What Image of Prayer Do You Have?
Next Level Prayer – Part 2
I think this is a good place for an introduction to what we call “next-level prayer” so you’ll know what you can expect in each section. I decided to add this overview because when I’ve shared a synopsis with people in person, they get so excited. I wish you could see their eyes light up as I mention what each topic is about. Their eyes scream give me more as they’ve never really thought of prayer in such a way, next-level prayer that is.
Why am I sharing this? To be totally honest, I had this vision of prayer that I’ve yet to find in any place or in any church. Pamela and I, along with my extensive years of prayer experiences, were privileged and honored to take on a prayer coach role at one of the campuses of one of the largest churches in America. I’d been a part of prayer initiatives in various capacities throughout my entire lifetime: staff prayer, pre-service prayer, weekly corporate prayer, prayer walks, prayer shields, praying over weekly prayer requests, 21 days of prayer and fasting, prayer concentration, prayer conference, traditional prayer meetings as well as contemporary ones, healing services, etc., but never in-service prayer; where one is specifically engaged in praying for the service in real-time. It was the thought of what that would be like that led to this content.
We have an image of what prayer looks like.
To help me share this picture of what I imagined what in-service prayer would look like, I had an opportunity to have a discussion with a ministry volunteer who spoke with me regarding his idea of what it would be like. His initial thought when he saw the circular arrangement of the chairs in the prayer room was a huge deterrent. This arrangement spoke group prayer, a group of people sitting in a circle praying their hearts out for an hour and a half or longer. This image was a deterrent to him even considering to join the prayer team, as it was mine. There was nothing inviting about performing this role.
Now allow me to give you the image I had in three points.
- Group prayer.
I too thought praying during in-service prayer would be group prayer. However, my image was a picture of a group of volunteers who prayed all at once from start of service to the end. One by one, a person would enter the room and begin praying. I could only imagine entering the prayer room had to be a super reverent place to pray. Right?
- Various prayer styles.
I’ll go here quickly. I was certain that the people in the prayer room (I’ll get back to that) would be praying in their own prayer styles. If you can call it that. That would mean you have those who prayed in-and-out of tongues, of course. Those who pray in what they call their “Heavenly” language. Then you have those who pray using King James language and can quote every passage of scripture imaginable. Then it’s those who pray quietly and all you can see is their mouth moving. Oh and don’t let me forget the ones who sit alone, those who cry as they pray, and the pacers you might find in the room.
- The fraternal order of prayer-warriors.
I didn’t want to be a part of the few who prayed. Allow me to explain. In a prayer room, each week you have the same old faces. It’s rare that a new face would show up. We call these folks prayer-warriors. The prayer-warriors are like their own group of appointed people who pray. It’s as if there are only a few people who can do this job and I have no idea what would qualify one to be added to this fraternal order of prayer-warriors.
Please keep in mind, this is what I imagined prayer would be and have found that this fits the imagination of most. After Pamela and I became prayer coaches, we drew a couple of uncommon conclusions. Before I go here, if you haven’t, it would do you well to read my next-level prayer disclaimers about these lessons.
There is a huge disconnect between what the Bible says prayer is and what we see.
I felt like there was a huge disconnect between what the Bible has to say and illustrate about prayer and what one sees in a prayer service. This content is not specifically about serving on a ministry’s prayer team, but rather focusing on the individuals who wish to take prayer to the next-level. If prayer is an important part of Christianity and everyone should pray, why in the world would a prayer room be almost empty, time and time again? Why would a person not desire to pray? Let’s say it another way. Shouldn’t prayer work? We’re told that it works. And if it works, why would a person not pray all the time? If prayer worked each time, then I’d have to believe that a person would never stop praying. In fact, we have the documented words of Jesus which state “you can pray for anything, and if you believe that you’ve received it, it will be yours.” Since we know prayer works (and it does) and we know people aren’t compelled to be apart of prayer, then we can conclude that there must be a disconnect. With this in mind, I’d like to offer a need to take prayer to the next-level.
Maybe no one has ever shown anyone how to take prayer to the next-level.
Based on what we imagined praying in a prayer room looks like, there was one other conclusion that surfaced. One, we didn’t want to be a part of what we imagined it would be, which made us (two) wonder how it got this way. Who created this practice, this environment, and this culture? That’s when it became apparent, since I love prayer, we must do something about it and “next-level prayer” was born.
Over the course of the next several weeks, our goal is to define what prayer looks like when one prays so that we can have a starting point for taking it to the next-level. If “normal” prayer, which is few, mundane, like a chore, with no structure, and with little effort, has produced the results we currently see, what would happen if you took prayer to the next-level? What kind of results would that produce? How would that change your life, your neighbor, your city, your state, your country, your world?
Question: what image do you have in your mind when someone speaks of prayer?
Reference #1: Mark 11:24 NLT, Bible.com, accessed May 14, 2021, https://www.bible.com/bible/116/MRK.11.24.NLT
All Scripture references used by permission, see our Scripture copyrights.