Wednesday, March 10, 2021

#ReimaginePRAYER...Meeting. (Bonus: "Pray For Me" article)


#ReimaginePRAYER...Meeting.

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Saturday, November 21, 2020

Prayer Society Revolutionizes Congregation

Pastor says “prayer is the single most important activity in the Christian life”

Inner~View #40: Prayer Society Revolutionizes Congregation

                    Praying Pastor interviewed Pastor David Hoffman ofFoothills Christian Church

  

Praying Pastor ~ David, your story is compelling – Tell us how the Lord revealed that “prayer is the single most important activity in the Christian life” …

Pastor David ~ I had planted a church with my brother and we had been working extremely hard for approximately 7 years with little results. One morning in my devotion I read 1 Corinthians 4:20, “The Kingdom of God does not consist in words but in power.”

It was like a light went on in my spirit. What we needed to be successful for Christ was first and foremost the power of God. I also saw that the Kingdom of God was simply the presence and the power of the King. Where Jesus’ power is His kingdom advances. Without God’s power we really can’t accomplish much (John 15:5). Also, I came to see that if we don’t pray for God’s presence and power in general we’re living without it, we ministering without it. As James said, “You have not because you ask not.” Therefore, pray becomes of utmost importance for any believer.

 

Praying Pastor ~ You have the heart of a pastor but you ask “why are we failing to win America for Christ?” with the passion of an evangelist. What is the correlation of prayer and our ineffective evangelism?

Pastor David ~ We’ve looked to programs, systems and people to show us how to win the lost, not to God. Each local is different, if we want to win the lost we need to get down our knees and ask God for wisdom on how to do it. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t use ideas that work, only that first we need revelation and vision from God. We need God’s presence and power to show up when we speak to the lost, this happens when we pray.


Praying Pastor ~ One of the fruits of your journey in prayer, is the establishment of a Prayer Society in your congregation. How has it made a difference in both the spirit and growth of your church?

Pastor David ~ Our Prayer Society was started as a way to challenge Christians to pray. In our church we had 1050 people sign up for the latest six month pledge commitment. For six months they pledge to do the following:

1. Pray a minimum of 2.50 hours each week.

2. Attend church regularly.

3. Support the church’s ministry through my tithes.

4. Strive for holiness and obedience to God in my daily life.

5. Pray regularly through prayer lists which will be compiled at the church every two weeks.

Within the first two years of our Prayer Society the church doubled and our facility was too small; after three years we reached our goal of ministering to 1000 children and youth a week. People began to purchase my sermon c.d.’s at a rate we had never seen before. In all areas of ministry the measurable results were astounding. 

In the last 14 years our church has grown from a small church of 150 to an average attendance of 2500, 60 ministries, 124 small groups, 24 Bible clubs in our local public schools, 4 youth centers a K-8 school and a high school. We minister to 5500-6000 children and youth a week and 250 college age men and women. Since we started praying, 4 out of 5 City Council members are Christians and 4 out of 5 High School Board Members are Christians. All this in the State of California; hardly what you would call part of the Bible belt!


Praying Pastor ~ You have written “it is vital that we all develop a prayer discipline to increase our prayer lives and our effectiveness.” How would you counsel a busy, overworked pastor to begin this journey on a personal basis?

Pastor David ~ As Pastors, we need an anointing from the Holy Spirit to preach, teach, counsel and lead effectively and the way we get this anointing is through prayer. James says if we ask for wisdom we will get it. Prayer and the anointing it brings will help any pastor be more productive, discerning and effective.  

Prayer must come first! If I know I have a busy day, a difficult day I know I must spend time in prayer. Why? Because I want God’s anointing and influence manifested in my life.


Praying Pastor ~ We met at a prayer retreat for pastors; over four dozen leaders from a diversity of denominations and generations. Why is it important for a pastoral leader to be in spiritual fellowship with other pastors and ministry leaders?

Pastor David ~We, as Pastors, are the gate-keepers, the watchmen of our cities. There may be times that if we work together we can accomplish great things for God. I’ve found working with other Pastors brings synergy to the cause of Christ in a community. We sponsor a periodic luncheon here at the church to facilitate Pastors getting to know one another. It’s been a tremendous blessing. 

