An Interview With the Facilitator of the National Pastors’ Prayer Network/United States, Phil Miglioratti...
"IT IS EVIDENT TO EVEN CASUAL OBSERVERS THAT THE PRAYER MOVEMENT IS EXPLODING--BUT ARE THE PASTORS OF LOCAL CONGREGATIONS BEING IMPACTED?"
Yes...and no. Of course many pastors have been blessed by this unprecedented emphasis on prayer. It would be seemingly impossible to be unaware of the National Day of Prayer, the March For Jesus, See You At The Pole, the National Prayer & Fasting Conference. A pastor could not walk through a Christian bookstore without seeing a myriad of new titles, books-tapes-videos, dealing with few of us even thought about until recently; spiritual warfare, prayerwalking, repentance and reconciliation, the city-wide unity of the Church. The existence of the Denominational Prayer Leaders Network is evidence that prayer is being emphasized on both a grand and grassroots scale.
My concern is for the “average” pastor; the already overworked leader who finds very few minutes for personal prayer. They often fail to see how they would have time to begin another program or maintain another ministry. Many are limited by an even greater obstacle, their traditional perspective of how prayer should look and sound and where it “fits.” These pastors tend to view prayer as a program to be added rather than a power to be released. Powerful prayer does not result from a 60-90 second speech to God at the beginning and ending of an already overcrowded agenda. Impacting prayer, the kind that changes lives, must permeate the lives of every church member at every church meeting. Children, youth, adults. Bible classes, board meetings, worship services. No, I do not yet see many prayer permeated congregations.
"HOW WILL A PASTOR CATCH THIS VISION?"
Most of us who serve as pastors know very well our personal prayer lives need renewing. No one needs to tell us that we would greatly benefit from a deeper spiritual intimacy with the Lord. But even a revitalized personal prayer life will not necessarily initiate congregation-wide transformation.
In my experience, it took praying with other pastors. Weekly prayer with like-minded leaders who shared my hopes and dreams for the Church and for spiritual awakening. These gatherings gave me the courage to press my congregation into new experiences and expressions of prayer. And out of those weekly times of prayer and periodic prayer retreats came new models that I was able to apply to our church. Even pastors need to learn how to lead prayer; to guide but not control when 2 or 3, 2 or 3 dozen, or 2 or 3 hundred gather to seek the Lord. The pastor that must lead the way or at least unlock the door so the people of God are free to experience new and more effective ways of talking with the Lord. That requires a pastor who is confident and open to new experiences.
"WHERE DOES A PASTOR FIND THAT CONFIDENCE OR THOSE SAFE EXPERIENCES?"
Probably not in their past seminary education nor by simply reading books about prayer. Like everyone else, we pastors learn best by a multi-layered approach of listening, watching and, most importantly, doing.
The National Pastors’ Prayer Network has been formed to assist local pastors in that process by providing them with quick and simple access to resources that train and equip for prayer leadership. The NPPN has also identified the leaders of networks that bring pastors together for prayer. Most of us learn best by first being a participant.
"WHAT ARE SOME OF THOSE RESOURCES?"
One of the best is the Pastors Prayer Summit experience. Pastors from throughout the city or region gather for 4 days of no agenda other than to be together in God’s presence. This personal experience provides a variety of models a pastor can easily adapt and implement with his/her congregation or in their small groups.
Pastors can learn how to recruit prayer partners by watching and distributing The Pastor’s MVP video and the accompanying resources. It presents a simple plan that requires no prior experience and is not limited to the prayer warriors of the congregation.
Even the smallest congregations can afford these and the many other creative and practical resources that have become available. These new products are, unlike so much of our previous experience, prayer rather than program based. The NPPN can connect the just-getting-started pastor to hundreds of resources and to the nearest pastors’ prayer gathering.
"WHY DO YOU KEEP EMPHASIZING PASTORS PRAYING TOGETHER?"
In my opinion, it is the single most effective way for the Lord to unify the Church to fulfill the Great Commission. As pastors gather for the primary purpose of praying, they cross many lines of prejudice and division; denominations, generations, and nations (ethnicity). While all of us will never completely agree on every point of doctrine or methodology, we can certainly and humbly come together in the name of Jesus to pray. The NPPN will not only identify these pastors’ prayer gatherings, but its very existence will help multiply their number by encouraging and equipping “average” pastors to invite their neighbor pastors to pray.
"HOW CAN A CHURCH MEMBER ENCOURAGE THEIR PASTOR TO PURSUE PRAYER?"
First and foremost through prayer. Begin to pray for your pastor and petition the Lord that he or she will become both a person of prayer and a leader of prayer.
As you continue to pray, gather information and resources that could be helpful and make them available to your pastor...no strings attached: “Thought of you Pastor when I saw this, hope it is helpful to you...”
Look for conferences, workshops, and especially, pastors’ prayer gatherings in your area. Pass the information on to your pastor. Hope (and pray) for a welcomed and quick response but be prepared to be persistent in prayer.
Ask your pastor for permission to become his or her partner in prayer. Hopefully, your life and ministry have already demonstrated that you will be a trusted, loyal, and confidential source of prayer support.
WHAT MATERIALS WILL THE NPPN PRODUCE?
We distribute a series of Updates to pastors, prayer leaders, network facilitators and intercessors around the world.
*Connections - reports the work of the Holy Spirit among pastors who are praying together.
*Prayer Requests - generate prayer support from around the nation for city or region wide prayer evangelism conferences or gatherings.
*Resources & Ideas - networks pastors with resources, equipping conferences, and new ideas. This enables us to quickly learn from other parts of the country.
*Interactive Articles - are being written by national leaders in the prayer movement, designed to encourage and train those who gather pastors for prayer.
*City Reports - provide substantial profiles of what the Holy Spirit is doing in a particular city or region, emphasizing the 'why' and 'how' more than the 'what' and 'where.'
The NPPN exists to initiate and accelerate prayer among pastors so that the revival that comes to our churches results in a spiritual awakening across our land. Pastors’ Prayer Group Leaders, Network Facilitators, and Ministry Directors are encouraged to connect with the NPPN. We are praying for more partners who need or can provide resources or training that will result in more of our shepherds being in closer relationship with the Chief Shepherd.
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