Prayer is part of having faith. It is our main way of communing and speaking to God. Intercessory prayer has long since been practised among the church. Yet, some find it a struggle to get their members involved. Why is it so difficult to get into this habit? Below are eight creative and intentional ways to incorporate intercessory prayer into your ministry.
To connect worship and intercession, and to continue the ‘flow’ of music and participation, we often encourage prayer during singing, or even through singing. ‘Matt Osgood’s “When our songs“, Noel Richard’s “Great is the Darkness“, Bernadette Farrel’s “Longing for Light” are great songs that leave room for intercessory prayer’ says Bob Channel. Alternatively, singing a simple refrain can be part of praying for a situation. We often ask people to picture a country or issue in their minds, and then pray for it by singing a line.
Writing prayers down
Many churchgoers’ feel awkward and nervous about praying aloud. So why not encourage them to write their prayers down or send them in a text to one phone number to be voice by one person as a prayer. That way, everyone feels like they can contribute, and they do not feel pressured.
Using pre-written prayers
Some people might consider this less ‘spiritual’ than prayers made up on-the-spot. However, consider most of the songs you sing. Most of these have pre-written, thought-out lyrics that someone put a lot of time into writing, having concise, well-written and biblically minded texts for prayers is much the same idea. Pre-written prayers are useful in a variety of situations from marriages to deaths to praising Jesus’s birth.
Taste is also highly evocative. A lot of people struggle maintaining focus while praying. If you give them something to eat that plays into what issue you are bringing to God, it can help everyone remain mindful and in the spirit of prayer. For example, if you are praying for a good harvest, eating a piece of an apple while saying the prayer can help keep everyone on the right track.
Keep a prayer journal.
In church is not just the only place you can pray for others, praying at home on your own is essential too. Keeping a little notebook of names, situations, even countries you wish to pray for is a clever idea. This can also be carried forward and scaled up by having a congregation journal where people can go and request prayers for themselves and others.
Have a prayer friend.
If you struggle to stay on task and pray regularly, then getting a prayer buddy might be a solution. You can keep each other accountable or meet and pray together as little as once a week or as often as every day-whatever fit into both of your schedules. ‘This idea could be a wonderful way to get a group of people from your church together and start their own prayer buddy system, or even start a weekly prayer circle’ says David Cornette.
Pray for one or two members every day.
If you are just getting into the swing of praying for others and want to start small, then praying for one or two people a day, every day is a good option. It helps create the daily mindful habit of prayer, without it feeling daunting. As you continue to reinforce this habit, you will feel good for keeping it up and it can inspire you to try praying for me people.
All the Bible can be used in prayer. Look for passages that deal with intercession in their tone as they converse with God. You can pick a sentence or phrase to repeat as a refrain throughout the prayer. Also, Michael Perry authored a book of ‘Bible Prayers for Worship’ – many of which can be found for free on Jubilate and searching for Michael Perry as author.
These eight creative tips will help when getting your church members fired up about intercessory prayer. It just takes some love and patience.