#032 PASTORS PRAYER GROUPS: FOCUS AND PURPOSE
What is a Pastors Prayer Group? It is a gathering of those who shepherd congregations in a community, who pray individually and together, especially for revival, reconciliation, repentance, and social change in their city and region. It is not another ministerial meeting, not a new program, and not just another organization of pastors because its “the thing to do.” A Pastors Prayer Group has a definite focus and purpose.
It takes time for pastors in such a group to develop a comfortable level of confidence and trust with each other, resulting in a closeness that forms meaningful relationships. (Often, however, a Prayer Summit lasting several days will shorten the time for relationship building.) Sometimes in the process confession and brokenness are essential before relationships can deepen or even begin. The better you know someone, the more likely you are to value and like that person.
The process in Pastors Prayer Groups is based on and saturated with prayer. The result is unity among pastors in focusing on the pains and problems of their city and working toward common goals to address those pains and problems. No longer ministering to needs in isolation from one another, pastors serve together in unity and collaboration.
No city will ever be able to start and sustain a city-wide Light-House ministry without having pastors on board. And pastors are not likely to be on board unless they are thinking and praying together. Pastors Prayer Groups are usually the start of pastors coming together and beginning to work together. Their involvement is absolutely crucial to the success of a city Light-House ministry.
Since the Pastors Prayer Group meeting is a prayer-focused gathering, 95 percent of the time should be spent in prayer . . . for each other. for the city. for those who are lost.
Maximize your prayer time by praying your prayer requests rather than discussing them.
Pray in “one accord” by allowing the Spirit to introduce prayer themes, and pray them patiently through together, to completion.
Anyone can take the initiative and begin a Pastors Prayer Group.
If you are not a pastor, don’t let that stop you from being proactive and beginning to get pastors together. Your role is to bring pastors together, give initial leadership, and then turn over the leadership to a pastor.
If you are a pastor, your initial role is similar to invite other pastors, give initial leadership, and be available as the group decides your involvement.
If you want to start a Pastors Prayer Group, first you must pray! Ask God how he will use you to gather pastors so that pastors in your city may pray with humility and in unity, seeking Gods authority and strategy, to do his ministry and declare victory to everyone in your city and region. And then keep on praying.
Second, ask the Lord to identify intercessors who will work with you to make this a . . . prayer-birthed strategy. prayer-based ministry. prayed-saturated activity.
Then invite pastors to pray with you. Pastors should consider meeting together . . . to pray for each other and their city or region. to build relationships personally and professionally. to deepen their fellowship with God and with one another. HOPE Ministries has a publication titled Light-House Lens: Pastors Prayer Groups that will give you step-by-step ideas on how to form a group.
To invite pastors to a prayer group, a personal contact is more effective than a letter or flyer. You can use written communication to reinforce the personal contact and to remind those who agreed to meet with regard to the date, place, and time of your meeting.
The pastors you invite must be Christians who believe Jesus is the only Savior for the whole world, that Jesus is God in human flesh. They should share these basic characteristics:
Committed to the complete unity that the Lord Jesus desires for his church. Open to and/or active in prayer for revival and awakening and empowering of the church that alerts and attracts the world to the good news of Jesus. Willing to invite other pastors to meet for prayer.
Willing to encourage other pastors to join a Pastors Prayer Group. Willing to ensure that this group cooperates rather than competes with local ministerial and denominational groups.
Responsible to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit by balancing both spirit (freedom + diversity) and truth (Scripture-based prayers + petitions).
1. Respond to the call to begin a Pastors Prayer Group.
2. Invite pastors to meet weekly for an hour of prayer.
3. Facilitate the initial meetings:
Begin and conclude on time.
Set “ground rules.”
Give individuals the freedom to pray their own way (kneeling, prone, sitting but without being a distraction).
Stay focused on prayer.
Use Bibles to quote Scripture as it is revealed. Let God speak!
Encourage singing praise, petition, confession, thanksgiving, doxology. Spend time together talking and listening to God, as well as building personal relationships.
Set the date for your next meeting together.
4. Challenge pastors to attend the next meeting and to bring other pastors.
Relationships. Pastors discover that the Lord has called them together to pray so that they might begin to love one another by listening, encouraging, exhorting, and praying with and for one another. Ministry. Pastors find themselves drawn to gather people together for activities such as saturating the city with Light-Houses, Concerts of Prayer, worship and praise, feeding the hungry, Prayerwalking, Round Tables, and so on.
These results happen through prayer. That’s the reason for meeting. These results are not the focus of prayer but they are a benefit.
The church must recognize itself as a living city-wide entity. In order for that to happen, pastors must establish a leadership infrastructure that will empower its many individual congregations to function autonomously but in cooperation with other churches in the city. Without such an infrastructure redemptive and social transformation will not happen.
Again, vision brings diversity together into one unified entity. Leadership must be selected and affirmed. Then teams can be formed to address the components of change.
Dear children, let us stop just saying we love each other; let us really
show it by our actions.1 John 3:18, NLT
Contact HOPE Ministries for more information and strategies about the Light-House Movement, the vision and potential of Light-Houses, or becoming a Light-House church.
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Phil Miglioratti € National Pastors’ Prayer Network / US
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