Creative Suggestions for Prayer

Creative Suggestions for Prayer
Densil Forester


Hospital Prayer List – This is a great idea to reach hurting people. Check with area hospitals and get permission to put a prayer request book in the waiting room with the church name, address and phone number printed on it. Designate someone to pick up the book each week and have the church pray over it.

Praying in the Park – This is a great time of year to take a group of children on a prayer walk in the park. Lead them in prayer for their city, neighborhoods, schools, friends, church, pastor, children of the world, etc. If there are people in the park, two or three of the children (with adult supervision) could approach them explaining they have gathered together for prayer and inquire if they have a special request or need for prayer. Encourage the children to pray for/with people immediately or, if they are a little shy, take the requests back to the group to be prayed over.

Stand in their Place – When making urgent requests public at meetings, have someone stand in place of the needy person (if the person in need is not there). For a sick child, have another child stand in front of the group. This gives people a point of focus. If praying for a missionary family, select a family suitable to match the family needing prayer.

Ideas for Small Children – For small children, make a picture album for them to have with them during prayer time. Put pictures of family, a homeless person (symbolizing the poor), and a picture of the world. Include pictures of every day blessings to give thanks for: food, clothing, a home, etc. Their requests can also be put into picture form: grandmother, father, swing set, new bike, etc.

Knocking on Doors – When knocking on doors for evangelism purposes, instead of introducing yourself as a member of your church, have a clip board in hand and tell them that you are out praying for your city, one area at a time. Ask them if they have a special need or prayer request. Almost without fail, they will give you a request and then ask what church you are from. Take the request back to prayer group, pray over it and follow up with a card that lets them know that you prayed for their specific need (ex. “Dear Joan, we wanted to let you know that we prayed for Sally”).

Yearly Prayer Calendar – Establish a personal prayer calendar to help develop a broad spectrum of prayer. (For example, during the month of January focus on repentance, cleansing and fresh direction. For the month of September, focus prayers on children and young people going back to school.)

Prayer for World Needs – Form groups of no more than four and give each group a newspaper section filled with world news. Say: Your group has 5 minutes to search your newspaper for one situation you want us to pray for, such as gang violence, drugs, famine, floods, or earthquakes.” After 5 minutes, gather groups and have them describe their situation. Close by praying for each world need. As the “Amen”, read John 16:33. Create a “World Prayer Needs” bulletin board. Throughout the week have kids cut out magazine or newspaper articles containing world need they want the group to pray for. Have them tack the articles to the bulletin board as visual prayer reminders.

Computer Prayer Reminder – How about making your computer password the name of a church leader or a divisional leader? Each time you type it in; take a minute to pray for that individual.

Prayer Crown Breaker – Divide your group into teams. Give each team a piece of paper and a pen. In five minutes have each team write down as many prayer requests that they can think of. (Ex. lost family members, healings, church growth, pastor, etc.) At the end of five minutes count the requests and award a prize to the winning team. Then copy the prayer list and distribute them to the team members and have them pray over the list for the week.

Sunday Morning Prayer – A program started in Louisiana where the men of the church meet at 8:00 AM on Sunday morning. They have a short time of fellowship and then they go to each Sunday school room and pray through the rooms for their children and their teachers. They also walk through the pastor’s office and the sanctuary praying for the leadership of the service, protection on all of the families in the church and God’s blessings on the entire church. (This can be done anytime, even at youth service)

Cleaning – (This would be great for a cleaning day at church) Assign a topic of prayer to each chore that you have. Pray for the assigned need while doing a specific chore.

World Praying – Buy an inflatable globe. Have the youth group stand in a circle and one person will toss the ball to another. That person will then close their eyes and point to a place on the globe. (Have a list of missionaries available) Have group prayer for the missionary in that part of the world.

Alphabet Praying – Each person is invited to offer a prayer about a different letter of the alphabet. (example: America. Bible colleges. Christian Education, District Superintendent. Evangelism, Foreign missionaries, Home Missions, etc.)

Naming God – Think of the ways we think of God. Father, gracious Lord, Creator, Christ Jesus, Shepherd, heavenly King, Holy Spirit, beautiful Savior, etc.

Pray the Announcements – Ever get bored with announcements made in church gatherings? Why not anoint them with prayer? State the announcement then have corporate prayer for the event. Example: “Vacation Bible School will begin in June.” Pray for God’s blessing on the activity. Pray that the hearts of the children will be ripe to hear about God. Pray for guidance, direction and anointing on the workers. “Outreach will be Saturday morning at 10:00 AM.” Pray that God will help each person to see the need for outreach and that they will be burdened for lost souls. That all will be safe as they knock on doors. That hearts will be open to hear the gospel and that hungry souls will want to come to know Jesus Christ.

