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INNER ~ VIEWS        #006


Thomas Wright, PrayTimer


THOMAS, TELL US ABOUT YOUR SPIRITUAL JOURNEY - HOW DID GOD PREPARE YOU FOR YOUR CURRENT ROLE IN THE PRAYER MOVEMENT?"


I was blessed to have parents concerned with the spiritual nurture of their children. I learned the difference in trying to do God's will over trying to impose my will on God. (A lesson I still have not mastered). At age 8, I recognized my sin and that Jesus was the only way to find forgiveness. I str
uggled with issues of truth in High School and studied the world religions to confirm that Jesus is in fact THE way, THE truth and THE life (John 14:6). That conclusion led to a call to ministry and missions.  

It was during the 2 years I served as a missionary to Thailand that the Lord began to teach me about the importance of prayer. My subsequent calling has been in the United States as an evangelistic church starter and home missionary. Those tasks deepened a commitment to help others hear the call of God to pray and respond with biblical prayer. The Southern Baptist North American Mission Board began a prayer evangelism unit (department) in 1996. It was
a natural fit for me and is now "home" for ministry and service.


“WHAT IS YOUR VIEW / PERSPECTIVE ON THE PRAYER MOVEMENT?”


It is wonderful to see the call of God for people to pray. It seems to be consistent with the movement of God before earlier great awakenings. It is exciting to recognize that we could see a great awakening in our lifetime if we respond biblically to God's call to prayer. (2 Chron 7:14). It is marvelous to see the tremendous networks and resources that God is mobilizing to renew North America and the planet.

It is a concern to recognize Satan's efficient and consistent counter attack. Whenever we see a legitimate movement of God, Satan will present an ingenious counterfeit. Satan's purpose is to disobey God and lead others to do so. We must be very careful to respond to the call to pray with biblical prayer. I see many sincere believers who respond from emotion, intellect or ignorance. Our only safe place to stand is the Word of God.

We need to be sure that our prayer constituency remains faithful to pray, care AND share. It is the responsibility of every believer to reduce the population of Hell (Luke 19:10. 4:18). We can do this by praying for lost people so that there is openness to the gospel (2 Cor 4:3-4). We also need to be praying for ourselves and believers so there is a boldness to witness (Eph. 6:19).


“HOW IS THE SOUTHERN BAPTIST CONVENTION RESPONDING TO THE NEW EMPHASIS ON PRAYER EVANGELISM? ... AND HOW WILL THAT IMPACT THE DENOMINATION?”


Each of our major
entities now has a prayer coordinator to help maintain focus and direction for prayer. We are seeking to let prayer undergird and permeate everything done in and through every person and congregation. Reclaiming the corporate and individual house of prayer can revitalize plateued churches. It can enhance compassionate ministry, powerful worship and effective evangelism. It will foster the next great awakening, which is the only hope for North America to survive the 21st century.


“YOU HAVE SHARED BOTH SUPPORT AND CAUTION FOR THE SPIRITUAL WARFARE SEGMENT OF THE PRAYER MOVEMENT ... WHAT ARE YOUR CONCERNS?”


First we need to teach our people to participate in biblical spiritual warfare. Many
believers are being overwhelmed and intimidated into silence by Satan and His forces.  We need to boldly proclaim the truth and uniqueness of Jesus Christ. The culture wants us to believe that Jesus is just some of the way, part of the truth and little bit of the life. We must proclaim Christ.

Second we must only participate in biblical spiritual warfare. So much of what I read is based on personal experience and human opinion. Much of it tries to impose on God our expectations. I see many sincere believers who have been fooled into diverting needed resources into the decoys of unbiblical emphases and events. This is occurring through neglect of the biblical principles of spiritual warfare.


“WHAT CAUTIONS WOULD YOU GIVE TO PASTORS?”


The spiritual maturity of a congregations will never exceed the spiritual maturity of the pastor and leaders. Serve as a shepherd instead of a cowboy. Lead your people, don't drive them, into prayer and evangelistic outreach. Pastors must be examples of godliness and righteousness. A praying pastor will have praying people.Recognize the difference between a prayer strategy and series of prayer events.
Our Prayer Guide for Associations and Churches resource kit tries to help address those issues for leaders.



