Bible, Christian Living

Week of Prayer Devotional: Excellence

This week a number of churches in our community are joining together for a Week of Prayer. The theme this year is “Excellence in Prayer.” We drew names for dates to speak, and I drew the first night. That was last night.

The reason we’re focusing on excellence is because of a devotion I gave at one of our pastoral meetings. In the devotion I briefly explain how we came to our theme, and then explain three keys to striving for excellence in prayer, or any other part of your life.

View “Excellence” on Google Docs


Praying for Your People: Galatians 5

Pastor, how do you pray for your congregation?

We use prayer cards, ask for requests, and take notes on our weekly conversations for specific needs in our congregation. What do you pray generally for the people under your care?

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Not Another Sermon on Prayer

I’m finishing up a sermon series on the book of James. Turns out, we’re talking about prayer. Here’s a slice from the opening of the message. It just might help if you’ve heard too many sermons about prayer.

You’ve probably heard many sermons on the topic of prayer. They are abundant and cover many forms, sometimes many formulas, and everyone who preaches on prayer says that if you aren’t doing it, there is something wrong with you. Have you heard that sort of teaching on prayer before?

What do you think results from those types of sermons?

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Relationship via Prayer Meeting

Pastors, how do you begin a prayer meeting?

In the past I used to put a different prayer focus on each slide of a PowerPoint presentation. This would run throughout the meeting, giving constant direction for prayer, but leaving the meeting itself unstructured. Another model I’ve used is to set a quiet, personal atmosphere in the room by turning the lights on low, turn on some instrumental or intimate worship music.

In each case, those attending were welcome to come and go as they please. There was no opening or closing prayer. One could enter, pray or worship or read their Bible, and quietly walk out the door when finished. Occasionally we might have prayed together, but not regularly.

I have discovered the power of leading the group into prayer. Remember, I’ve led prayer groups for over fifteen years, and I’m no stranger to the prayer meeting. I’ve also seen it done a few ways that I have chosen not to employ in my own ministry. But recently I’ve stumbled on some of the benefits of being the pastor and leading the group in prayer.

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Christian Living

Victory or Peace?

It’s been almost two weeks since the passing of my father-in-law, but some of the lessons I’ve learned in the past month stand at the forefront of my thoughts and conversations.

I mentioned previously that he was convinced he was under the attack of Satan, and therefore needed deliverance and victory.  Since he slept little in his last months, he would often stay up most of the night watching Christian television.  He called in and signed up for information from an evangelist who promised healing and prosperity and spiritual victory, as long as we sent X-amount of dollars each time we received a mailing.  Books on divine healing would come in and he would read them, he would try the miracle spring water and the Dead Sea salt because he was so desperate for deliverance.

For those of you who might not have guessed from that last paragraph, I am a Spirit-filled believer and minister who believes in what God has provided us through the death of His Son (for example, read Isaiah 53 and 61).  But at a certain point in the dark valleys of life, we need to grapple with whether God wants us to trust in Him for victory, or for peace.

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