Monday, February 26, 2007

RESOURCE ~ Jump Start Your Conversations with God

Praying Pastor interviwed Lana Trent, Ministry Founder of

Praying Pastor ~
Lana, you have designed a very creative tool to help strengthen an individual's prayer life - Why the title: "Conversation Starters with God"?

Sometimes, I need help getting my prayer time started because my mind is blank. I started collecting different Bible passages to be like a greeting card or a conversation starter with God.

Praying Pastor ~
What prompted you to put this resource together?

I was prompted to do this out of my own failings in prayer. I needed a structure. I was overwhelmed with my large prayer list and knowing what to pray. I thought if it could help me, then maybe it could help others too.

The real catalyst to share this with others was from my church. God convicted me that I wasn’t praying for our church leaders. I would give a “be with our leaders” prayer but little else. I met with our senior pastor, and we set up a program so that every pastor, elder and deacon had seven people praying for them. We gave each prayer volunteer a notebook with content for “conversation starters.”

Praying Pastor ~
Since a female put this together, a male might consider it is more suited to a female pray-er. True or false?

Interesting question. Definitely false. We have received good responses from men and women. Just this week I got an email from one of our elders. He said he was very impressed with the notebook, thoroughly enjoying using it and wants to help us get the word out about it. In addition, we shared the notebook at our church’s women’s retreat this fall and got a great response. I think the reason both genders are enjoying it is because 90% of the content of the notebook is passages from the Bible and it includes Tim Bott’s beautiful artwork of Scripture. Even the roadmaps that I wrote are mostly quotes from God’s word.

Praying Pastor ~ How is "Conversation Starters" different from the many prayer guides and journals that are already available?

The Conversation Starters With God notebook is different in many ways:
  1. The notebook consists of six main sections: Seek, Praise, Repent, Give Thanks, Ask and Receive. Each section comes with a roadmap containing suggestions for using as an individual, small group or church. Many books on prayer only cover one area - praying or listening or individual use.
  2. The notebook provides lots and lots of Scripture to help in praying. With the notebook, or on the website for free download, we have over 40 different prayer guides, and we are adding more every day. Many books provide Scripture for praying but aren’t very portable. Ours is portable.
  3. Our notebook features Timothy Botts’ beautiful four-color calligraphic drawings of Scripture.
  4. Free Bible Explorer software is included. This Bible library contains not only the electronic version of the notebook, but also 14 other resources such as Bibles, commentaries, and much more.
  5. The notebook provides an easy to use structure to manage prayer requests.
  6. The notebook is priced very reasonably – only $20.
  7. Finally, it is a 3-ring binder that can be easily personalized as you can add/remove as needed.
Praying Pastor ~ Comment on how this tool serves:
  • Disorganized individuals
  • People who appreciate routine
  • Creative-types
  • Too-busy-to-stop-and-pray leaders
  • Learning to pray scripture
I honestly feel that we designed the notebook so that, if you believe in Jesus, you could benefit from it regardless of your personality type or where you are spiritually. We consistently emphasize that each of us has a different spiritual pathway and there isn’t one way to pray. How I organize my prayer life may be different from how others organize theirs. In each of our main sections, we give several suggestions on how to use that section. So, regardless of whether you are creative or more structured, I think there is value in the notebook.

Our notebook can help those who are disorganized by providing tools so their “yes” is truly “yes” when they say they will pray. For those who are “too busy and stop and pray”, we make it easier to remember to pray for the day’s requests. I often use mine in the car. (I don’t shut my eyes -of course!) By having a structure that lets me break down my prayer requests, there is freedom and no guilt.

The notebook can be used every day as part of your routine or just when you need it. No one resource can cover everything about prayer. We tried to be upfront with what is included and to provide recommendations for additional resources. But overall, our encouragement is to remember that prayer is a two-way conversation. We encourage the users to ask God to direct their prayers and follow His leading.

Praying Pastor ~ What simple first step would you recommend to a pastor who wants to move forward or deeper in their personal prayer life?

This may sound simplistic but I would suggest that they schedule their prayer time and guard it. Let it be known that from X hour to Y hour, is the pastor’s personal quiet time. Pastors need to serve out of the overflow of their walk with Christ. Too often, leaders try to serve out of their own strength. I would also make sure that pastors have others praying for him or her. The enemy loves to attack our pastors and, for some reason, leaders often hesitate to ask for prayer. Paul asked for prayer frequently and he was very effective!

Praying Pastor ~ How is this tool used to mobilize prayer in small groups? Entire congregations? Pastors' Prayer Groups?

When we put this notebook together, we tried to speak to individuals, small groups and churches. We provide suggestions for each type of groups in our roadmaps areas and on our web site. Also, with six main sections, we have found it a good fit for a six-week study or emphasis.

Praying Pastor ~ Lana, write a prayer for the pastor who is struggling to make prayer a priority...

Father, thank you for these pastors. Please draw them to you and give them special refreshing times with you. Help them to feel your presence and love. Protect them and their families from the enemy. I pray for times of sweet repentance and no condemnation. Help them to not rely on their own strength, but look to you for guidance in every area. Finally, I pray that you would provide others in their congregations to pray for them and to encourage them.

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