“WHAT CAUTIONS WOULD YOU GIVE TO INTERCESSORS?”


Pray more than we talk about prayer. Read the Bible more than we read books about the Bible. Be careful that the prayer team is not seen as the ones who pray like the choir are the ones who sing.  Let our prayer enhance our relationship with Christ so much that our witness is an overflow of our walk with Him.


“HOW SHOULD PASTORS’ PRAYER GROUPS APPROACH SPIRITUAL WARFARE FOR THEIR COMMUNITY?”


The biblical focus of spiritual warfare is the conversion of the lost (Luke 17:20). We recommend three parts of a prayer ministry that makes a difference in the church and the community. First renew a personal passion
for Jesus through praying unceasingly (Ps. 51:10, 1 Thes 5:17). Second, reclaim the church as a house of prayer with a passion for lost people (Mark 11:17, Luke 19:10) and third, Respond to God' s call to unite believers in focused prayer for global evangelization and awakening (see 2 Chron. 7:14; John 17:20-21). If we look at incorporating these three components we may find a purpose that gives direction to our events.  Otherwise we have a series of prayer events that may only attract and train our prayer warriors. We need to permeate our congregation with prayer. That also prevents us losing the big picture when we deal with spiritual warfare.


“WHAT SPIRITUAL WARFARE RESOURCES WOULD YOU RECOMMEND?”


The New Testament is the primary Spiritual Warfare Guidebook. I am a bit partial to chapter three of my new book
:) PrayTimer: Real Time for Real Prayer, Software (including Teacher Resources) and Outreach Bible Study. (For more information visit http://www.praytimer.org)  It includes a pretty thorough bibliography that points believers to biblical spiritual warfare for all of our teaching and activities. Other excellent, biblical resources are Lowe, Chuck. Territorial Spirits and World Evangelization? Great Britain: Mentor/OMF, 1998. Miller, Calvin. Disarming the Darkness. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1999. Powlinson, David. Power Encounters, Reclaiming Spiritual Warfare. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1995. Priest, Robert A., Thomas Campbell, Bradford A. Mullen, Missiological Syncretism: The new Animistic Paradigm. In Rommen Edward, ed. Evangelical Missiological Society Series number 3. William Carey: Pasadena, 1995.


"WHAT DO YOU THINK IT WOULD BE LIKE TO LIVE ON A PRAYED FOR PLANET?”


We would see the fruit of the Spirit as more characteristic than the fruit of the flesh. (Gal 5:19-23)


YOU HAVE A NEW RESOURCE COMING OUT FOR PEOPLE  WHO PRAY; WHAT IS IT, HOW DOES IT 'WORK' AND HOW CAN IT BE A BENEFIT IN PRAYER?
The new book and software is called PrayTimer (TM): Real Time for Real Prayer. This software helps maximize and expand the believer’s prayer time. It tries to help us think about the impact by providing each person, congregation or small group with specific, current prayer lists. PrayTimer provides tools for individuals, prayer coordinators, and church staff to provide those lists. It helps them to manage, print, and distribute specific, current prayer requests.  The Bible study sessions help believers and unbelievers discover the source of effective prayer.

The PrayTimer Guidebook and Outreach Bible Study: This material helps believers and unbelievers find real time for real prayer. It presents six 90-minute sessions about prayer that can be used as an outreach Bible study. It also provides specific instructions for the software.  Session topics include following Christ in biblical prayer, spiritual warfare, and developing a prayer ministry.  The first and second sessions introduce unbelievers (and reminds believers) that the source and motivation for prayer flows from our personal relationship with Jesus.   Session three presents a biblical study of prayer and spiritual warfare. Session four describes ways to lead the church to become a house of prayer. Session five helps each believer to become a prayer warrior whether or not they use the software.  Session six presents biblical motivation for prayer and detailed instructions for the PrayTimer software.  


“PLEASE WRITE A PRAYER THAT NPPN READERS CAN PRAY ALONG WITH YOU...”


Lord wash away all of our old nature so that nothing remains but the likeness of Christ.


PrayTimer: Real Time for Real Prayer
By C. Thomas Wright, Ph.D.
0633010596 - $18.99

You can order PrayTimer from LifeWay at 800-448-8032 or on the web at
praytimer.org.