 

Praying Pastor ~ David, please write a prayer for pastors to personally discover how prayer will change their world…

Pastor David ~ Dear Lord Jesus,

Let your power and presence be felt from the pulpit of your Pastors here in America. Convict your servants that in their own strength can do very little. Fill church leaders with great hope for the future if they rely on you. Make all of us depend on you so as to reach our full potential in your kingdom. Come Lord Jesus and remind your leaders that you house shall be a house of prayer 


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Pastors...#ReimaginePRAYER when you read the Word



Seven Kinds of Prayer to Soak Our Bible Reading (John Piper)

Posted: 15 Jul 2011 02:53 PM PDT

In 1998, John Piper preached a message, “Open My Eyes That I May See,” based on Psalm 119:17-24. In that message he mentions seven kinds of prayer to “soak” our reading of Scripture.

Seven Kinds of Prayer to Soak our Bible Reading

But since our text is Psalm 119:18, “Open my eyes, that I may behold wonderful things from Your law,” we should let this psalmist show us how he prays more generally about his reading of the Word of God. So let me close with a little tour of Psalm 119, and show you seven kinds of prayer with which you can soak your Bible reading this year.

We should pray . . .

1. That God would teach us his Word. Psalm 119:12b, “Teach me Your statutes.” (See also verses 33, 64b, 66, 68b, 135). True learning of God’s Word is only possible if God himself becomes the teacher in and through all other means of teaching.

2. That God would not hide his Word from us. Psalm 119:19b, “Do not hide Your commandments from me.” The Bible warns of the dreadful chastisement or judgment of the Word of God being taken from us (Amos 8:11). (See also verse 43).

3. That God would make us understand his Word. Psalm 119:27, “Make me understand the way of Your precepts” (verses 34, 73b, 144b, 169). Here we ask God to cause us to understand – to do whatever he needs to do to get us to understand his Word.

4. That God would incline our hearts to his Word. Psalm 119:36, “Incline my heart to Your testimonies and not to [dishonest] gain.” The great problem with us is not primarily our reason, but our will – we are disinclined by nature to read and meditate and memorize the Word. So we must pray for God to incline our wills.

5. That God would give us life to keep his Word. Psalm 119:88, “Revive me according to Your lovingkindness, so that I may keep the testimony of Your mouth.” He is aware that we need life and energy to give ourselves to the Word and its obedience. So he asks God for this basic need. (See also verse 154b)

6. That God would establish our steps in his Word. Psalm 119:133, “Establish my footsteps in Your word.” We are dependent on the Lord not only for understanding and life, but for the performance of the Word. That it would be established in our lives. We cannot do this on our own.

7. That God would seek us when we go astray from his Word. Psalm 119:176, “I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek Your servant.” It is remarkable that this godly man ends his psalm with a confession of sin and the need for God to come after him and bring him back. This too we must pray again and again.

This is another great sermon by John. You can listen to it in its entirety at Desiring God.

#ReimaginePRAYER...for Pastors



H. B. London’s Farewell Prayer for Pastors

Friday, December 20, 2019

Join the Reimagine Journey

Why Reimagine?



•It Started With A Sabbath-Search
Last year the Lord led me to take an extended sabbath, disconnecting from the teams I served, to recalibrate my ministry focus. During those months, I daily sought the Spirit’s guidance by asking-seeking-knocking for the mind of Christ.
The relaunch is a result of that search.
•The Spirit Burst Romans 12:2 Into My Mind And Heart
The voice of the Lord came to me many times through Romans 12:2: Be transformed by the renewing of you mind.
First, for my life and family. Then also for this ministry.
A fresh calling to “engage and equip leaders across the global Church to reimagine their perspective on ministry: prayer, making-disciples, the Church in the 21st century, evangelism, justice, citywide collaboration.”
•And Then A New Laser-Focus on #Reimagine...
Renewing of our minds is a call to reimagine (assess: review-rethink-recalibrate)
•Next Came An Audacious "What If..."
What if, in the next 5 years, God used our networks to invite and involve 10,000 Christ-loving, Church-serving people (think women & men, young and old; red-yellow-black-brown-white) to begin a Spirit-led, Scripture-fed journey of reimagining how to equip the Church in making disciples who know how to pray, who share their faith in compelling ways, seek justice, build authentic community in the congregation and across cities...?
•Why?
Because we live in extraordinary times. Cultural is careening with perturbation and change. Rapidly accelerating toward radical change.
The Church MUST change. Never the Gospel. The containers each generation fashions to carry those good news seeds.
The #ReimagineFORUM will become a repository of content to jump start journeys the Lord will use to transform disciple-making, build prayer champions, revitalize evangelism, trumpet loudly the cause of justice, create dynamic collaborations in communities and cities.
•Now What?
That depends on you; passive or participant.
You can benefit passively by watching for future postings or searching our growing archive. Or...
You can participate. As a thought leader who provides biblically based content for the many persons who will one day visit and interact with our site. As one who "equips the saints for works of service" (Ephesians 4:12) by connecting them to our site-features-content.
Look-up! Link-up!
Phil Miglioratti
Curator/Coordinator
The #ReimagineFORUM @ Pray.Network
The #ReimagineFORUM @ Discipleship.Network


Monday, February 15, 2010

New Posts & All the Archives - Click Here!




