experience.

Enjoy your day!

Bev

(BTW, those precious children in my profile picture are my three little grandchildren! my kids are 27, 24, and 18). 

What a beautiful family  =) and testimony..  (and name!!) .  Praise God...thank you so much for sharing...   isn't it crazy how the Word becomes much more living and active when you're listening to Him? 

So who do you get to "listen" and pray with that have so much experience?    That is awesome... would love to hear more about your journey.  We are in training...  Really excited about the appointment of Moses Chung as director of Home missions...a Spirit led man of prayer...he just spent 3 years in S Korea in "the" praying church...  if you have a few minutes (about 18- I know how that can be with little ones=) and haven't already done so... watch his "welcome" speech from synod, he so resonated with my heart for prayer, especially about 12-13 minutes in... 

the CRC staff separated his speech out so you can watch it, but you might want to watch the intro as well, which you will have to go to Tues pm1 for...

http://www.crcna.org/pages/synod_webcast_archive.cfm 

 

bless your heart sister... with (spiritual) ears and eyes wide open

I love it that this topic came up!  Just this past week I've been specifically asking God to teach me more about listening prayer.  As an intercessor, I find it easier to pray with words than to pray with my ears and heart.  But I do find that when I ask God what's on His heart regarding a particular person or issue, He does answer me.  It's always with His Word (makes sense!) -- usually when I'm reading Scripture.  But I am also learning to hear the Spirit's still-small voice speak to my heart.  I'm asking God to make my hearing more keen...and for much discernment.

A couple of days ago, the Spirit suggested I read Isaiah 55.  I love this chapter...so many promises!  His Word for me that day was found in verse 3.  The NLT reads, "Come to me with your ears wide open.  Listen, and you will find life..."  The words LISTEN and WILL popped out of the text.  I WILL hear Him when I come to Him with my ears wide open (and my mouth closed?!).  When I listen to Him, He promises me life (and unfailing love, the passage goes on to say).

I think my biggest struggle is hearing Him when I'm in a group setting; even one that's meeting specifically for listening prayer.  I struggle with wanting so badly to hear Him, especially when I'm with more "experienced" intercessors.  I realize the temptation is there to try to appear "more than" I am.  The other day I confessed to God that I feel like a 5th grader in a room full of grad students (!) when I pray with those who have been practicing listening prayer much longer than I.  He assured me He plays no favorites.  I'm a work in progress and He patiently delights in my learning.

Thanks for bringing up this topic. 

Bev Roozeboom

Bev,

Thank you for sharing with us your excitment for and the blessings of the Light of the World Prayer Center in Bellingham. When I was at the Denominational Prayer Leaders Network in January, Dr. Alvin Vander Griend shared similar excitement for the vision and impact this ministry is having! God is being lifted up!

Luke 18 is also one of my favorite prayer passages; I find the question in the 8th verse to be most challenging: "When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?" Faith is integrally linked to prayer.  

I am encouraged by your passion and will pray that it is contagious throughout the Pacific Northwest...and may God bless the LOWPC, those who participate, and those who are being prayed for! And please feel free to share more of what God is doing through the center.

doug

I would encourage you to contact Pastor Scott Roberts at Hope in Christ (CRC) in Bellingham, Washington.  They have recently partnered with a house of prayer type ministry, Light of the World Prayer Center (LOWPC).   I am on the board of this ministry with several other CRC (Dr. Alvin Vander Griend, author of Love to Pray, the Joy of Prayer, and Praying the Father's Heart, is another CRC member on this board) and non-CRC members.   I cannot tell you how encouraged and blessed I was/we were when God orchestrated moving this inter-denominational prayer ministry onto a CRC campus, not through any effort, other than prayer, of the CRC board members - that's a whole testimony in itself.   This ministry goes beyond our CRC denomination with a beautiful blend of the diverse body of Christ from all different streams - mixing of all things ;) ...reformed and pentecostal!!     PRAISE GOD!!   and I think is evidence of God honoring the CRC when we reach out beyond the traditional Reformed walls to His greater Kingdom (and embracing His Holy Spirit more fully).  It's about so much more than our denomination...It's about His Body, His Bride, the Church!  and as much as I love the CRC, been a part of it all my life, we have much to learn from other streams, and, they hopefully can learn from us!