Purpose of the PrayTimer Software.
What could happen if we prayed for and share Jesus every person in our community? Here is a tool to help believers who struggle to find real time for real prayer that makes a difference.

This software helps maximize and expand the believer’s prayer time. Think of the impact by providing each person, congregation or small group with specific, current prayer lists. PrayTimer provides tools for individuals, prayer coordinators, and church staff to provide those lists. It helps them to manage, print, and distribute specific, current prayer requests.  The Bible study sessions help believers and unbelievers discover the source of effective prayer.

Software Features include:
--- Customizable calendar options for prayer requests with daily, weekly, and monthly calendar views.  
--- Downloadable files included in the software to pray for specific national and international requests, as well as missionaries on their birthdays.
--- A schedule of Bible verses to read through the Bible in a year.
--- A library page at www.praytimer.org to download updated prayer lists.
--- Easily create and import local prayer request files  
--- Easily export prayer request files to church members or other people using the software.
--- Export requests into Microsoft Outlook.
 
The PrayTimer Guidebook and Outreach Bible Study: This material helps believers and unbelievers find real time for real prayer. It presents six 90-minute sessions about prayer that can be used as an outreach Bible study. It also provides specific instructions for the software.  Session topics include following Christ in biblical prayer, spiritual warfare, and developing a prayer ministry.
--- The first and second sessions introduce unbelievers (and reminds believers) that the source and motivation for prayer flows from our personal relationship with Jesus.  
--- Session three presents a biblical study of prayer and spiritual warfare
--- Session four describes ways to lead the church to become a house of prayer.
--- Session five helps each believer to become a prayer warrior whether or not they use the software.
--- Session six presents biblical motivation for prayer and detailed instructions for the PrayTimer software.

Testimonials/endorsements:

This Jesus-centered PrayTimer is full of incredibly complete instructions that will produce the powerful prayer life you have been seeking.
Evelyn Christenson, Author: What Happens When Women pray
Co-chair: North America AD2000 Women’s Track

Long ago I discovered the convenience of typing my devotional notes into the computer, even during my personal devotional time.  Technology ought to be at the service of the kingdom.  Thomas Wright has given us a useful tool for organizing our prayer time and prayer requests.  His book begins at the right place creation and its purpose.  His doctrinal content is much needed, including a strong emphasis on coming to the Father through Christ.  Dr. Wright makes a helpful distinction between “popular prayer” and “true prayer.”  His pithy statements make strong points:  “In spite of the cultural opinion to the contrary, there is no degree of acceptable sin.”  “Praying in Jesus’ name means asking anything that is consistent with His character, nature, and personality’ – and he has others scattered at helpful places.  Wright also gives helpful correctives to some recent movements and superstitions that are confusing sincere Christians.  The content and the technology are right in line with where I believe God wants to take serious pray-ers today.
T.W. Hunt, Retired LIFE Consultant of Prayer, Baptist Sunday School Board

The PrayTimer is a wonderful tool. The emphasis on prayer as a calendared event is fantastic.  Prayer is often that item of convenience and not that priority item on our schedule. PrayTimer places it at the top of the list.
John W. Welch, Pastor , First Baptist Church, Winston, Mo.

Dr. Thomas Wright offers this unique software to aid believers in the life of prayer.  I commend it.  Now we can pray not only on our knees, or prayer corners, but at our keyboards.  Don't let the technology scare you.  This gives "pray at all times" new meaning.
Lon Allison, Director,  Billy Graham Center, Wheaton, Ill.

I have enjoyed using PrayTimer because it has made my prayer time more focused.  
Marsha Withrow, Charlotte, N.C.

The software has consolidated all my various prayer lists into one.  Now I do not forget to pray for someone on the day of their surgery because it is on my prayer list for that day.
Kamela Efird, Stanfield, N.C.

"In an age in which the DayTimer has become ubiquitous, Thomas Wright provides Christians an even more needed tool:  the PrayTimer.  Giving both foundation and framework, PrayTimer also delivers the electronic tools necessary to organize and enable daily comprehensive prayer.  It is long overdue and just what busy Christians need."
Randy Sprinkle, Director, International Prayer Strategy Office, SBC


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