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NPPN Roundtable Article #062


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====================================================
#062
    Diagnostic Tool To
Assess The Prayer Life Of A Congregation
    by Phil Miglioratti
====================================================


A DIAGNOSTIC TOOL TO ASSESS THE PRAYER LIFE OF A CONGREGATION

  
The Purpose

It is our goal, that by properly utilizing this tool, the Holy Spirit will give you a clear sense of how successful you are in the quest to become a biblical House of Prayer.
 
The interactive process brings leadership and membership together in a vertical (prayer) and horizontal (prayer birthed discussions) conversation.  This conversation is in itself a forward step in the prayer life of the congregation.
 
This is not a “scientific” survey capable of producing a computerized analysis nor is it like a contest in which the average rating of the judges determines the outcome. Each category and question is designed to expose the heart of the congregation for prayer and produce an accurate picture of how faithfully, practically and pervasively that desire is being expressed.
 
No congregation using this tool is in competition with any other. It is hoped that this tool will serve to increase the congregation’s appetite for prayer while causing leadership to reevaluate programs and seek the Lord of the Church for His changes toward a reformation in the congregation producing a transformation in the community.
 
Just like prayer, you can utilize as much or as little as you want from this tool. Simply by reading through it you will allow the Holy Spirit to sensitize you to new thoughts and ideas. By inviting others to read it will do the same for them. However, to receive full value, you are encouraged to include and involve the entire congregation over an extended period of time.
 
 

The Process

Begin in prayer, asking the Lord to prepare the hearts and minds of those who make the decision of how to implement this tool amongst your people.
 
Make an appointment with the key leader(s) in your context, usually the Pastor. Make sure the Pastor is in public agreement as this is presented to any other board or committee or team that must decide on its use or steps of implementation.

Employ a long-term strategy
         .The leadership team prays together and commits to use the tool as a means of receiving wisdom and guidance from the Holy Spirit.
         .The full leadership of the congregation hears first about the plan to asses the congregation’s prayer life, are expected to personally support the plan, and to proactively encourage participation from those in their area of ministry.
         .The diagnostic tool will be one ingredient in an overall assessment.
         .Introduce the diagnostic tool to the congregation only after the appropriate leadership (team,  council, board) has met to pray through their commitment to both the process and the action steps that result.
         .Introduce the diagnostic tool only after the congregation has heard a biblical call to become refreshed, renewed, revived as a House of Prayer for all people. This may be accomplished through any or several of these means:
                  -a series of messages/sermons on personal and corporate prayer
                  -a Prayer Conference (all-church) with a guest speaker
                  -a Workshop (all-ministry leaders) with someone to teach on prayer
                  -a Retreat with a guest to facilitate prayer and coach discussion
The guide, Come to the Lord’s Table by Claude King is an excellent resources for any of these activities. (Visit www.finalcommnad.org for details and ordering information)
         .Set a start-date and a return-date to distribute and collect the completed worksheets If you mail the worksheets to the members at their home, please include one per adult and young person. Include a children’s worksheet if appropriate.
         .Or, set aside a month when the worksheets are the focus of every church ministry and activity. Ever class & committee; council & choir; group & gathering.
         .Before initiating the assessment process, set a date for the leaders to meet to discuss and discern what the Spirit is saying through the feedback as well as a date when the leaders will meet with the members to present their findings, seek further response, and set action steps. This is most beneficial if experienced in an interactive format (roundtable discussion led by a facilitator from outside the congregation)
         .At the report session, announce the date of a “Follow-Through” meeting to assess how well the congregation has implemented the ideas and inspirations of the diagnostic assessment (6 - 12 months).
         .Several types of questions are employed in an effort to assist you to think honestly from different perspectives. Avoid answers that “make us look good” and simply give a descriptive response.
         .The answers/responses are just the beginning. After completing a review of responses in a category, use the questions below to assist you in discerning what the Spirit is saying...
                  *”What?” - are our responses to the questions?
                           [Information]
                  *”So What?” - are the implications of what we have said?
                           [Application]
                  *”Now What?” - are we led to do again? Better? Differently?
                           [Implementation]
 


Diagnosing The Prayer Life of Our Congregation

Our History

         What role did prayer play in the birthing / founding of your congregation?
                  
