By Not Known
Our monthly prayer meeting should not be the only time for prayer. Paul encourages us to “always keep on praying” (I Thess 5:17 Living Bible). We can pray at set times as well as spontaneously.
Small groups are a great place to share personal prayer items. We can be creative and use various methods – eg break up into pairs or threes to pray (smaller groups are more personal and make it easier for quieter ones to talk/pray). Or we can break up the ladies and men, then further subdivide so we can have more open sharing. Mix it up so all the group members can share with and pray for each other regardless of age or gender. The more we feel ministered to, the more we will have a sense of belonging and participation. We can also take several copies of our monthly prayer meeting sheets, and use them again during small group meetings. We can scan through a daily newspaper and pick out news/developments to pray about.
When we say grace as a family (our family usually holds hands to pray around the table even in public), we also pray for people or situations which come to mind. This teaches our children that we can pray anywhere about anything, and that praying before meals doesn’t have to be a set prayer. We must also remember to praise God for who He is, and thank Him for what He has already done.
I find it helpful to use a prayer card on which I pencil names of people or needs. I write family and personal items, then church needs, nonbelievers and people whom I have promised to pray for as well as for our nation. As God answers my prayers, I erase and add new items. I also receive info from a mission organisation so I can pray about wider Kingdom needs as well.
We can walk through our church slowly, and pray about what happens in each space. For example in the sanctuary we can pray for what happens on Sundays at worship. We can pray for the church staff in the administrative offices, or Sunday School teachers in classrooms, etc.
We can pray and fast together as a church. Our Lord taught about giving, praying and fasting (Mt 6: 2,5,16). In a time of disaster, the Israelites wept and fasted before the Lord to seek His guidance (Jdgs 20:26f). Esther asked all the Jews to pray and fast for her during a national emergency (Est 4:16). When the leaders at Antioch were worshipping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit directed them to set apart Barnabas and Saul to mission work (Ac 13.2). Prayer and fasting are expressions of humbling ourselves before God particularly when we need strength, guidance or help. Of course we can pray and fast individually as well.
God does not sleep (Ps 121.4) – He listens 24/7, constantly alert to our cries and petitions! Prayer “moves God’s hands” so don’t hesitate to pray, anytime, anywhere.