Are Victorious Beliefs Replacing the Prayer Meeting?
by Steve Backlund
I have observed in the last ten years that prayer meetings are playing less of a role in the life of most churches. There may be many reasons of this, but I believe one of them is the revelation of the finished work of the cross and of our identify in Christ. These revelations have seemingly swung the pendulum from having faith in the prayer meeting to a greater beliefs-focused approach of standing in our true authority (which does not require time in corporate prayer to possess). This has seemingly lessened the need for prayer meetings. Is this good or bad?
I think it is both good and bad. It is good because so many prayer meetings simply were vain repetitions of past prayer meetings, begging God to do something He has already done sessions, and frequently were magnets for dysfunctional people to dominate what was happening. On the other hand, it is bad because corporate prayer meetings are key to expressing dependence on God, to utilizing the power of agreement in prayer, and to increasing life changing encounters in the ministry.
So, what should we do? I believe we need to keep growing in our beliefs, but also ask God to lead us (or keep leading us) in creating a new wineskin for corporate prayers.
Here are five ideas to infuse new life in your ministry’s corporate prayer life:
- Do a teaching series on a topic like “The Power of Corporate Prayer” or “New Wineskin Praying” – God often speaks most to us when we prepare and teach on a topic. A series like this would be an ideal time to also dismantle bad beliefs and bad practices concerning prayer.
- Meet with a group of people in your ministry who have a heart for prayer – As we intentionally connect with people we trust in this way, it gives God something powerful to work with in ideas and in people being raised up to take the prayer minister to another level.
- Increase your emphasis on the baptism in the Holy Spirit and in praying in the Spirit – People overflowing with the Spirit are more prone to want to pray.
- Expand the type of corporate prayer meetings you could have – These could include 24/7 harp and bowl prayer times, declaration prayer meetings, governmental prayer meetings, Holy Spirit encounter times, praying the Word prayer times, or whatever God inspires you to do.
I am sensing a new wind blowing on our prayer lives (both personal and corporate). Jesus said, “My house will be called a house of prayer.” Something great happens when we lead our people to a greater heart and hunger for prayer.
ABOUT STEVE BACKLUND
Steve Backlund was a senior pastor for seventeen years before joining the team at Bethel Church in Redding, CA in 2008. Steve is a leader developer, joy activist, a revivalist teacher, and as Senior Associate Director, is a key part of the Global Legacy (a ministry of Bethel Church) leadership team. He travels extensively throughout the world encouraging churches and leaders and has authored a number of books.