SWITCH to the new site for PrayingPastorBlog





Read this, then stop for prayer. For your self.

The Toll of Our Toiling
John Piper takes an eight-month leave of absence.
Collin Hansen | posted 3/30/2010 09:18AM
Surprise and admiration have characterized the response so far to news that Bethlehem Baptist Church pastor John Piper will take an eight-month leave of absence from public ministry between May 1 and December 31, 2010. [...]

Q: “What is the most important thing you do as our Pastor?”

March 29, 2010 by Phil Miglioratti · Leave a Comment 
I’M GLAD YOU ASKED…
Q. What is the most important thing you do as our Pastor?
A. In thinking about my response to your question I was tempted to simply go to the duties listed in our Constitution, and offer the one that was on the top of list. Most Pastors have many responsibilities: [...]

Some Down-Time Needed for up-Time!

March 29, 2010 by Phil Miglioratti · Leave a Comment 
DOWN TIME
1986-June 12- JOURNAL ENTRY_Marilyn and I sat at our Thursday morning (day off) McDonald’s table, eating our Dunkin Donut (coffee from McDonalds).  I confessed my weariness. . . .so tired . . . too many people constantly wanting counsel and advice.  Pastors and wives [...]

More Time ~> More Prayer

March 22, 2010 by Phil Miglioratti · Leave a Comment 
Extended Times of Personal Prayer
“Like flying over the battlefield in a reconnaissance plane, a day of prayer gives opportunity to think of the world from God’s point of view.  Especially when going through some difficulty we need this perspective to sharpen our vision of the unseen and to let the [...]

Prayer is a Glue for Leadership

March 22, 2010 by Phil Miglioratti · Leave a Comment 
A Pastor at Heart, Stay Connected to Your People
Written by Kenneth Gosnell
Erwin McManus, in his book entitled Chasing Daylight says, “The most important moments rarely come at a convenient time. Sometimes you wish that God would check your calendar first. The ironic part is that our schedules get packed with mundane and ordinary, [...]

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Praying Pastors Prayng More?

The Pastor's Typical Work Week

According to a survey conducted by LifeWay Research — "How Protestant Pastors Spend Their Time" — full-time senior pastors tend to work long hours. While the median number of work hours for Protestant pastors is 55, 42 percent work 60 or more hours per typical week.
Half of those surveyed spend five to 14 hours a week preparing their sermons, while nine percent spend 25 hours or more and 7 percent spend less than five hours on their sermons. In comparison, 30 percent of evangelical pastors were found to spend 20 or more hours a week in sermon preparation compared to 20 percent of mainline pastors.
More than 70 percent of pastors spend up to five hours a week in meetings; only 15 percent are in meetings 10 hours or more a week. Meanwhile, half of the senior pastors spend two to six hours on e-mail and other electronic correspondence. And nearly a quarter of the pastors put in six hours or more a week in counseling ministry; the same percentage spends an hour or less counseling others. Nearly half (48%) spend two to five hours a week in visitation.
Time with family rates as a priority for many pastors, but some find alarmingly little opportunity to be with their spouses and children. While 30 percent of the pastors report spending 20-29 hours with their families each week — and 16 percent indicate spending 40 or more hours with them weekly — almost 10 percent say they spend nine hours a week or less with family members.
More than half (52%) spend one to six hours in prayer each week; 5 percent say they spend no time at all in prayer. Fifty-two percent spend two to five hours in personal devotions unrelated to sermon preparation and 14 percent spend an hour or less in personal devotions.
The LifeWay survey was conducted via telephone on 1,002 randomly selected Protestant pastors. Click here for the complete report. [LifeWay.com, ChristianPost.com]


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Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Thoughts on a Praying Life

A Praying Life by Paul E. Miller A Praying Life Connecting with God in a Distracting World by Paul E. Miller NavPress, Colorado Springs 

