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   Christian Concourse - PRAYER

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What Is The Prayer Summit Experience?

  

Even for pastors and prayer leaders, the Prayer Summit is probably different than any meeting they have previously attended.

   

The following was taken from a brochure written by Phil Miglioratti [http://www.nppn.org] from the Chicagoland Prayer Summit and it is a good description of a typical International Renewal Ministries "Prayer Summit" [www.prayersummits.net].  Edited by Jerry Johnson for Christian Concourse.

   

We worship, but this is not a praise and worship service. We read Scripture, but very differently than on a typical Sunday morning. We pray, but with a unique flow; this is not your Wednesday night prayer meeting. Nor is it merely a prayer retreat, designed for you to spend personal time with the Lord. Certainly not a Prayer Conference, do not expect any sermons or study outlines.

 

The Prayer Summit utilizes all of the above but in such a unique way, that it becomes wonderful to experience but difficult to describe.

Think of it as a place where all disciples of Jesus Christ, red and yellow, black and white, can come together in a humility that produces Scriptural unity. It's an environment, which welcomes the expression of every person, culture and tradition. It's a prayer meeting where all have both the freedom to be themselves and the responsibility to serve others.

   

Our Facilitator

Our facilitator is the Holy Spirit. He is the leader. He sets the agenda. A facilitation team is assigned to discern the voice of the Spirit as we journey in prayer together.

They will point us in His direction. They will give guidelines and guidance. They will remind us to stay on the Spirit's course. They will even return us when we go too far afield. Listen closely to their instruction; they will give clear clues as to what prayers are appropriate in each session. Listen also for changes of direction and tempo as the session of prayer proceeds.

These facilitation (or listening) team members welcome your feedback between prayer sessions, as well as, during the course of our meeting. Your insights and ideas assist them in discerning the will of God for our prayers. For the sake of order and continuity, if you sense a new direction during the session, we ask that you quietly walk over to one of the team and briefly share your thought, then allow them to seek the Lord on how or whether or not to act on your insight.

   

Our Foundation

Our foundation is the Word of God; it is our authority. Our prayers are both based upon and bound by the teaching and truths of Holy Scripture.

You are encouraged to launch your prayers from biblical texts. Choose texts that are brief (several verses, not an entire chapter, please) and on the point of what has just been prayed. This is not a time to inject your favorite Scripture or last Sunday's three-point outline...

Read the verses then pray... or... pray the verses as you read them. Allow the Holy Spirit to use your prayers as a springboard to encourage or enlighten others.

   

Our Focus

Our focus is Jesus Christ. We come to the Prayer Summit to seek Him, see Him, meet Him, hear Him, and obey Him.

Since He is our focus, He sets the agenda and determines what we pray.  Our prayer sessions are not merely opportunities for each of us to pray through our "spiritual shopping list." Rather, they are designed to encourage corporate prayer, where everyone in the group participates by listening and agreeing with the one praying and discerning the voice of God. Pray in concert with what has just been prayed, or, wait.

If we are praising, it is because He has called us to focus our prayers on praise. So we exalt the Lord and glorify our God; when this occurs, prayers of petition or intercession must wait for another time. Words of exhortation are inappropriate at that time.

If we are offering petitions, it is because He has assigned us to ask, for one another, our congregations or the city. Therefore, be quick to listen and slow to pray. When you feel the urge to pray, wait a moment and ask God, "Is this what You would have me to voice at this time?" He will usually confirm it through a Scripture, song or prayer of another in the group. When you do pray, it should be on a continuum from the prayers that have preceded you.  Each session is meant to be one continuing conversation with the Lord on the topic or theme of His choosing. If your burden is different than what others are currently praying, please pray silently until the current topic or theme has concluded.  If you are still unsure, quietly speak with one of the facilitation (or listening) team.

   

Our Format

Our format is simple: psalms, hymns and spiritual songs.

Each prayer session is a unique fellowship in the Holy Spirit, expressed through our singing (hymns, praise choruses, gospel, spirituals), our reading and praying of Scripture, and our prayers. Our singing may be a declaration of worship ("vertical" - directed toward God) or a declaration of our beliefs ("horizontal" - directed toward the assembly). When you are prompted to sing, simply begin the song; others will join with you. Our singing is never performance; it is a vehicle of our praise to God or our praise of God. The Bible is part of every prayer session. One of the facilitators may lead us through a brief reading and expounding of a Scripture portion. Every participant is encouraged to launch their prayers from God's holy Word.

At various times throughout the summit, the prayer focus will be on offering praise, giving thanks, making requests or bringing intercession. Each session will have its own focus and each pray-er will have his or her own flavor. Pray with all you heart, which to us means, through your passion and personality.

   

Our Freedom

Since we have varied traditions, all are encouraged to be mindful of others, deferring, if necessary, for the sake of unity and harmony.  At times, this means those who pray with exuberance may need to "tone it down." At other times, this may also mean those who are uncomfortable with the volume or emotional display need to give freedom and not take offense. The issue is not what is comfortable for or preferred from your experience. What matters is:

Has this been prompted and led by the Holy Spirit?
Is it under the authority (in the name) of Christ?
Does it bring glory (pleasure) to God?
Is it contributing to what the Lord is doing in this meeting?

The facilitation team will seek to discern the leading and balancing of the Holy Spirit and may speak to any misunderstanding, excess or resistance to the work of the Spirit.

While we all anticipate the blessing of personal time in the presence of Christ, the Prayer Summit is a rare opportunity for leaders to meet corporately with their Lord, like a staff meeting. It's like when Jesus walked and talked with His disciples.

Listen: to God, of course, but also to His voice expressed through others very different than yourself. So listen... to the Holy Spirit, to the facilitators, and to the prayers of one another.

Let our prayers be a result of our listening. Listen and you will be blessed by the fresh wind of the Holy Spirit and the body of Christ will receive a fresh word from our Lord and Leader.

Whatever you do, do it unto the Lord...

 

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