How Does Your Church Share Prayer Requests?

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I'm curious, how does your church share prayer requests and praises?

Does your church designate a time during worship? Do prayers get shared via email updates or newsletters? Do you utilize Facebook? 

I grew up in a CRC church with a phone tree and I still remember the weight these calls carried (they went straight to my mom and we knew to be quiet). The phone tree, though not perfect, made us aware, even as children, of things happening outside the walls of our home. It felt tangible.

Today I go to a church where prayers are shared in small groups, conversations with pastors, and in other smaller communities. I sometimes miss the wider sharing but understand the challenges as well. 

What does the sharing of prayer requests look like at your church? 

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Community Builder

We use a google group. We have a note in our bulletin and newsletter to email the secretary if you want to be added. The group sends the request to the group, when it comes from whatever email address has been added. You can add people in a mass group or one at a time. We've been using it for quite a few years and it works quite well. The secretary also includes each prayer request from the emails in the bulletin under a heading for our church family.

We will be evaluating The Bridge app pretty soon (right now only available in Canada, but coming to US), and we'll see if it makes sense to change to that.

Admin

Thanks Mavis. Do the requests get emailed or added to a running doc? I believe I'm understanding that requests get emailed to the group. Nice that the secretary rounds these up under a heading. 
Thanks again! 

Community Builder

In our congregation we do a bit of both ; i.e. there is a time during the service, just before the congregational prayer where prayers are requested for specific needs, or in the Welcome and Announcements part, and we also share these in the church bulletin, so people will remember to pray for those needing prayers during the week.

Montreal CRC

Admin

Thanks Michele. Having the requests written down (whether in email or a bulletin) does seem to help keep them in front of us during the week. Thanks again! 

In our congregation we use a mass email program called Constant Contact to send out Care and Prayer emails to the congregation. These can be emails about deaths, births, medical issues, milestone birthdays or anniversaries, really any cause for joy or sorrow that we can invite our congregation to pray about. People can ask to be added to the contact list and are welcome to remove themselves (unsubscribe) from the list at any time they choose. We do have parameters around what types of prayer requests we do send out (otherwise the recipients can get overwhelmed with emails in their inbox) although there are exceptions for every rule and we remain flexible. We never send out an email without the subjects permission, it is after all their story to tell in the way that they want, and we try to link the subjects email (with permission) so that recipients can directly send them a note of support and encouragement. We have several people on staff that have access to the program so a Care and Prayer email can be sent out virtually any time, although in cases of death I sometimes ask if we an wait a day so we can link the published obituary for all the details of visitation and service. It is a system that works quite well and appreciated by our congregation. 

Admin

Thanks Heather. How often do these care and prayer emails go out? Seems like a great system to care for each other. Thanks again! 

Community Builder

At Faith Presbyterian CRC (Guam) we have a time in almost all services where we have an open mic, people are invited to come forward to share praises and prayer requests.  A designated person, often an elder or deacon, then leads everyone in prayer for those things we heard.  Sometimes people share a lot and it takes our service into 15-20 minutes longer than our normal hour and a half service, but no one complains.  During the week emails are occasionally sent to the whole congregation, occasionally prayer requests are shared on our church FaceBook page

Admin

Thanks Tom. Agreed that no one complains and often the Holy Spirit works through these times of sharing. Thanks again! 

The CRC churches in Canada are using The Bridge App . This app is designed to have "Prayers" as one of its features. Various church staff have the ability to post prayers on the app. Depending on the type of prayer and the urgency status given to the prayer when it is posted, app users will receive a push notification on their phone and can read the prayer announcement immediately. Other less timely prayers can be assigned a less urgent status in which case app users will read the prayer when they access the app on their mobile device.

In my home church our Pastor, Director of Care, Prayer Chain Organizer and Director of Community Development all have access to publishing rights in the app. Members have expressed a great appreciation for this feature of the app. For some of our snowbirds, they no longer experience the challenge of distance from their church community.

One of our churches had this to say, "This past Spring our congregation lost three members, all to cancer, and all in a short time frame.  Our elders were able to reach our congregation (for prayer support) through The Bridge directory to relay the initial news, and we were so thankful to be able to then use The Bridge to pass along other information regarding the funerals, such as the date and time.  What a wonderful tool to have at our fingertips."

If you have any questions regarding The Bridge App, email [email protected].