In 2004 we had an "Awakening" at Thompson Station Church where we watched as over 500 people made decisions to follow Christ. You can read about it here: Church Prayer for Revival, 515 make decisions
This blog post is taken from the training I led with our Life Group leaders (We called them Connect Groups in 2004). We were working hard to mobilize our people to pray because we genuinely believe that when we work, we work...but when we pray, God works.
“I tell you the truth, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three come together in my name, there I am with them.” Matthew 18:18-20
“A servant of the Lord has well said: Prayer is the rail for God’s work. Indeed, prayer is to God’s will as rails are to a train. The locomotive is full of power; it is capable of running a thousand miles a day. But if there are no rails, it cannot move forward a single inch. If it dares to move without them, it will soon sink into the earth. It may be able to travel over great distances, yet it cannot go any place where no rails have been laid. And such is the relation between prayer and God’s work. … Without any doubt God is almighty and He works mightily, but He will not, and cannot work if you and I do not labor together with Him in prayer, prepare the way for His will, and pray “with all prayer and supplication (Eph. 6:18) to grant Him the maneuverability to so work. Many are the things which God wills to do and would like to do, but His hands are bound because His children do not sympathize with Him and have not prayed so as to prepare ways for Him.” (Watchman Nee)
The longer I live the more convinced I become that earth is an active battlefield for spiritual warfare in constant struggle. As Christians we are engaged in the battle. When we asked Jesus into our hearts we joined God’s forces. When we seek to live pleasing to Him; molded by Him; marked by His glory, we press toward the front line of battle. On the front we come toe to toe in hand to hand combat with the forces of evil. They manifest themselves as physical and emotional diseases, addictions, abuse, and neglect. We encounter evidence of dark spiritual realities sucking life out of our homes through broken relationships between husbands and wives, between children and parents, between brothers and sisters. We pick up the casualties of war in our Step Parenting, Celebrate Recovery, Financial Peace and Intimate Marriage ministries. And we continue to swing our Bibles this way and that trying desperately to get ahead of the raging storm.
We work hard on the battlefield of life.
And God weeps.
He nods to His Son who is fervently interceding 24-7 on our behalf and He says, “If only my people would pray…If only the people called by name would turn from their wicked ways, humble themselves, and seek my face…if only my people would pray.” (2 Chronicles 7:14)
My friends, ours is a high calling and fearsome responsibility—We hold positions of influence among God’s people. Let’s lead out in God’s heart cry to us and urge our people—which are God’s people—to pray. In your classes, I want to challenge you to spend 10 solid minutes every Sunday morning in prayer, not talking about prayer, not collecting prayer requests, not telling how important prayer is—but praying.
I’ve counted up how many minutes that will total for us corporately. If all the adult Bible study classes will pray 10 minutes every Sunday morning we will be in prayer a little over 5 (31 classes, 10 minutes each) hours a week, 260 (5 hours a week x 52 weeks) hours a year! If we invest even 10 minutes in the military strategy God outlines in Ephesians 6, God will shake our world – from Thompson Station. Are you with me? Will you commit to do this?
Read Ephesians 6:10-20.
Here’s how you do it. First, don’t talk about your specific concerns, pray them. Everyone think of something specific you’d like to pray about today. Got your thought? Now quickly make groups of 3, bow your heads and take turns praying that request out loud addressing God while your two friends listen in.
Second, collect personal and/or critical prayer concerns on cards and distribute these to your class members so everyone can be lifting these up to God throughout the week. When these concerns are answered, encourage your class members to praise God for answering the prayers in your prayer time on Sunday morning—or notify one another of the praises via email throughout the week.
Third, be sure to pray brief conversational prayers. Discourage anyone from praying for more than a few minutes. Be strategic—ask your godly pray-ers to close the prayer time rather than open. You don’t want their flowing words to stifle everyone else. And don’t be afraid of silence.
If your class is uncomfortable start out by telling them just to tell their request out loud with their head bowed and eyes closed. They don’t have to address anyone. Give a few people a Bible verse to read as their prayer just to prime the pump.
And finally—you pray before Sunday morning! Pray that God will open the minds, hearts and mouths of your class members to make these 10 minutes POWERFUL! Ask God to keep us all mindful of how He’s working in response to our prayers.
Perhaps we will experience God's power working in and through all our churches when we start praying to Him as our only hope, provision and victory.
Share this blog post with your small group leaders.