The church I attend - 2nd CRC in Lynden, participates in 24/7 prayer, taking one day a month to cover that day with relay type prayer, along with 30-40 other churches in the county that all take a day each month, so that there is continual prayer.   One particular scripture where this is mentioned is Luke 18:7; the story of the reluctant judge and the persistent widow...Jesus states..."....and will not God bring about justice for His chosen ones, who cry out to Him day and night?  Will He keep putting them off?  I tell you, He will see that they get justice, and quickly."   There are more scriptural references to 24/7 prayer, but that's one powerful example.  (Also research the Moravians, who prayed continually for over 100 years)!

The prayer center is working on 24/7 worship and prayer on-site, and has 7-10 prayer missionaries - several in their 20's -  that are supported similar to "traditional" missionaries that go out and serve in the "field"  but the prayer missionaries spend 20-40 plus hours each week in worship, prayer and service!   This is based on the concept of the tabernacle of David being restored (Acts 15:16-17), where David assigned and financed 4000 Levites as musicians to worship before the Ark of the LORD, night and day!  (1 Chron 23:5; 1 Chron 9:33)  Can you imagine, if this level of worship and prayer is going on all over our nation?  Think "Days of Elijah"...and these are the days of Your servant, David, rebuilding the temple of praise...   I go crazy just thinking about it because it is SO exciting!  

I could write on this a long time, in fact I have pages and many Biblical references if interested in more on the tabernacle of David...and other prayer related concepts from scripture, like the 24/7 prayer.   These are just some concepts that we believe are a bit of what is on God's heart, we don't claim they are the best or the only way, but several of many ways to get in step with King Jesus, the Great Intercessor.   We still have a long ways to go, before I would say we are a house of prayer...but that is our prayer

Oh, LORD, pour out Your Spirit of prayer and supplication upon us, stir our hearts to spend time with You!  May we hunger for Your Presence as David did, as Moses did!    Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, for what You are doing among Your people!   May we be faithful, may we be obedient...May we glorify You in all we do...because it is all about You! 

 

May we exalt King Jesus, 24/7!

Admin Note:

This comment has been moved to a new topic.

 

The position of classical prayer leader/coordinator/mobilizer has come to be increasingly important in encouraging prayer - not only at the classical level, but also in the churches of classis.

The website provides a sample job description for this position, but classes have generally formulated their own to meet specific needs and interests of their classis/churches.

The Classical Renewal Team put a binder together a few years ago (one was sent to each classis) containing materials and resources for classical prayer coordinators, and although the binder is not longer available, the contents should still be available on the web - or we can email you a copy.

If you have any specific questions about the role or opportunities, you can talk with your regional leadership team (many have a prayer leader on them) and/or let me know how I can help.

I'll pray that God will raise up a new classical prayer leader in your classis!

 

Thanks Elizabeth for your comment; it is good to know someone is taking up the mantle! You know, sometimes things need to be changed, other times not. I have always liked the name/title: Classis Renewal. Keep the name recognition; to me it seems rather appropriate for the site. Looking forward to seeing how it develops. I most certainly will refer our new prayer coordinator to you...when he/she accepts the position. Del VanDenBerg, aka “dutchoven.”

Thanks for your question and comments Dutchoven.  Last week I began my new position with The Network as Classis Coach.  This position has been vaccant for over three years now so there are a lot of pieces to pick up and get working on.  One of them is the Classis Prayer Coordinators.  The information on the Classis Renewal Website about Classis Prayer Calendars is still relevant and is still used by some Classis Prayer Coordinators.  One of my tasks is to update the website and so hopefully it won't be like this for long.  If the person you are encouraging to take up the task would like to talk to someone about this role I'd be happy to assist.  As well as being the new Classis Coach I am also a Classis Prayer Coordinator for Classis Toronto.  Hope this helps in your search.  Elizabeth.

Erin,

Sorry, but I am not aware on an entire service (I've participated in services where this has been being included) dedicated to this theme but it sounds like a wonderful idea. Our Father loves his "Prodigal Son(s)"  and longs for them to come home! (Luke 15!)