         At what point in your history has prayer been most visible? Powerful?
 
         What was the context (circumstances, situations)?
 
         Which persons have been champions for prayer?
 
         How have we utilized prayer champions in the past?
 
         When it comes to corporate prayer, have we been:
                  Fearful?         Neutral?         Supportive?           Proactive?
 
         Has the congregation been called to fasting and prayer (answer yes or no):
                  ___Yes        ___No
                  
         If so, what prompted the call to fast and pray?
 
         We have seen a correlation between prayer and spiritual milestones
                  (check all that apply):
                  __ People responding to the Gospel
                  __ Increase in baptisms
                  __ Adults surrendering to ministry
                  __ Young people surrendering to ministry
                  __ Sending missionaries to other cities or nations
                  __ New congregations planted
                  __ Breakthroughs in healing (physical and/or emotional)
                  __ (other) ____________
 
Our reputation for prayer is (chose one):
                  __ We do not know how others view our prayer life
                  __ We are probably consider average; no special reputation for prayer
                  __ We are probably known as a church devoted to prayer
                  __ We are the church in our area someone would call to ask for prayer
 
 
Our Theology

         Agree or Disagree:
                  “The prayer life of our congregation and our members is more a
                   religious habit than an act of obedience.’
 
         Agree or Disagree:
                  “Our practice of prayer is based more on the biblical
                   revelation of God’s character than daily trials and troubles.”
 
         Agree or Disagree:
                  “The methods and styles of prayer we employ are informed more
                   by our culture and popular teaching than the scriptures.”
 
 
Our Vision

         To what extent was our congregation’s Vision Statement birthed in prayer?
 
         How is prayer present (or could be) in our Vision statement?
 
         What evidence can you cite to prove this statement:
                  “We are dependent upon God for the success of our vision.”
 
 
 
Our Pastor

         In the past twelve months, our Pastor (check all that apply)
                  __  Preached a sermon on prayer
                  __  Indicated a desire to increase and/or improve his prayer life
                  __  Called the congregation to fervent prayer
                  __  Taught a class or small group on prayer
                  __  Empowered others to lead or facilitate prayer
                  __  Participated or led an ongoing church prayer group
                  __  Promoted a prayer training experience
                  __  Distributed prayer resources for leaders and/or members
                  __  Read a new book on the subject of prayer
                  __  Has benefited from a Pastor’s Prayer Support Team
                  __  Identified and worked closely with intercessors
                  __  Participated in a Pastors’ Prayer Group
                  __  Attended a Prayer Retreat
                  __  Was involved in a community or city wide prayer initiative
                  __  Involved our church in National day of Prayer (or other events)
 

 
Our Leaders

         Do your leaders (staff, deacons/elders, council/board members):
                  (check all that apply)
                  __  Attend the congregational prayer meetings?
                  __ Express personal dependency upon prayer?
                  __  Limit prayer in their meetings to a brief “opening” & closing” prayer?
                  __  Provide financial support for prayer initiatives
                  __  Understand the relationship between prayer and evangelism
                  __  Participate in prayer training
                  __  Consider prayer to be the job of the Prayer Team or intercessors
                  __  Call the congregation to Solemn Assemblies
                  __  Rarely pray in public
 
         
 
Our Members

         As to the prayer life of our church, our members are:
                  __ satisfied,  __ curious,  __ eager to learn,  __ hungry for God
 
         When it comes to changing the prayer patterns in our church,  our members:
                  __ initiate new ideas, __ welcome change, __ tolerate,  __ resist
 
         What percentage of your church members do you estimate:
                  __  Participate in a prayer group or meeting?         ____
                  __  Pray at home with their family on a regular basis? ____
                  __  Participate in some kind of prayer training?         ____
                  __  Request prayer (written or verbally)         ____
                  __  Pray for others who do not yet know Christ?         ____
                  __  Pray for (immediately) others who express a joy or a need?         ____
                  __  Have a prayer burden for another nation?         ____
 
         Our members experience prayer (list in order; most to least):
                  __  Privately at a specific time and place
                  __  Throughout their daily activities
                  __  When they face a trial or trouble
                  __  When someone else prays in a meeting or worship service
                  __  In a small group
                  __  (other)  _________
 
         Agree or Disagree:
                  “When we gather for corporate prayer, everyone participates verbally.”
 
