In January 2020, I was exhausted after two and a half years of church planting. I realized that I couldn’t work my way through all of this. I didn’t have the strength. Fortunately, despite the fatigue (or perhaps because of it), I had experienced a personal renewal through intense and constant moments of prayer. As I prayed, a great desire grew in me that our little church would become a people who pray.

As I prayed, a great desire grew in me that our little church would become a people who pray.

I had to admit, though, that no one who had spent a month with our congregation would have called us a prayer church. Prayer was important to us, but it wasn’t a sign of our community. I felt condemned for this as a pastor and confessed my leadership oversight to our leaders and the congregation. Straight away, others confessed to similar discontent with our lack of prayer. We didn’t just want to be a church that values ​​prayer. We were no longer interested in prayer as a value or topic. We wished we were praying. But what would it be like practically? Here are eight steps we’ve taken to become a more godly church.

1. Engage.

We decided together as a leadership group to focus on prayer. We now pray together in one third to one half of all leadership meetings. We have also designated the role of prayer leader: a person who coordinates prayer meetings and keeps prayer at the forefront of our minds and schedules.

2. Continue to practice prayer.

Church leaders pursue training in all kinds of areas. In recent years, our team has sought training in preaching, small groups, and children’s ministry. So I started asking, why not train in prayer too? We decided to read books on prayer and seek external training. As we studied history, we learned how God worked through small prayer gatherings to bring about revolutionary moments of renewal.

3. Teach and preach about prayer.

We believe God is worth seeking, seeking Him in prayer is an essential church ministry, and our lives and churches are powerless if we don’t. So for the past two years I have been preaching on prayer regularly. We have also added a prayer workshop to our membership class and regularly review our prayer beliefs in our worship meetings.

4. Dedicate nights to prayer.

After studying and teaching, we took action. Our team is committed to two nights of prayer each month. Even as COVID-19 restrictions have thrust us into a season of social distancing and virtual gatherings, we haven’t given up on gathering to pray. We met on Zoom and established the pattern of going into prayer within the first 10 minutes so that we would spend a full 80-90 minutes in intercession.

5. Make congregational prayer a regular part of your worship.

Although we had practiced congregational prayer sporadically before, we began praying congregationally at every Sunday meeting. In between songs, one of our worship leaders will set a theme and invite people to pray. At first, four to six people in the congregation prayed aloud before moving on to the next hymn. As our attendance has increased, we now invite members to pray from the front with a microphone or share a personal testimony about their own experience in prayer.

6. Introduce small group prayer nights.

We learn to pray by praying with others. Since our church favors small groups, we already have members meeting in homes throughout the week. By introducing more dedicated evenings of prayer into those group gatherings, we have helped our people feel more comfortable with collective prayer.

7. Call the church on 24-hour prayer times.

On several occasions, we have invited the church to 24 hours of prayer. We did this 24-hour prayer emphases around a season of need or Good Friday in preparation for Easter. We email you a spreadsheet with 30-minute time slots for the specified 24-hour period. Church members sign up for at least one time slot that works for their schedule. We then provide them with a prayer guide to follow during their allotted time.

8. Collaborate with other churches for regional or city prayer.

We made room to pray with leaders and members of other congregations. We know that whenever God brings renewal to a city, He passes through many churches and ministries, and prayer is always involved. I schedule several regular prayer times each month with the pastors of our city, and our church has also gathered to pray with other congregations over the past two years.

Our church is now a little over two years into our commitment to pray, and we certainly haven’t “mastered prayer,” but I can tell that we have become a church that prays.

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