I agree that it must be handled wisely and sensitively - and I have a few suggestions. 

I would suggest that the only names mentioned (prayed for) publicly are those submitted in advance by members of the immediate family (e.g. parents could submit the name of their prodigal son/daughter, a wife her prodigal husband). I would not take requests from the congregation during the service. I would share the minimal amount of information necessary about these prodigals in order to pray effectively. For these requests, I would encourage the family of the one being prayed for to be surrounded by the congregation (perhaps even laying on hands) and have (a few) pre-designated people offer prayers (e.g. the pastor, their elder, a close friend or two, a family member, etc.). Set aside sufficient time. Prayers should be positive and encouraging - i.e., with the emphasis on their "coming home!"

I would also provide a time during the service where people (with a burden for a prodigal they might not want to make public or it would be inappropriate for them to make public) could approach a prayer team (I would have 2-4 teams available in the back and/or front of the worship space - I often recommend couples) and personally and confidentially share their request with the team. The "team" would then pray for their son, daughter, parent, spouse, grandchild...  When we have done this we have sometimes had very soft music playing and/or silence. If this time is extended, you might want to break it up with a song or two. We have placed items for members of the congregation to pray about on the screen or a small handout.

A short meditation on the parable of the prodigal (or another appropriate) passage emphasizing how God loves to welcome his children home...might be included.

Songs of God's faithfulness and love would be most appropriate.

I would include the reading of some of passages of God's promises/assurances/love - perhaps asking the families who have been interceding for a prodigal family member what passages have been helpful to them.

I also believe that you need to follow up on this worship service. The prodigals prayed for need to be continually prayed for. When the prodigal "comes home" a celebration needs to follow - including prayers of thanksgiving for God's faithfulness.

God will honor and answer prayers for his children!

And it would be great if you'd be willing to share your service with "us" as an encouragement for other congregations.

 

 Karl...

Glad to have you joining our discussion. I would agree that "intercession" is a less threatening term - but it is also less focused term. Intercessory prayer covers a wide variety of subjects --for example prayers for revival, protection, guidance/discernment, salvation, blessing/favor (to name just a few). "Healing prayer" is a specific form of intercessory prayer.

And while the call to pray for healing is very Biblical, the term "healing prayer" may bring to mind abuses of "faith healers" who pray and instantaneously everyone they touch/pray for is healed. So, when we talk about healing prayer  - especially in a Reformed context - we should make sure (hence the adjectives "slowly and carefully") we are clear what we are talking about. The "healing power" is not found in the intercessor or in the prayer itself (or some formula) but in the recipient of our prayers - God.  God provides the healing.

And we need to understand, sometimes God decides to heal instantly. Sometimes God heals over an extended period of time. Sometimes God provides limited healing. Sometimes God decides the physical or emotional healing will be reserved for future time. The decision/healing is always God's - and his decision is based on his glory, his kingdom's coming, and for our (eternal) good.

While I would encourage moving slowly (so people feel comfortable praying healing prayers for others and having others pray for their healing), carefully (teaching people what is "behind" the prayers), and prayerfully (we should be doing it in God's timing and as he leads - not because its on our agenda), initiating a "healing prayer" ministry should seriously be considered by every congregation. James 5 outlines the invitation and procedure. Jesus reminds us of the importance of "asking" so we can "receive."

So I would recommend the following steps - although not in any particular order

1. Begin praying (personally and corporately) about beginning a prayer ministry in your church. Listen and follow his leading.

2. Talk about introducing a healing prayer ministry at the consistory/council level

3. Study the subject Biblically (and theologically)

4. Talk to other pastors in your community who have a healing prayer ministry

5. Preach on passages of praying for healing

6. Pray for healing in the "prayers of the people" ("congregational prayer")

7. Invite people to come to receive prayer at your weekly prayer meeting

8. Train a few teams to visit the nursing homes, hospitals, homes (etc) to pray for those who are sick

9. Hold a worship service with an emphasis on healing prayer (message, explanation, prayer teams, etc); then invite people to provide feedback

10. Encourage people at each service to visit the prayer room following the worship service to receive prayer for healing.