 
 
Our Worship Service(s)

         When the congregation gathers for worship, our prayers are:
          (check all that apply)
                  __  At a preset time in the service
                  __  Spontaneous
                  __  Conversational
                  __  Formal
                  __  Informal
                  __  An expression of ritual
                  __  ”Preachy”
                  __  List (needs) focused
                  __  Prewritten
 
         When the congregation gathers for worship, our prayers are:
          (check all that apply)
                  __  Prayed by “clergy” (ordained, staff)
                  __  Prayed by selected members (a few who rotate)
                  __  Prayed by selected members (many are considered)
                  __  Prayed by any member (anyone may volunteer)
                  __  Prayed by all members (pairs or small groupings; pray in unison)
                  __  Prayed by all members (prayer recited in unison)
 
         When our congregation gathers for worship (check all that apply):
                  __  We sing songs that encourage prayer
                  __  We have banners reminding us of the power of prayer
                  __ We sing songs that address God; we sing our prayers
                  __ We weave praise and prayer together as we worship
         
         
 
Our Prayer Meetings

         (Any gathering devoted to prayer)
 
         We meet for prayer __weekly, __monthly, __quarterly, __annually
 
         Percent of our congregation who attend:
                  __ weekly
                  __ monthly
                  __ quarterly
                  __ annually
 
         What special need or circumstance prompts an unscheduled gathering?
 
 
 
         When we gather for prayer (check all that apply):
                  __ We are faith-filled                     __ We follow a routine
                  __ A few pray                                 __ Everyone contributes
                  __ We span the globe                    __ We follow typical lists
                  __ Most prayers are need-based          __ Many pray from scripture
                  __ We sense God’s presence               __ We see prayers answered
                  
         The purpose of a prayer meeting (according to our reality):
                  __ To tell God what we need
                  __ To praise God and honor Christ first
                  __ To remind God of all who are sick or grieving
                  __ To listen for discernment and wisdom
                  __ To pray for our leaders; congregation and nation
 
         Respond to this statement:
                  “Frankly, our prayer meetings are more boring than blessing...”
 
         When we gather (check any that apply):
                  __ We invite the Holy Spirit to facilitate and guide our prayers
                  __ We ask for the mind of Christ so that our prayers echo Jesus’
                  __ We desire most to serve God by praising and blessing Him
 
         Our pray focus (list in order; most to least):
                  __ Upward - Praise
                  __ Downward - Confession
                  __ Inward - Seeking God’s will (personal)
                  __ Outward - Neighbors & Nations
                  __ Backward - Thanking God for past blessings
                  __ Forward - Seeking God’s will (corporate)
 
 
 
 
Our Small Groups

         Prayer is a core value (list in order; most to least):
                  __  Sunday School Classes
                  __  Choir Rehearsal
                  __  Fellowship Groups
                  __  Study Groups
                  __  Committees
         Small Group prayer (list in order; most to least):
                  __  The leader (chairperson, director, moderator, president) prays
                  __  The leader asks someone to pray
                  __  Everyone prays around the circle or table
                  __  Prayer is conversational; people pray as prompted
                  __  The leader prescribes a format or style
 
         Small Group prayer (list in order; most to least):
                  __  The group has a protected time for prayer
                  __  -Prayers tend to be general
                  __  Prayers are based on stated requests of the members
                  __  Prayers are based on the group’s agenda
 
 
 
Our Age-Focus Ministries

         Our ministries demonstrate a high value for prayer (list in order; most to least):
                  __ Children’s Ministry
                  __ Youth Ministry
                  __ Collegiate
                  __ Singles
                  __ Married Couples
                  __ Families
                  __ Seniors
                  __ Other  _ _ _
 
