PRAYER LESSONS TO LEARN
Excerpted with permission from the highly recommended book
The Kingdom Unleashed: How Jesus’ 1st-Century Kingdom Values Are Transforming Thousands of Cultures and Awakening His Church by Jerry Trousdale & Glenn Sunshine.
(Kindle Locations 2470-2498, from Chapter 9 “Abundant Prayer”)
Serious dedication to prayer and fasting is central to Disciple Making Movements. Nothing happens without prayer. Yet churches in the Global North are weak when it comes to prayer. What lessons can we learn from the experiences related here from the Global South?
- The best way to learn prayer is by praying with people who know how to pray. Classes and training can help, as can mentoring and modeling, but with prayer, experience is truly the best teacher.
- Use the Psalms and scriptural prayers to guide your prayer.
- The Lord’s Prayer is particularly important for this. Listen for the voice of the Spirit
- nudging you to pray for specific things in specific ways.
- Start small. Do not attempt all night prayer, forty days of fasting, or anything else that is not sustainable, and check with your doctor before engaging in fasting. Start with a simple dawn to dusk fast once a week. As you grow accustomed to that, increase the rigor, either by expanding the time or the frequency of the fasts. Review the prayer schedule from Africa in chapter three to get ideas on how to do this. Be sure as you fast to devote extra time to prayer. You can develop a similar approach to learning to pray more.
- As an individual, you can (and should) invite others in your church or fellowship to join you in your fasting and prayer.
- Get new followers to pray.
- Along with private prayer and corporate prayer in both small groups and the congregation, take prayer walks, inviting God to bring His Kingdom reign into a community and to show you where and how to begin. Some people on prayer walks begin to prophetically rename the streets of an area to themes God puts in their hearts, like Redemption Place or Deliverance Way.
- Experiment with highly participatory prayer formats.
For example, years ago some Korean churches began to make corporate prayer a huge priority to the extent that many Christians would spend vacations in prayer. Prayer meetings became participatory, and these kinds of prayer meetings spread rapidly in the Global South. Leaders in prayer meetings would name a specific area for prayer, and everyone would then begin praying verbally about that topic. After a few moments another theme would be announced and the group would transition their prayers to that issue.
For some Americans accustomed to prayer meetings being quiet, led by one person at a time praying, this might at first seem chaotic. However, in much of the Global South this is a common and powerful way of keeping everyone actively engaged in the process of praying, while leaders are constantly guiding and shaping the prayer meetings with intercession themes, and then perhaps moving to praying Scriptures that transition prayers to worship, thanksgiving, repentance, times of singing, or even silence. This approach is also used in half-night and all night prayer meetings.
Spiritual warfare is real. Prayer and fasting are major weapons in that warfare. Learn to use them.