What we need in the church is not merely more prayer activities, but a “culture of prayer.” The goal should be for the entire church to embrace prayer as the norm!
Here are numerous ways to enrich the corporate prayer experience:
- Make prayer a prominent feature in your Sunday Morning Worship service.
- Include a pastoral prayer or a pastoral blessing. As a priest, as a pastor, and take your people to God. Bring God to them. Bless them.
- Have the congregation pray corporate prayers together. Put them on the video screen. Pray and pause, allowing for personal moments between the corporate prayers.
- Sing about prayer. There are great hymns with prayer language that will linger with us all week.
- Preach on prayer. Then practice it.
- Allow for seasons of congregational prayer. Bring the whole church forward. Wait before the Lord.
- Encourage individual prayer in the altar. Reestablish the notion of tarrying before the Lord.
- Let the children pray.
- Call men forward. Charge fathers with the task of being the priests of their homes. Bless them. Tell them that they are equal to the task of leading prayer with their families.
- Change the way you manage prayer requests. Don’t talk about prayer needs. Pray them, spontaneously. Say, “You may now pray out the needs of your loved ones?”
- Establish a prayer request box. Occasionally, encourage members to take a handful of requests out. Pray over them and then place them back into the box.
- Don’t forget to give thanks for answers to prayer. Keep a record of God’s provisions, a diary of God’s dashing actions in behalf of your people.
- Feature prayer testimonies as a regular part of the service. Show video clips that feature answered prayers and encourage praying.
- Pray for a different church in your city every week. Become kingdom-focused and not merely congregation focused.
- Establish a prayer room.
- Encourage simultaneous intercession during worship.
- Designate intercessors to pray before and during each worship service.
- Hang prayer banners in the church. Make them visual reminders of prayer needs. Make the banners prayer stations. Have the people occasionally go to the banners during prayer time.
- Have special prayer services – a solemn assembly, a concert of prayer, family prayer, men’s prayer, women’s prayer, a youth prayer event.
- Have a 15-minute pre-service prayer meeting.
- Have a church-wide prayer meeting once a week if possible, and not less than once a month.
Here are some additional ideas to move prayer toward the center of church life.
- Pastors, staff and other leaders must model prayer. The disciples became men of prayer because Jesus was a man of prayer. The Acts church became a praying church, because the 120 apostles and lead-laypersons were praying people.
- Establish a regular church-wide prayer meeting. Emphasize its importance. Mix time for personal prayer and corporate prayer. Direct the various prayer points for any given evening.
- Create a space for prayer in the church facility – a prayer room. Make it accessible seven days a week. Schedule prayer team members to be present and use the room. Make it open to all.
- Appoint a prayer leadership team. Have enough members on the team to cover the key areas of nurturing personal and family prayer; networking and training intercessors; integrating prayer into every ministry of the church; proliferating prayer groups; managing prayer needs; rapid response prayer teams; prayer counselors/altar workers; healing teams; pastor’s prayer partners; prayer evangelism; coordination of the prayer room or center; prayer training.
- Call the men to prayer – teach and emphasize the family altar; prayer with wives and children; the power of blessing; the role of priestly leadership in the home.
- Identify intercessors. Train them. Team them. Debrief them. Direct them.
- Pray the Sanctuary. Sweep your sanctuary and bathe it in prayer. Prayer-walk every foot of your facility. Invite God’s presence.
- Sponsor a School of Prayer or regular training on prayer.
- Enlist the whole church to join the “Pastor’s Prayer Team.” On the day of the month corresponding to their birthday, have them take their place on the wall.
- Do prayer-walks, prayer-missions, new stretching prayer experiences to push prayer out into the harvest field.
- Establish a Wailing Wall. Post pictures and names of friends and family who need a closer relationship with Christ. Weep at the wall. Ask God to reveal himself to these loved ones.
- Keep prayer literature and resources flowing into and through the congregation. Focus on materials that will support and enrich the personal and family prayer experiences.
- Emphasize answers to prayer.
- Vary the prayer experiences. Introduce new ways to pray. Introduce tools for enriching the church prayer life, and personal prayer.
- Proliferate prayer groups – a prayer group for and around every burden and cause. Small groups of five to twelve. Train the leaders. Monitor their effectiveness.
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P. Douglas Small is founder and president of Alive Ministries: PROJECT PRAY and he serves in conjunction with a number of other organizations. He is also the creator of the Praying Church Movement and the Prayer Trainer’s Network. However, all views expressed are his own and not the official position of any organization.
 P. Douglas Small, Transforming the Church into a House of Prayer (Cleveland, TN: Pathway Press, 2006), 51.
 You can purchase prayer banners from Alive Ministries: PROJECT PRAY at www.alivepublications.org.
 For a fuller description of these ideas, see the book: P. Douglas Small, Transforming Your Church into a House of Prayer, 93-101.
 Alive Ministries: PROJECT PRAY offers various Schools of Prayer. Learn more at www.projectpray.org.
 For a fuller description of these ideas, see the book: P. Douglas Small, Transforming Your Church into a House of Prayer.