         Our ministries provide prayer training (list in order; most to least):
                  __ Children’s Ministry
                  __ Youth Ministry
                  __ Collegiate
                  __ Singles
                  __ Married Couples
                  __ Families
                  __ Seniors
                  __ Other  _ _ _
 
 
 
Our Evangelism Ministries, Special Events & Holidays

         We organize prayer preceding evangelistic activities:
                  __ Always,           __Sometimes,           __Never
 
         We schedule prayer during evangelistic activities:
                  __ Always,           __Sometimes,           __Never
         We assign names of new contacts for prayer after evangelistic activities:
                  __ Always,           __Sometimes,           __Never
 
         We ask for the opportunity to pray for people (check all that apply):
                  __ On our church website
                  __ In each Sunday’s bulletin
                  __ In the Church Newsletter
                  __ Through a “pew card”
                  __ A weekly verbal invitation
                  __ At a Prayer Table
                  __ In the Prayer Room
 
         We challenge our members to pray for their neighbors & coworkers
                  (check all that apply):
                  __  In small groups (often called Lighthouses of Prayer)
                  __  In Sunday bulletins
                  __  In Sermons
                  __  With inserts and information (bulletin; newsletter)
 
 
 
 
Our Missions

         In what ways are missionaries and missions supported by prayer?
                  __ Prayer partners as assigned from the congregation
                  __ Various classes and groups adopt a missionary
                  __ Our Missions Committee pray faithfully for our missionaries
                  __ Mission Conferences include focused prayer for global evangelism
                  __ We pray for missions and missionaries in Sunday services
                  __ Prayer requests from missionaries are posted or published
                  __ We offer Prayer Journeys to mission activity locations
                  __ Teaching mission support prayer is part of our discipleship training
 
  
 
Our Equipping for Prayer

         Throughout the year we offer (check all that apply):
                  __ Workshops on various prayer topics
                  __ Classes on the theology of prayer
                  __ Studies on biblical praying and pray-ers
                  __ Sunday sermon series on prayer          
                  __ Prayer retreats
                  __ Financial assistance for leaders to attend prayer conferences
         Training Resources (check all that apply):
                  __ Prayer resources are purchased and made available
                  __ Information on resources is posted in newsletters
                           (Pray! magazine, new book releases, websites, videos...)
                  __ Free resources for Prayer Ministry Leadership
                  __ Prayer materials are available in our library/resource center
                  __ Our congregation provides budget to purchase resources
 
 
 
Our Prayer Ministry Team

         Our Prayer Ministry Team (check all that apply):
                  __ Requires completed training to participate
                  __ Has a designated leader or coordinator
                  __ Has two-way communication with the Pastor
                  __ Is diverse (male/female; young/old)
                  __ Promotes training to the members of the congregation
                  __ Utilizes insights from spiritual mapping
 
         Our Prayer Ministry Team includes (check all that apply):
                  __ PrayerWallking
                  __ Prayer Room
                  __ Prayer Chain (phone)
                  __ Prayer Network (e-mail)
                  __ Prayer Shield (prayer for the Pastor)
                  __ Prayer Journeys
                  __ Prayer Drives
                  __ Prayer Display Table or Resource Center
                  __ Prayer Articles in Newsletters
                  __ Altar Prayer (ministry to those responding after the sermon)
                  __ Prayer Circle (prayer before the Worship service)
                  __ Prayer during the Worship service
                  __ Onsite prayer during outreach events
                  __ Healing Prayer (by appointment or after the service)
                  __ Prayer Vigils (hour-by-hour prayer; sign-up)
                  __ Day of Prayer (everyone praying at home/work with same focus)
 
 
 
 
Our Prayer Partnerships

    Our Prayer Partnerships

         Our congregation (check all that apply)
                  __ Prays for other congregations by name
                  __ Participates in denominational prayer initiatives
                  __ Participates in community/regional prayer events
 
