In a previous blog (“A House of Prayer is Built with Living Stones”), I closed with these two questions for church leaders.
In answer to the second question, I announced the following initiative to my congregation as part of our ongoing development as a house of prayer. The note below was sent to individuals in the congregation in whom I have seen a heart for prayer. As a house of prayer the entire congregation comprises a prayer corps. I see this as a special forces of that prayer corps.
Our Lord Jesus calls us to be a house of prayer to the nations. The Spirit of God has been growing us to understand what this means. He also been at work in us, growing us to function as the house of prayer we are and are called to be.
We are not merely to operate as a self-contained house of prayer, a community of believers alive and active in our praying. Our Lord calls us to a house of prayer for the nations. That means more than simply praying for the nations, although that is certainly in view. We are to be known as a house of prayer to the nations. “Nations” speaks to the unbelieving world around us, beginning at our own doorsteps.
How can we let the community in which our Lord has situated us know us as a house of prayer? No doubt the Lord will lead us in that in the days ahead, as we have committed ourselves to His vision for us as a house of prayer.
I want to present to you an idea now that I believe has come from the Lord. That our neighbors might come to know us and connect with us as a house of prayer, we are initiating a two-pronged effort.
The first prong is the establishment of a Prayer Response Team (PRT). This team is comprised of individuals who agree to pray regularly for requests submitted to them. As I look at the church membership, I see 20 or so people in whom I have seen a heart for prayer. You are one and that’s why you’re receiving this email. Certainly, others are welcome to be part of the PRT but this is where I’m starting.
The second prong is connecting with our neighbors through the use of prayer calling cards. The cards invite them to submit prayer requests. I envision the cards being distributed throughout the surrounding church neighborhood two or three times a year. This would keep the fire stoked. PRT members would not necessarily be the ones to distribute the cards, but certainly could be involved as part of the effort as each desires.
These cards could also be included in visitor packets and made available at events where we connect with the community. Each household of RPC could be given a supply to hand out as the Lord provides opportunity. A card could be left along with the tip at a restaurant or given following a conversation in which someone shares a need. Distribution could also be made to neighborhoods where church members live to create awareness of RPC as a house of prayer.I see the process working this way:
- A request comes in, usually to firstname.lastname@example.org, the address on the calling card.
- An email response is given, acknowledging reception of the request and giving assurance it will be prayed for.
- The request is disseminated to the PRT.
- The request will be prayed for by the PRT, ordinarily by individuals on their own (versus group prayer), for a period of two weeks (if not date-specific) or until the event (if date-specific).
- A follow up email will be sent to ascertain how God answered and if continuing prayer is desired.
If the amount of requests becomes unwieldy (a pleasant problem), we can figure out how to apportion the requests to the PRT so as not to overwhelm and so hamper our prayer.
Please let me know if you would like be part of the Prayer Response Team.