Prayer That’s Front and Center
One of the biggest indicators of a praying church is how much prayer is front and center in its worship service. In praying churches, you do not have to be in the building very long before you know prayer is important to them.
I was recently at Trinity Evangelical Missionary Church in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, whose pastor Nick Cardases (an interim pastor who has been there for five years) continues to challenge the congregation to be a house of prayer. While he would say the church still has a long way to go, my observation is that it is becoming a praying church.
On the Sunday I was there, I arrived at 8:30 a.m. and participated in a pre-service prayer meeting that lasted 80 minutes. Although not heavily attended (with just eight participants), it was a powerful time as we worshipped with a prayer list that focused us on Christ. In between songs, Pastor Nick led us in various prayer topics, all related to what was going to happen in the morning worship service.
The 10:00 a.m. service, which was a 90-minute event, started with 30 minutes of musical worship and had more than 40 minutes of prayer (plus a message on prayer that I gave). And if we count the musical worship that included songs that really were prayers or declarations of who Christ is, we spent a good 60 minutes in prayer. It made me think that an early Church gathering might have looked the same.
Trinity Church’s worship leader prayed between songs, as well as led the congregants to pray for each other in groups while we were singing one song. The pastor was moved by the fact that the worship team (backing up the leader) was made up of kids (9 to 16 years of age). He had the kids’ parents come up and lay hands on their children as he prayed, asking God to release a passion and delight for worship in each of them.
Next, a baby dedication was all about prayer as parents and the assistant pastor all prayed over a new baby. (See Tips and Tools in this issue for a description of their prayers.)
Finally, two “words” were presented, one by a young congregant and one by me. I had sensed early into the service that God was going to use this church—and particularly its many young couples—in a unique way to see people come to Christ. Rather than speak that over them, I prayed for its release. To close out the service, people were invited to come forward to be prayed for by teams.
What Does This Do?
After the service I asked Pastor Nick if this was typical or something special. I was excited when he said that it was typical for their worship services. I told him he was well on his way to being a house of prayer.
While there still are not a lot of people who come out to the church’s corporate prayer times outside the morning worship service, I suspect that will change. Every week people see prayer front and center—and as a result, they will keep growing in 1) their understanding of its importance, and 2) their sense of expectation from prayer. As that deepens in their lives, more people will value praying with believers at other times.
That can happen in your church, too, if you work to make prayer more front and center in the worship service.
(c) 2012 Prayer Connect
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