Pre-Service Prayer Meeting

Join us at 9AM on the first Sunday of each month

Format of our prayer time:

• No one will be required to pray. If you feel led to simply soak in the peace of the Lord and pray quietly, that's fine.

• We will not take time to collect prayer requests. If you have a request, simply pray about it aloud during our prayer time.

• Be sure to do a lot of thanking and praising. As we read in Philippians 4, we should "Rejoice always" and pray "with thanksgiving." Let God be enthroned on our praises (Psalm 22:3).

• If you hear someone express a request, consider praying for it as well. If the Lord places a burden on the hearts of several of us to pray about something, be willing to follow that lead. There's something very powerful about God's people agreeing together in prayer. Jesus himself says, "Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” (Matt. 18, ESV)

Advice and encouragement:

• Don't be afraid of silence. It's okay to quietly wait on the Lord. As David prayed, " I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me." (Psalm 131)

• Be alert to those quiet nudges in your spirit as we pray. It might be the Lord impressing you to pray about something. As Jesus said, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches." (Revelation 2:29) Trust that we have a God who wants to speak to his people and lead them to a good place.

• Resist the temptation to monopolize the time with long prayers or long Scripture readings. Out of courtesy, let's make sure we leave time for others to pray as well.

• Please, in your prayers, do not share information someone else is trusting you to hold in confidence. Some issues, which are intensely personal, are best handled in a smaller, more personal setting.

How should you prepare beforehand?

• If you keep a prayer list, review it this week. Jot down one or two requests that you feel led to focus on during our prayer time.

• Anytime you feel stressed or anxious this week, make a note of what you're worried about. Decide to make it a focus of prayer on Sunday. Honesty and authenticity are powerful before the Lord. He honors humility. And it's a great opportunity to experience "the peace of God which surpasses all understanding."

• Related to that last point, no request is too small. If something is worrying you and robbing you of peace, it's important enough to pray for. "... Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything. ..let your requests be made known to God." (Philippians 4:6) God cares about the little things. His eye is even on the sparrow (Luke 12:6).

• Ask friends, neighbors, or loved ones if they have any prayer needs they wish to share. Offer to pray for them during our meeting. (Of course, be careful to guard things shared in confidence.)

• Take some time this week to jot down a Scripture passage or two that might be appropriate to read aloud during our prayer time. Again, keep the readings brief. Avoid monopolizing.

• Okay, this next one is a biggie and often overlooked in our prayer meetings: Where are you struggling in your walk with the Lord? Would you be willing to confess it in prayer in the hearing of your brothers and sisters in Christ? And with the prayer support of others, would you be willing to ask your Heavenly Father to help you grow in that area of your life?

That kind of thing is scary, but before God, it's a huge thing. Again, honesty and authenticity are powerful before the Lord. "Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed," says James 5:16. And when we humble ourselves in this way, God exalts us for our good (1 Peter 5:6).

Of course, it might be appropriate to pray for some struggles in a smaller setting. So we should use discretion.

One more thing: If you have sinned against someone and you know they have hard feelings toward you, it's important to first go to that person and make things right with them first. Then lift up your prayers and confession before God's people. See Matt. 5:23.