We have seen over and over that when we pray specific prayers, God answers in specific ways. When you pray a specific prayer and you see the specific answer, it is a lot easier to credit God. If you pray generic prayers it is harder to pinpoint the answer. God may or may not have done something with your prayer…you may not know because the prayer was so general that it is hard to know if it happened or not.
At Backyard church we do our best to pray about everything. Every decision must be prayed over. If we realize we don’t know what we are doing, we stop and pray some more. It is important to not move ahead until you believe God has given the direction.
The result of this kind of prayer has been the growth of our faith, the deepening of our relationships with God and each other, and plenty of praise to the God who is present, powerful and who answers our prayers.
I really don’t think there is any way forward for the church in the West without prayer being the strategy. Not new programs. Not new staff. Not new worship.
Then we get to watch God work and answer. This leads us to a deeper understand of and appreciation for the power of God working in real time. That in turn emboldens us to press harder, love deeper, and reach further into the lives of those around us because we know God is with us and God will help us!
First, I would suggest no longer being afraid to write the prayer in advance or at least list out who and what specifically needs prayers. I know the cofC had an aversion to prayer books (guaranteed one way ticket to hell), but this lack of any list resulted in those generic prayers.
Secondly, please ask the congregation who and what needs prayers. It might be someone’s friend or family member who is not known, and even then consider a pause at the end of the list and say for all those named out loud and those named in our hearts.