I do believe that while both men and women are powerful in prayer, many women seem to be more drawn to prayer. In many churches the prayer groups are almost exclusively women. We work hard at Celebration to involve the men in prayer and I'm so thrilled to say we have GREAT participation on the part of our men. (
I lead our Wednesday night Fusion service and am the main speaker in that service on a weekly basis. During that time I have the perfect opportunity to present teachings throughout the year on this subject to both the men and women of the church. I do several series a year on the topics of intercession, spiritual warfare, fasting, and the proper use of the gifts of the spirit. (These other topics are all closely connected with intercession.) Most of these series are at least four weeks a piece -- continuing to ground the people in what God's word says about all of this. It's so important to ground our people in the Word of God because it's when we veer from the full counsel of it that flakiness begins to occur and people go simply by what they FEEL rather than where it's FOUND. (In scripture) In fact, I strongly believe in praying the Word of God, and this is something I'll talk more about later.
When there are people who particularly come to the forefront who are utilized not only behind the scenes in intercession but also moving in the gifts of the spirit publicly, I many times give them reading material that speak to these issues. Some of the ones I most highly recommend are, "Secrets of the Secret Place" by Bob Sorge, "When the Spirit Speaks" by Warren Bullock, "Living in the Spirit" by Dr. George O. Wood and "Divine Order: Leading in the Public Use of the Spiritual Gifts" compiled and edited by Randy Hurst. Speaking of the gifts of the spirit, I take nine whole weeks to teach them, and stress the importance of each of the gifts, not just ones that seem to be the pets of the pentecostal church. I also usually follow this up with a nine week series on the fruit of the spirit, emphasizing that nobody really cares about the supernatural gifts flowing in your life if they don't see the fruit. The issue is that most people have very little patience for this. One lady in the church who used to give messages in tongues all the time was also the most hateful person in the church. There was no love, no fruit of the spirit flowing in her life. The gifts of God are irrevocable so she continued to flow in some other gifts but I have to tell you ever time she opened her mouth with a message it might as well have been Charlie Brown's teacher, to me, and I'm sure to most of the church.
Concerning the women, I realize I have to prioritize our ladies becoming mature in this area or the church will suffer. I have about one third of our CC women in my monthly life coaching group. Although this is not a group created for the purpose of intercession, I do use the opportunity to teach and train them. Our monthly meetings are 3 hours long. The last third of the meeting (1 hour) is always devoted to this. I teach them something about intercession, spiritual warfare, or the gifts, and then we actually practice it. I lead them in a pentecostal prayer meeting. This is their "laboratory for learning". We also have three retreats a year where we get away from it all and can go deeper in this regard and learn and experience even more. In leading this group,it's essential for me to operate in faith, not fear. There are times I need to lovingly correct, to keep proper order according to scripture. What a better environment to do this in than the coaching environment when people are already primed for growth, challenge and change? The ladies who are there have an understanding that they are there for this. Having all of these women involved in the group and learning properly about prayer tends to trickle down to the other 2/3 of the other ladies in the church and even permeate throughout the entire church as a whole with a healthy perspective of intercession .
One tool I use for learning in this regard quite often is the Prayer Model. I can't take credit for this tool. I learned it when I was going through church life coaching with Drs. Wayne and Sherry Lee of Church Life Resources. They are the creators of the "Prayer Model". We learned this from them when they were coaching Larry and I and a group of pastors through a two year program. Now I create and use Prayer Models to lead our ladies. I have used some of the Lee's models, but most times I create my own based upon my teaching for the month. A prayer model is simply prayer points crafted from scriptures utilized in teaching or a sermon. They are very simple to create and utilize. I cannot distribute the Lee's models as they are copyrighted by CLR and therefore I am not going to print or offer them through my page here but you can order their Prayer Model book here. I have this book myself and highly recommend it. I have used most of the models in it and learned from them in crafting my own. So that you can see what one looks like, I am printing mine here for you that I used for our ladies at last months' life coaching meeting. (Click to enlarge. I realized after I published that it did not come out clear, so if you are interested, e-mail me for a copy.) The scripture given here on the model is the one I used for teaching last month. After I teach on a subject we often use this to "pray through" the material we just covered with the ladies - to get this Word down in their spirit and applied to their lives.
- Excellent way of teaching people how to pray the Word.
- Excellent way to focus the people's prayers around what you just taught and apply it personally.
- Excellent way to stay focused in prayer.
So that does this "look like" while we're doing it? What is the atmosphere in the room? Well, when we are ready to pray, the women take whatever position helps them to enter into prayer most (sitting, standing, kneeling, etc.) and I lead us through the prayer model, going through each point and then expounding on each one for a while with further spontaneous prayer. This is not at all "forced" or "scripted" -- it's very natural. They have to work pretty had to drown out my voice and sometimes they almost do it. :) I did mention, we are pentecostals...right?
I love teaching our women to pray the Word and get into the Word more and more because that more than anything wards off flakiness and keeps us grounded.
Tomorrow as promised I will share a final blog post in this series concerning how to lead an effective weekly church prayer meeting that doesn't derail into gossip or flakiness.