The list is not exhaustive. But it should be enough to spark a discussion and get pastors, intercessors, prayer teams, congregational leaders to start thinking about a healing prayer ministry.

 

 

 

Thank you brothers!  This exchange blessed me, taught me, challenged me...  I loved hearing your stories, and I love the prayer ministry you describe!  I think the general idea of "intercession" may be a less threatening term than "healing" for some....  and I certainly the appreciate the cautionary approach you suggest with the words slowly, carefully, prayerfully.   And now I want to hear some more about how you actually got started.   What steps, what process, how did you talk about your purpose, how did you deal with concerns or resistance, if any?  If I wanted to get something like this started at my church, what advice do you have for me?  Thanks!  and thanks so much for sharing your stories!

 Jake,

Thank you for your very thorough answers. I am praying people who read them will be encouraged to ask God about starting a "healing prayer ministry" in their church.

God began to stir a passion for prayer in me over twenty years ago when I was working on my doctrinal studies at Fuller Seminary. The very first class I took - providentially - was "Spirituality and Ministry" taught by Roberta Hestenes. A great course. A wonderful professor. We spent some extended time at a Benedictine monastery and my life/ministry hasn't been the same since. A few years after completing my study, CR Home Missions asked if I'd take on the part-time challenge of mobilizing our churches to prayer - particularly for the lost and the harvest (incl. church plants and planters) and God has been watering and nurturing my passion ever since. The vision continues to grow - not only, in my estimation, is prayer the primary work of the church ("My church shall be called a 'house of prayer'"), but it is the/a essential element in a believers growing relationship with their Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Healing Prayer is a very "tender" subject in many churches - in many ways because it is often misunderstood. So sadly, some churches who have attempted to initiate such a ministry have found themselves in intense (theological) discussion and sometimes even conflict. At the same time, it is a ministry sanctioned by Scripture (cf. james 5) and integral to the pastoral ministry of a congregation.

At Calvary, we have a prayer meeting which meets weekly about 48 weeks of the year. Our (small) group of intercessors (anywhere from 4-12) assemble to intercede in many ways like you do - including laying on of hands, anointing with oil. We have, on occasion, made our regular evening worship service a  "healing prayer services"  with prayer teams located throughout the worship center. We have also send "healing prayer teams" to hospitals and nursing homes. While God has not always answered these prayers with dramatic physical healings, God has always heard our prayers and always made his presence known through comfort, encouragement, relief from pain, etc.

It is easy for me to get on a "soap box" and get passionate about this...but churches that pursued a "healing prayer ministry" slowly/carefully and prayerfully have experienced God's rich blessings.

By "intergenerational" I simply meaning praying today with children, teenagers, young adults, and people in their 30s-90's. Prayer becomes especially meaningful, again in my estimation, when grandparents, parents and children are all praying together. It is a wonderful - and very effective - way for the next generation to learn to pray. When parents take prayer "seriously" - their children tend to take prayer seriously as well.

Love the dialogue...

Keep praying,

doug

 

 Hi Doug,

Good questions.  I'll touch on each of your questions and statements:

 

God has definitely been faithful.  Praying with others is one of those neat things that is almost never disappointing.  I think that sometimes trying to set up a routine of personal prayer and devotions can be tough, but the concept of two or three gathering together and experiencing Jesus' presence is a really satisfying and fulfilling experience.  There was an article in the Banner a few months ago on this idea that sometimes even if we don't feel like it, all we have to do is show up and God does the rest.  In general our group has found week-in and week-out that this Ministry is a joy to participate in, and not one of those "oh darn, time to go to prayer group" type of events.

 

Our start and end of year retreats have taken various forms.  In general they are about discerning where God is leading us. They usually incorporate listening prayer: "asking" a question of God, usually finding some quiet space alone and leaving lots of silence for hearing God, then discerning together as a group how the various things we "get" from God come together.  For this year's kick-off we'll simply be reflecting on what our direction is for the coming year.  In the past we've spent a whole year as a group digging into our individual "barriers" - what was preventing us from moving into greater intimacy with God - we started off that process with a retreat where we got our initial direction or understanding of focus.  Usually we meet away from church for our retreats - at someone's house, at a friend's cottage, at a retreat center.  Sometimes we've had overnight 2 day sessions, sometimes just one day.  They always involve lots of good food!  We incorporate a fair bit of worship, and different ways of experiencing God (art, nature, Children's Worship messages, whatever).  We've also attended conferences and workshops together as a team to learn and grow.