         Using Acts 1:8, what per cent are your prayers focused upon:
                  __ Jerusalem (community; city)
                  __ Judea (region; nation)
                  __ Samaria (enemies; local issues of injustice)
                  __ Ends of the Earth (international; unreached people; 10/40 Window)
 
         We participate in (check all that apply)
                  __ National Day of Prayer
                  __ See You At The Pole
                  __ Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church
                  __ Seek God for the City (spring/Lenten prayer initiative)
                  __ Global Day of Prayer
                  __ Prayer for the Unreached Peoples of the World

         Our congregation (or a class or a small group) have adopted in prayer:
                  (check all that apply)
                  __ School
                  __ Park (gang activity; children & families)
                  __ Multi-Housing / Subdivision
                  __ Local Business (office building; strip mall)
                  __ Senior Center
                  __  (other) ____________
 
 
 
Our Congregation

Every congregation, large or small; independent or denominational;
evangelical, charismatic, or liturgical, is unique.
 
What areas of your congregation’s life have not been covered?
 
 
 
 
How would you rate the place and prominence of prayer in those areas?
         
 

 
Our Conclusions

         Based upon our responses and the witness of the Holy Spirit in this process:
                  __ We are best considered a Prayer Activity Church
                           (prayer is limited to traditional routines or rituals and events)
                  __ We are a Prayer Ministry Church
                           (several or many prayer teams, opportunities, services offered)
                  __ We are becoming a Prayer Strategy Church
                           Strategies are prayer-birthed, leading to...
                           Ministries that are prayer-based, resulting in...
                           Activities are all prayer-bathed
 
 
Our Plans

         List Action Plans (goals with deadlines and assignments) for:
 
                  The Pastor
 
                  Leadership
 
                  Worship Services
 
                  Small Groups (classes, groups, teams)
 
                  Age-Level & Need-Focused Ministries
 
                  Prayer Ministry
 
                  Members
 
                  Prayer Meeting(s)
 
                  Equipping / Resourcing / Communicating
 
                  Acts 1:8 Praying
 
                  Other areas...
 
 
© Permission granted to copy and use with a congregation or ministry on the stipulation this statement is printed or included when copied or used:
This form and process was originally designed by Phil Miglioratti (www.nppn.org <http://www.nppn.org/> ) for New Hope New York (www.newhopenewyork.com <http://www.newhopenewyork.com/> ). Permission to copy and use with members of a congregation or ministry is granted, providing this material is not revised, charged for or sold to participants.
 
The NPPN Web Roundtable -

1. Distribute (e-cast or photocopy) to your Pastors’ Prayer Group

2.  Schedule a specific time to discuss the article

3. Assign one of the PPG members to facilitate the discussion and another to take notes

4. Consider using this format:
    “What?” is the author’s purpose? Points? Positives? Problems?
    “So What?” are the implications? Benefits? Barriers?
    “Now What?” can we do to implement what is good? Action points?

5. Send a synopsis of your discussion to the NPPN Web Roundtable:
    phil@nppn.org

The NPPN Web Roundtable - -
This article will continue to be posted and distributed throughout the NPPN - with the ongoing addition of comments and questions from NPPN respondents. The NPPN produces and provides these articles to initiate a national conversation among pastors' prayer leaders. Opinions reflect the views of each author or respondent, not the NPPN or any other person or organization You are encouraged to contact the author or subsequent respondents directly. These ongoing discussions are intended to inspire, instruct, and inform those who lead pastors' prayer groups and facilitate pastors' prayer networks. The NPPN reserves the right to edit articles and responses for purposes of length or tone. Our call to humility and our commitment to biblical unity will serve as our guide and our guard.
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Add your insights to the NPPN "Web Roundtable"        http://www.nppn.org/CommentForm.htm
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Copyright 2005, NPPN - Permission granted for duplication or distribution among facilitators and intercessors who are committed to gathering pastors for prayer.
 


 


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--->Unless clearly identified as "Personal To _____" or "Confidential" all information and comments sent to phil@nppn.org will be considered for use in a future NPPN Update.
 --->Copyright 2005. 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.
 --->Opinions reflect the views of each author or respondent, not the NPPN or any other person or organization
 




 
 

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