First Assembly DeLand and the Place of Prayer

“The effective prayer of a righteous person has great power.” (James 5:16)

I’ve been in awe these past weeks regarding what God has been doing in the midst of our church. For those of you that are unaware what I am talking about, the presence of God has been very strong and there has been a great stirring among many to pray. Prayer times accompanied by strong movings of the Spirit have spontaneously broken out at different times, services and in different groups.

I felt stirred to give a word of encouragement and summary to what I believe the Lord is doing right now corporately. The calling of our church is to pray, reach and teach nations (which also includes our city and nation). This calling is from God and has been confirmed over and over many times. The Lord knows that we will not be spiritually (or financially, physically, etc) prepared to handle the responsibility of reaching and teaching nations unless we are rooted deep in prayer, where everything we do (to serve or minister) flows out of time in prayer between us and God. I would say that our calling has not and will not come to fulfillment until we are literally a church of prayer.

I believe THAT is what this movement of God is about. This time is a season of grace from Him to stir us to enter into the place of prayer. Prayer that is not a duty, but delight. He spoke to me the other week and said:

“This time is not about splashing in the river but to stir you to pray.”

During the last week there have been multiple prophecies and encouragements given that the Lord is saying “ask me cause I long to give it to you.” One prophecy literally felt like the Lord was saying “I’ve made much power available to you in the place of prayer…start using it!” Recently, one of our deacon’s son-in-law became deathly ill. He was on a ventilator and a medical induced coma and no one knew if he was going to live. The next church service, we stopped everything and cried out corporately for God to break in with healing. THAT NIGHT HE WAS HEALED! It was the Lord who healed him but the Lord was (and is) looking to partner with us in prayer, to cry out for Him to move in these situations.

The Lord has called our church to great things, things that will require deep long persistent prayer. He knows we are not going to corporately get to that place overnight, but He is a good Teacher. I believe we are in a season where God is answering prayers quickly and powerfully to stir and boost our faith. He desires our first reaction to be prayer. When we are presented with an issue, situation or a need, He desires that our natural response would be to ask Him to move, break in and provide what is needed. We have prayed quick prayers during our services recently for people to get jobs and be healed only to hear the next day how God sent the answer quickly! Oh how God longs to answer us!

I encourage you that if you have a need, let the Lord move you to pray for it. We were praying Monday night and felt that the Lord wanted us (corporately) to ask for lost loved ones cause He wanted to save floods of them. I encourage you to pray for wayward family members, that the Lord would reach out and save them. For parents of rebellious children, begin/continue to ask God to bring them back to Him.

He hears us everytime we pray and He longs to answer us! He desires to do signs and wonders among us to boost our faith. I encourage you to enter into this place of prayer the Lord has set before us and let’s see Him do powerful things all for His glory!!!!

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The “Ask” Campaign

this is the marketing presentation i made for our church’s annual “week of prayer and fasting”.

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CONTEXT

when it comes to the week of prayer and fasting, we have two different kinds of people in our church. first, we have those people who have been at the church for a long time. they have done many fast weeks before and it has become a sort of “ritual” our church does during the first few weeks of the year. they understand that they will go through this week hungry, tired and exhausted due to the many services.

the second kind of person we have is the newbie. this person may have just joined or has been here for a year or so, but they have never heard of or experienced a fast week. although we may announce it from the platform (will talk about this problem in a sec) before the week arrives…they have no idea what it’s about. it goes in one ear and out the other.

both of these kind of people bring the same result….un-involvement. the people who know about the week of p&f (prayer and fasting) have no idea when it is. they listen for pastor’s message about fasting, cause they know that always is preached the week BEFORE fast week. the people who are new find themselves say the wednesday or sunday following p&f “there was special services? what’s fasting?”. even with the people who do participate in fast week…how many actually get something out of it? who actually know what to do during that time?

that’s where this campaign comes in. we want to inform the new person of a special time coming up as well as teach them what it is about. they have no pre-conceived ideas about it…so what a opportunity to sow good seed into their future by showing them what seeking God and fasting should be like. we also want to refocus and reteach what the week of p&f is to those who have done it year after year. we want them to be able to answer “why are you fasting?” “what is happening in your life this week?”

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THE ASK CAMPAIGN:

week one: december 30, 2007

for this week, i propose that we HAND out NO bulletins. outside of fast week and the new years eve party, there is no relevant info that needs to be known. people can find the bulletins on the tables in the foyer/hallway as well as on the usher chairs in the back of the sanctuary (if this is really a problem we can have another set of greeters giving bulletins to people as they enter the SANCTUARY). instead of the bulletins, the greeters hand every person one of these cards:

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automatically, this does several things. it creates interest in all parties. they wonder what this is. they see the dates and see the scripture on the back, but they are a little puzzled about what it is. attention is placed on this card even more SINCE there in no bulletin. instead of an insert that can be ignored, they are thrown a little bit out of the complacent zone (new term i made lol) and it wakes them up to the realization that “something new” is happening at our church. that morning, the offering speaker mentions “the week of prayer and fasting” (we NEED to use a different more neutral term!…like “the week of asking”…or “seek week” or something…ANY IDEAS???) using the card and quickly talks about how the church will be setting aside this week to ask God everything and anything. (they will get more of the point next week. the main point this week is to get it in their heads)

week 2: january 6

this sunday goes a lot like the last sunday. bulletins are replaced with a NEW card:

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the point of this week is to….with all ways possible…make it clear that the week of p&f is about ASKING GOD and talking to Him. “ask” is the theme (yes, we are now having themes…like the tent) of this year’s p&f (also part of the proposal). we want people to understand that this week isn’t about going without food or coming to church every night…it is about spending a week with God and asking Him what is on His heart, what is His will for your life, for wisdom, for safety and health for family and friends, for provision. THAT is what we want to focus on corporately.

this new card is a great way to start conversation…whether during offering, sermon, worship (hopefully we can do some “asking God for…” songs this and the following week) or just fellowship in the hallway after service. the back has multiple scriptures from the new testament (ESV) that concern asking. the word “ask” is also emphasized on the card to help the word “ask” pop out at people. the card starts with the same scripture as last week’s card…and ends with “you don’t have cause you don’t ask.” this helps cements the thought that “all you have to do is ask…He’s wanting to answer”.

this sunday, i suggest also buying upright banners (2’x8′) that say “ask me” on it with the same look as the cards. if this is something that sounds good, i’ll make the samples. [we want to do all we can to flood the church with “ask”…that everytime they turn around there is something there concerning this “event”]

week 2: january 9 (wednesday)

the week2 cards are placed on all the seats in the sanctuary as ANOTHER reminder that “the week” is only a few days away.

event week: january 13 (sunday morning)

we place all banners (if we decide to make them) in the sanctuary as a visual reminder that week what we are there for. it also brings the campaign to a climax.

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