Pray the Newspaper – It is difficult not to become depressed as you read through your local newspaper. When you read of the wars, crime and violence it is enough to burden the strongest of Christians. Why not pray for the needs as you read? Pick a day and let your newspaper be your prayer list.

Entering the Prayer Zone – Think about all the times you drive through a school zone. You hit the brakes and watch for pedestrians, all the while thinking about where you are headed. Being a Prayer Zone Partner could change that. If you are concerned about what is happening in schools these days, here is an opportunity to do something. Pray every time you enter a school zone. Pray far the school and its students, teachers and administrators. You may also want to pray far the school your child, grandchild, or friend’s child attends. What better way to spend this “slowed down” time? (Youth Alive – Springfield, MO)

Four Cardinal Rules of Prayer – 1 – One learns to pray by praying. What is crucial is that we are really on a journey, not just thinking about the journey or talking about it. 2 – Pray as you can: don’t pray as you can’t. Don’t try to be something you are not. Find the approach to God that fits your level of spirituality. 3 – Don’t just pray when you feel like it. 4 – When a man or a woman has an intense desire to grab hold of God, they move and act; they respond and pray. Without that hunger, they are simply playing spiritual games. If the intense desire is lacking, fall on your knees before God and beg for the gift.

Picture This – One California church reports that they use photos as part of their intercessory prayer time for each other and others in need. Each person in the prayer ministry purchases a small photo album and puts pictures of people on his prayer list into the album, as well as all those in the prayer ministry group. Opposite each photo is a card with the person’s phone number and appropriate verse to use when praying for that person. Each member is encouraged to provide their own photos and a verse for other members of the group. For example, if a person is struggling with worry, he could choose one of the verses on peace. Another option is to choose from a list of verses dealing with the fruit of the Spirit. Additional verses can be added as new needs and situations arise. During the week, group members use the photo and verse combination to pray in an insightful manner. The albums serve as a reminder to pray and they also encourage the group to develop a sense of family.

Prayer Cards – Take three index cards and write down one person’s name on each card. Next, go to each of the people that you listed on a card and let them know that you will be praying for them. Ask them to tell you the desires of their heart and any immediate prayer concerns. Then, write it down on their card so you can partner with them in prayer. Pray for those three people each day according to the information they provided on the index cards. Pray consistently for a specified time or until prayers are answered.

Praying for Prodigals – A pastor in Texas spoke about how we all know someone who is away from the Lord – a son or daughter, grandchild, sibling, friend, maybe even a parent. On each side of the pulpit stood a table with several pens and small sheets of paper. Each person was invited to come to the front, write down the first name or initials of the prodigal and places his or her name in the basket. The baskets were literally lifted up into the air as a way of symbolically putting them before God’s throne. Intercessory prayer followed. After the service, the names were taken to the prayer room where prayer teams spent the next few weeks praying for these people.

Focused Prayer Around the Clock – Each month select a theme to be the focus of 24 hours of prayer. (Evangelism, summer camps, healing needs, families, church staff, violence in schools. etc.) Put together a prayer guide for each theme which offers specific things to pray, appropriate scriptures, songs for meditation, and space so that prayers can write down what God might be saying to them or burdening them with on the subject. If the church has a website, the guide should also be made available there. Each prayer vigil is divided into 30 minute segments and individuals can sign up for one or more slots. The goal is to pray focused prayer around the clock.

Praying for Your Church’s Finances – Apply the principle of sowing and reaping by creating a special notebook or rolodex file in your prayer room to hold business cards. Each Sunday, as the offering is being taken up, ask the people to place their own business card in the offering plate so that the intercessors can pray over them during the week. Beseeching God to pour out His blessing and prosperity over the businesses of your church honors Him. Some prayers might even want to write short notes to the business owners to let them know that they are being prayed for. As you minister to the community in this way, your church will reap what it needs as well. God promises it!

Yearly Prayer Calendar – Establish a personal prayer calendar to help develop a broad spectrum of prayer. (For example, during the month of January focus on repentance, cleansing and fresh direction. For the month of September, focus prayers on children and young people going back to school.)

Bonfire Prayer – Each person selects a twig or small piece of wood or a piece of paper with your request written on it that is tossed into the fire with a silent or spoken prayer symbolizing our prayers are given in trust up to God.