 

As a group we usually run the church season, with time off in the summer. Some things continue through the summer (we each have one of the worship ministry leaders that we pray for individually and that kind of thing keeps rolling).

 

In terms of praying with people or simply interceding, we do both.  In general we have a person in for receiving individual prayer every 2 weeks (we call these "in-depth" prayer times).  Regarding your question, we occasionally anoint the person with oil (a little cross and a word of blessing at the end of the prayer time), but it's not our most common thing.  Funny with the oil, it often seems just slightly awkward, and then when we do it, it's a beautiful thing.  I think that's the case with a lot of things with prayer and with faith in general.  

 

An interesting dynamic for us: perhaps half or more of the people who come for in-depth times are actually from other churches with the connections made through ministers or leaders in other programs, and in particular from one church with a very active Celebrate Recovery program.  We seem to be a good compliment to other activities and programs that people access for healing.

 

We also receive prayer requests.  We pray through these requests on the other 2 weeks of the month, and as the need arises through the week as individuals.  We've done a few home visits, and a little bit of hospital visiting (in conjunction with our Pastoral Elders).  Overall our integration into the general flow of congregational ups and downs of life is small but growing.  Every few months we have a reminder in the bulletin for people to submit prayer requests and these requests do come in.  Often it’s when people are in crisis that they do connect with us.

 

I like your question about celebrating answered prayer.  We are probably not as intentional about that as we could be.  Our church has an adult discussion hour (Discipleship Hour) the hour before the service.  Some Healing Prayer Team members co-hosted one session per month for the last couple years - including a session on sharing experiences of answered prayer.  In that session we had people share their own stories of answered prayer and miraculous answers to prayer.  I wonder whether perceived or actual concerns about confidentiality have held us back from generally sharing about answered prayer (although it's easy enough to ask whether things can be shared or to ask the person to share).  Perhaps also the lack of "testimonial" type sharing in our congregation/denomination means that we have to be more intentional about creating opportunities.  Something to work on... :)

 

I'm interested to know from you Doug how you've seen healing prayer ministries active in other churches.  What's your experience?  What's your personal passion for prayer?  What do you mean by "inter-generational prayer" in your posting?  Why is that important?

 

Thanks for the dialogue!

Cheers

Jake DeBruyn

 Jake,

It was encouraging to read about your "healing prayer" ministry at New Life. No doubt over the five years you have been involved and invested in this ministry, God has been faithful in answering your prayers.

I'd be interested in hearing more about your "start and end of year" retreats. Is this an overnight retreat? What does your format/agenda look like? Does it involve teaching and praying? Does this mean your healing prayer team takes a break over the summer?

Do you require people to be present in order to pray for them? Do you anoint them with oil (James 5:15)? Do people also submit their prayers requests? Do you make hospital/home visits? Do you share God's answers to your prayers with your congregation?

I share your passion - Jake - not only to intercede for those who are suffering and ill; but to begin to develop "a culture" of inter-generational prayer and intercession in our churches.

Again, thanks for sharing what's going on at New Life - hopefully your willingness to share will be a catalyst for more pastors/prayer leaders/intercessors to share what God is doing in their churches...

doug

 

 

Pete, Prayer walks are a great tool for getting into the neighborhood and seeing with our eyes and hearts the lives the neighbors that need prayer. My wife & I routinely walk through our neighborhood for prayer. I would like to encourage you in keeping up the good work you have started. I would also like to take this forum to "vent". The prayer discusion portion of this network should be exploding with participation. I sense from fellow parishoners that prayer is something that we should keep in our prayer closet, of course that was not the case in the early church. I pray that our church councils, classical & synodical meetings spend more time on their knees seeking the Lord's will and less time deliberating after asking God to bless our decisions. Not only our denomination but our entire nation needs desperate prayers. This past election and the appointment of the most recent Supreme Court nominee shoud drive us to our prayer closets, knees or prayer meetings for divine intervention.

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