INNER ~ VIEWS #007
Jonathan Graf, Editor, Pray! Magazine
JON, TELL US ABOUT YOUR SPIRITUAL JOURNEY - HOW DID GOD PREPARE YOU FOR YOUR CURRENT ROLE IN THE PRAYER MOVEMENT?
My journey into prayer began in 1989. I had recently been hired as a classics editor by the publishing house that owns the rights to most of A.W. Tozer's material. I was asked to write a study guide to his classic bestseller, The Pursuit of God. The year I worked on that project, reading the book a dozen times, putting together a Bible study and testing it, God gave me such a hunger for Himself that it was amazing. It was the turning point in my spiritual life. Ever since then, I have had a phenomenal interest in prayer.
WHAT IS YOUR VIEW / PERSPECTIVE ON THE STATE / HEALTH OF THE PRAYER MOVEMENT?
I'm excited by the continued growth of the prayer movement. I am most excited by how I see God refining it. We are moving away form a big event mentality to championing prayer at the grassroots level. More and more churches are desiring to see prayer become significant in the lives of their people and in the life of the church. I am also excited by what I see happening in the revival movement with the emergence of the Urgent Appeal for Revival campaign. I think God is going to do a mighty work in His church through that emphasis.
WHAT PROMPTED YOU TO WRITE YOUR BOOK, THE POWER OF PERSONAL PRAYER?"
I have a strong heart for the average person in the pew. The believer who would love to have prayer be meaningful in his life, but struggles. The millions of believers who have never been discipled in prayer and therefore struggle. While The Power of Personal Prayer would benefit anyone at any level of prayer experience, I mainly focused on encouraging that struggling pray-er. It is a very down-to-earth, easy-to-read discipleship book.
WHAT IS THE MOST MISUNDERSTOOD ASPECT OF PERSONAL PRAYER?"
Most people have only been taught about "prayer as relationship with God"--the communion aspect of prayer. While I view what prayer does to our relationship with God as the most important aspect, the "will-releasing" aspect of prayer is not understood by many. The fact remains that there are aspects of God's will in peoples lives and in the life of a church that are not released if no ones prays, if no one seeks God. I challenge believers--what blessing isn't happening in your life because of your lack of prayer? What miracle isn't occurring in your church because of your lack of prayer? I think we would totally see the non-growth statistics in U.S. churches radically change in this decade if people and churches learned and believed this principle about prayer.
WHAT SUGGESTIONS WOULD YOU GIVE TO PASTORS WHO WANT TO DISCIPLE THEIR MEMBERS INTO A DEEPER LIFE OF PRAYER?
First, pastors need to be men and women of prayer themselves. You will not raise the level of prayer in anyone if you are not a person of prayer.
Second, I would strategically put together a plan to raise the level of prayer in your church. It should include preaching on it, adding some teaching in Sunday school and/or small groups, and provide opportunities for people to pray. Third, I think doing all-church prayer initiatives are one of the best ways to grow a congregation in prayer. This is where you use a prayer guide for a period of time, where everyone is praying for the same thing. The May issue of Pray! has an article "All Aboard" on how to develop an all-church prayer initiative that would be most helpful to pastors.
YOUR BOOK WILL HELP US IN OUR INDIVIDUAL PRAYER LIVES, BUT HOW CAN IT ASSIST A LOCAL CHURCH PRAYER COORDINATOR?
I think there are two ways. First, most prayer leaders have individuals who tell them that they want to pray more, but don't know where to start, or they find it difficult to change their patterns to involve prayer. My book would be one of the best things they could read. It is both encouraging and challenging at the same time. Every prayer leader should have a few copies to pass around to those people. Second, one of the things I subtly try to encourage readers to do is to pray with others, to get involved in the prayer life of their local church. Every prayer leader wants to see more people be involved in their "praying together" opportunities. I think The Power of Personal Prayer would help.
HOW DID YOUR ROLE WITH PRAY! MAGAZINE BENEFIT YOU IN WRITING YOUR BOOK?
The challenge of Pray! has driven me to my knees more than anything in my life previous, so I am much more of a practitioner of prayer. Also, I have spent the last seven years totally immersed in the topic of prayer. I have read many books, articles, gone to dozens of conferences on prayer, and so on. I have seen much on prayer from virtually every Christian stream. I have analyzed prayer form many angles. In all of that I saw a lack of real, down-to-earth, discipleship on prayer at the grassroots level. That's what made me write the book.
HOW WOULD YOU WANT A PASTORS' PRAYER GROUP TO UTILIZE THE INSIGHTS OF YOUR BOOK?
‘I think it would be a great help to pastors who want to disciple their people in prayer. It will give them ideas and insights into the struggles that believers have to step out in prayer. If the pastors' group studied the book together, it may fuel discussion about what each believes regarding prayer.’
HOW CAN NPPN READERS GET YOUR BOOK? PRAY! MAGAZINE?
They can get in in one of three ways. It can be ordered through their local Christian bookstore ($10). Or they can receive a $2.00 discount by going to our the NavPress website (of course they pay shipping and handling, too):
Or if they call 1-800-366-7788. They will get the same $2.00 discount if they mention ad code #6333
JON, PLEASE WRITE A PRAYER THAT NPPN READERS CAN PRAY ALONG WITH YOU...
“Father, I pray that you will raise up people of prayer in our churches. People who have a heart to seek You and You alone. Father, would they be people who have a desire to pray for their pastor—not ‘Lord, change Him’ prayers, but ‘Lord, encourage and enable him’ prayers. And Lord, would these people become the biggest champions on behalf of their pastors and churches. I pray these things in Jesus, Name. Amen”
National Pastors' Prayer Network
1130 Randville Drive ID, Palatine, IL 60074
847-991-0153 ~ 847-358-9337(fax)
http://www.nppn.org ~ email: email@example.com
Register your PPG: http://www.nppn.org/ppg/
Phil Miglioratti ~ Coordinator
Sheila Straka ~ Intercession: firstname.lastname@example.org
Chuck Straka ~ Web Master: email@example.com
Adam Shields ~ Tech Support: Updates@nppn.org
Carol Karr ~ Administrative Services
--->Copyright 2002. However, permission is granted to freely redistribute to those who will partner in praying for and sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with everyone in our nation and beyond.
--->Unless clearly identified as "Personal To _____" or "Confidential" all information and comments sent to firstname.lastname@example.org will be considered for use in a future NPPN Update.
--->Opinions reflect the views of each author or respondent, not the NPPN or any other person or organization
Powered by List Builder