Economy – Pray when you are at the check-out stands for the economy–when you make your bank deposits–when you drive by the banks.

Leadership – Place pictures of President, VP and governor in your prayer room or foyer to remind people to pray for leaders—get the names of the church officials in your state and pray over them.

Paper Towel Prayer -The prayer leader begins by unrolling a roll of paper towels on the floor. Each person is asked to write a person’s name or prayer concern on each sheet. Re-roll. Each day or youth service tear off one sheet and lift up prayers for that particular concern or person.

Nail Prayer- Build a wooden cross (size depending on size of group). Each person is given one or more post-it-notes or pieces of paper to write a prayer concern on. Invite each person to nail that concern on the cross.

A.C.T.S. – This is a good way to always remember the basics of prayer. A.C.T.S. – Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving & Supplication.

Fastest Prayer – Divide your group into teams. Give each team a piece of paper and a pen. In five minutes have each team write down as many prayer requests that they can think of. (Ex. lost family members, healings, church growth, pastor, etc.) At the end of five minutes count the requests and award a prize to the winning team. Then copy the prayer list and distribute them to the team members and have them pray over the list for the week.

Outreach – Why not get a list of all visitors to your church each week and pray over the names. This would provide opportunity to send them a car letting them know the church is praying for their life to be blessed.

Mom’s Praying – The first Monday of every month, the ladies of New Life Center get together and pray specifically for the children of the church. Those who are single, “adopt” those children or young people in the church who do not have a praying mother.

Hand Prayers – (trace the child’s hand on a piece of paper) On the thumb write “praise and worship,” (Psalm 147:1). On the pointer finger, examine your life, writing “confess our sins,” (1 John 1:8-9). Knowing the promises of God that in Jesus Christ we are forgiven, this makes us thankful. On the tallest finger write “thanking God,” (Philippians 4:6; Psalm 136:1).
The weakest of our fingers reminds us of our need to pray for those who are in need. Write “needs of others” on the ring finger, (I Timothy 2:1-4). Finally, the pinky is the least of our fingers yet the most essential for having a strong grip. Write “our needs” on the pinky finger, (I John 3:22). Another option would be to put a nail mark in the center of the hands palm. Write “in Jesus’ name.” This will help children remember that we can all upon God in prayer because of Jesus death for our sins. So we pray “in Jesus’ name.”

Responsive Readings as a Model of Prayer – Read prayerfully Psalm 86:1-13. Ask a volunteer to slowly read the odd numbered verses. The family or group will read the even numbered verses as a prayer.

Echo Prayer – Pray a short prayer phrase out loud. Pause for the family or group to repeat out loud your word of thanks, or confession, or praise, or petition. This continues to reinforce that people can pray out loud.

Complete the Sentence Prayer – Ask a member of your family or of the group to volunteer to think about one of the five aspects of prayer. Start the prayer and the volunteer for each type of prayer call finishes the sentence. For example: “Lord, you are…(praise and worship); “Lord, forgive me for…(confession of sin): “Lord, thank you for…(thanking God): “Lord, please help…(praying for others needs); “Lord, I need…(pray for your needs).

Babbling Brook Prayer – (assure those in your family, small group or congregation that God is able to hear prayers, even if we all pray at the same time). The larger the group, the more this style of praying is effective. It is powerful to be praying in the midst of a rushing stream of prayers. Invite people to all risk and pray for whatever or whomever they choose. The group will determine when the prayer time is over based on the naturally diminishing prayers.

Praying the Scriptures – One of the ancient styles of prayer within Christianity is “lectio Divine” or using the Word of God for prayer. Such meditation is both ancient and of great value to gain understanding from the scriptures. It can be done while walking, cooking, sitting in a waiting room, silently or in a group like the babbling brook prayer. Select one of your favorite verses of the Bible, memorize it or put it on a 3 x 5 card and repeat it until it begins to take root in your heart. Praying the scriptures back to God is like praying the very heart of God. This builds confidence in our prayer life and oftentimes stretches us beyond our normal thoughts and prayers. (“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts,” Isaiah 55:8-9). Adapt the pronouns and insert the names of those for whom you are praying.

This article “Creative Suggestions for Prayer” by Densil Forester was excerpted from: website, May 2008. It may be used for study & research purposes only.

This article may not be written by an Apostolic author, but it contains many excellent principles and concepts that can be adapted to most churches. As the old saying goes “Eat the meat. Throw away the bones.”