“My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations” (Isaiah 56:7).
Here are three distinct ways that a lifestyle of becoming a house of prayer can be built into the fabric of your church using a prayer, care, share lifestyle:
- Where members live. Members of a church can form Houses of Prayer right where they live or work and begin to pray for and reach out to those right around them. Praying, caring, and sharing the good news is easiest and most natural when we do it with the people who are near us. Using this pattern, members of a local church cover blocks, streets, and workplaces.
If you have multiple members living in the same neighborhood, they can team together to pray. Or, if your members know other believers on their blocks, who go to a different church, why not still encourage your members to recruit them to join in the House of Prayer for their neighborhood.
- A target area. A church may choose to focus its House of Prayer efforts on a target area such as the area immediately surrounding the church, a new housing development, an apartment complex, a dormitory, or a prison. In this situation, the Houses of Prayer may meet someplace within the target area or they may meet in an entirely different location. Distance is not a problem when God is doing the work.
- Existing small groups. Many churches have existing small groups for Bible study, fellowship, caring, and prayer. These cells can develop powerful evangelistic prayer ministries if they are willing to focus outward and to invest adequate amounts of time and energy in intercessory prayer. Most small group prayer focuses entirely on the personal needs of the group. Encouraging your small groups to pray outwardly in this way can have a powerful effect on both the individuals and your church. Tacking prayer on to an existing group will not work, however, if the focus of the group remains inward and the commitment to prayer is minimal. In using this approach, be aware that some members of the existing group will not welcome a new prayer assignment. They’ll choose to stick with the original group goals that caused them to join in the first place.
Grace-filled Father, I long for my church to be known as a house of prayer for all nations. Give us a passion for Your holy presence in our midst! Help us to love one another and those in our community so well that we are hungry to see everyone we meet drawn into a relationship with Jesus! Stretch us beyond our own wants and needs in prayer and give us Your kingdom focus. Teach us how to reach out in prayer to our neighbors and to the nations, and, if possible, help us to become the answer to the prayers we pray!
–Adapted from Shine His Light: A Simple Way to Pray, Care and Share Jesus in Your Neighborhood by Alvin VanderGriend. This book is available at prayershop.org. Use the code CONPSP3 at checkout to receive an additional 10% discount.
Praise the saving God whose paths are beyond tracing out! (Rom. 11:33). Give thanks for his continual, personal care for you. Confess any failure to maintain a healthy relationship with the Lord. Commit yourself to disciplined, joyful Christian living, recognizing the tremendous blessing of belonging to Jesus Christ. Ask that you will be “joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer” (Rom. 12:12).
Pray that any personal difficulties experienced by unsaved persons around you may be opportunities for them to come to know the grace that is found in Jesus Christ.
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