A praying life feels like our family mealtimes because prayer is all about relationship. It's intimate and hints at eternity. We don't think about communication or words but about whom we are talking with. Prayer is simply the medium through which we experience and connect to God. Oddly enough, many people struggle to learn how to pray because they are focusing on praying, not on God. Making prayer the center is like making conversation the center of a family mealtime. 
In prayer, focusing on the conversation is like trying to drive while looking at the windshield instead of through it. It freezes us, making us unsure of where to go. Conversation is only the vehicle through which we experience one another. Consequently, prayer is not the center of this book. Getting to know a person, God, is the center. Consequently, a praying life isn't something you accomplish in a year. It is a journey of a lifetime. The same is true of learning how to love your spouse or a good friend. You never stop learning this side of heaven. There is far too much depth in people to be able to capture love easily. Likewise, there is far too much depth in God to capture prayer easily. 
Private, personal prayer is one of the last great bastions of legalism. In order to pray like a child, you might need to unlearn the nonpersonal, nonreal praying that you've been taught. When Jesus tells the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector, he describes both men as praying aloud. Jesus goes on to encourage us to pray in the privacy of our rooms so our out-loud praying doesn't become a verbal show. Praying out loud can be helpful because it keeps you from getting lost in your head. it makes your thoughts concrete. But it is more than technique; it is also a statement of faith. You are audibly declaring your belief in a God who is alive. 
Praying aloud is not a New Testament rule; it is just another way of being real in prayer. Everyone is different. Personally, I've found it hard to pray out loud because I'm so in the habit of praying silently. Still, when I confess a sin aloud, it feels more real. When I hear my own voice admitting that I've done something wrong, I'm surprised by how concrete the sin feels, I've even thought, Oh, I guess that really was wrong. 
On my way to a social event, I will sometimes pray aloud in the car that I won't fall into sexual lust or people pleasing. This helps me become much more aware of my need. My prayers become more serious. As I began to pray regularly for the children, he began to work in their hearts. For example, I began to pray for more humility in my eldest son, John. (As Jill says, "The apple didn't fall far from the tree.") About six months later he came to me and said, "Dad, I've been thinking a lot about humility lately and my lack of it." It didn't take me long to realize I did my best parenting by prayer. I began to speak less to the kids and more to God. It was actually quite relaxing. I'm at my worst when I'm passionate about a new idea. I can drift into selling instead of listening and can easily become dominating. My heart is a dry and weary land. But when I begin to pray, the energy of my life is directed into the life of God and not into changing people's minds...and I shut up! When someone shares an idea that was originally mine, I want to mention that I first thought of it. I feel unsettled, as if the universe is out of balance. In short, I want to boast. the only way to quiet my soul's desire for prominence is to begin to pray: Apart from you I can do nothing. I didn't learn continuous prayer; I discovered I was already doing it. I found myself in difficult situations I could not control. All I could do was cry out to my heavenly Father. It happened often enough that it became a habit, creating a rut between my soul and God. 
This one-word prayer, Father, is uniquely Jesus' prayer. His first recorded sentence at age twelve is about his father: "Did you not know that I must be in my Father's house?" (Luke 2:49). Abba is the first word the prodigal son utters when he returned home. It is the first word of the Lord's Prayer, and it is the first word Jesus prays in Gethsemane. It is his first word on the cross--"Father, forgive them" (Luke 23:34)--and one of his last--"Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!" (Luke 23:46). Father was my first prayer as I began praying continuously, and I find that it is still my most frequent prayer. We don't need self-discipline to pray continuously; we just need to be poor in spirit. Poverty of spirit makes room for his Spirit. It creates a God-shaped hole in our hearts and offers us a new way to relate to others. 
A praying spirit transforms how we look at people. As we walk through the mall, our hearts can tempt us to judge, despise, or lust. We see overweight people, skinny people, teenagers with piercings and tattoos, well-dressed women, security guards, and older people shuffling along. If we are tempted to judge an overweight person, we might pray that he or she loses weight. When we see a teenage girl with a nose ring, we can pray that she would find her community in Christ. 
When we see a security guard, we might pray for his career. When we pass an older couple shuffling along, we can pray for grace as they age. PAUL'S EXAMPLE AND TEACHING "Unceasing prayer" is Paul's most frequent description of how he prayed and of how he wanted the church to pray. This was a real experience for Paul and not a formula. In the twelve times he mentions continuous praying, he seldom says it the same way twice (emphasis added).
  • Without ceasing I mention you always in my prayers. (Romans 1:9-10)
  • I give thanks to my God always for you. (I Corinthians 1:4)
  • I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. (Ephesians 1:16)
  • Praying at all times in the Spirit. (Ephesians 6:18)
  • We have not ceased to pray for you. (Colossians 1:9)
  • Continue steadfastly in prayer. (Colossians 4:2)
  • Always struggling on your behalf in his prayers. (Colossians 4:12)
  • Constantly mentioning you in our prayers. (I Thessalonians 1:2)
  • We also thank God constantly for this. (I Thessalonians 2:13)
  • As we pray most earnestly night and day. (I thessalonians 3:10)
  • We always pray for you. (2 Thessalonians 1:11)
  • I remember you constantly in my prayers night and day. (2 Timothy 1:3)
When Paul tells the young churches to pray, he encourages them in this same pattern of "constant in prayer" (emphasis added):
  • Be constant in prayer. (Romans 12:12)
  • Pray without ceasing. (I Thessalonians 5:17)
Given Paul's emphasis, it is not surprising to see examples of continual prayer in the early church. A praying life isn't simply a morning prayer time; it is about slipping into prayer at odd hours of the day, not because we are disciplined but because we are in touch with our own poverty of spirit, realizing that we can't even walk through a mall or our neighborhood without the help of the Spirit of Jesus. When you pray continuously, moments when you are prone to anxiety can become invitations to drift into prayer. A traffic jam, a slight from a friend, or a pressured deadline can serve as a door to God. You'll find yourself turning off the car radio to be with your Father. You'll wake up at night and discover yourself praying. It will be like breathing. When you stop trying to control your life and instead allow your anxieties and problems to bring you to God in prayer, you shift from worry to watching. You watch God weave his patterns in the story of your life. Instead of trying to be out front, designing your life, you realize you are inside God's drama. As you wait, you begin to see him work, and your life begins to sparkle with wonder. You are learning to trust again. To become thankful is to be drawn into the fellowship of the Father, the Son, and the Spirit, into their enjoyment of one another, of life, and of people. 
 The only way to know how prayer works is to have complete knowledge and control of the past, present, and future. In other words you can figure out how prayer works if you are God. If you are going to enter this divine dance we call prayer, you have to surrender your desire to be in control, to figure out how prayer works. You've got to let God take the lead. You have to trust. The name of Jesus gives my prayers royal access. They get through. Jesus isn't just the Savior of my soul. He's also the Savior of my prayers. My prayers come before the throne of God as the prayers of Jesus. "Asking in Jesus' name" isn't another thing I have to get right so my prayers are perfect. It is one more gift of God because my prayers are so imperfect. Jesus' seal not only guarantees that my package gets through, but it also transforms the package. Paul says in Romans 8:26, "The Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words." I do not understand prayer. Prayer is deeply personal and deeply mysterious. 
Adults try to figure out causation. Little children don't. They just ask. I often find that when God doesn't answer a prayer, he wants to expose something in me. Our prayers don't exist in a world of their own. We are in dialogue with a personal, divine Spirit who wants to shape us as much as he wants to hear us. For God to act unthinkingly with our prayers would be paganism, which says the gods do our will in response to our prayers. 
 When someone's prayers aren't answered, I want to know the back-story. How long did that individual pray? What did God do in that person's heart when he or she prayed? What was Good doing in the situation? Most of us isolate prayer from the rest of what God is doing in our lives, but God doesn't work that way. Prayer doesn't exist in some rarified spiritual world; it is part of the warp and woof of our lives. Praying itself becomes a story. To correctly discern when God is speaking to us, we need to keep the Word and Spirit together. Spirit Only people can separate the activity of listening to God from obedience to God's Word. Under the cover of "being led by the Spirit," they can easily do what they want. What they "hear" from God might be masking their self-will. This is emotionalism (a form of Romanticism), which makes feelings absolute. Word Only people can also separate hearing and obedience by focusing on obedience and ignoring a life fo listening and repentance. Listening to and obeying God are so intertwined iin biblical thought that in the Hebrew they are one word. shamar. Under the cover of being obedient to the Word, Word Only folks can be rigid. we need to guard against rationalism as much as we need to guard against emotionalism. We need the sharp-edged, absolute character of the Word and the intuitive, personal leading of the Spirit. The Word provides the structure, the vocabulary. 
The Spirit personalizes it to our life. Keeping the Word and the Spirit together guards us from the danger of God-talk becoming a cover for our own desires and the danger of lives isolated from God.

I woke up in the middle of the night recently with this rather odd question on my mind; How would you love someone without prayer?

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