meetings (5)

PTAP's new Facebook page

PTAP has a new Facebook page!  Check it out for current prayer information and more ways to pray for Muslims now during the month of Ramadan which ends on June 25, 2017.  And then please click on "Like".  The more likes, the more exposure, the more prayer!

PTAP Online Prayer Meetings

PTAP has started online prayer meetings and so if you are interested in joining us for prayer for the AP, please send an email to "" and tell us about your interest.  Let's continue to pray and lift up the AP together!
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My Problem with Prayer (as it's Performed)

2016 has been a year where I've prayed for extraordinary prayer within my life, within the Church, and also throughout the entire world.  I've been encouraged as God has shown me people and places where He's answering that prayer.  Yet, I witness many times where prayer is offered quickly, and in a perfunctory manner, that is anything but extraordinary.  In fact, I sometimes find myself deeply desiring to see a new "ordinary" established within the Church, within the lives of many other Christ-followers, and even within my own life.  Here's what I mean...

"Let's say a quick prayer before we..." 

It's a phrase I've been guilty of using, and it's one I frequently hear prior to church meetings, meals, and other activities.  But let's think about what we're really communicating.

1. It gives a "tip of the hat" to God's presence, but nothing more.  We acknowledge God's presence by offering the brief prayer, but it typically goes no further than that. God isn't invited to participate in the time (which, if we're honest, is His to begin with), nor is there any desire for Him to lead or control the time (we want to dictate that ourselves).  Is there any wonder why church often appears to many as a glorified country club?

2. It says, "this is a tradition."  Going along with number 1, the quick prayer often seems to serve as a place holder.  It's something that's done before meals, meetings, or events, that continues a tradition that's gone on for months, meetings, or years past.  Again, God is acknowledged (sometimes barely), but the real desire is to get on to the fellowship, the meeting details, or the meal that we're gathered for.  Should God be dryly acknowledged as a guest, and then promptly forgotten about?  Let's consider our ways!

3. It says, "there's a greater agenda at hand, and we best not waste much time before the 'main event.'"  This is the point that most troubles me.  The short prayer, or at least the way it's presented as such ahead of time (as quoted above), insinuates that God is not to be the center of attention or focus.  Instead, the meeting agenda, the fellowship, or meal is the REAL desire of the gathering, not God Himself.  We turn our hearts towards lesser things, and we think we're better off for doing so. Yikes!  Should God take second or third place to our bellies or our desire to gab?  Should the "fear" of food cooling on our plates really be a consideration or motivation to pray briefly?  Again, let's consider our ways!

Let's me propose some extraordinary ideas.

What would happen if the church business meeting turned into a prayer service among the church leaders?  What if God dictated the meeting agenda?  If the church meeting is yielded to God, and it happens to open with 45+ minutes of prayer, and then concludes with only 10 minutes of meeting details and discussion, could not immeasurably more be accomplished in heaven and on earth, than with a 30 second prayer, 59 1/2 minutes of discussion, arm twisting, and a man-driven agenda?  Let's not fear yielding to God.  He IS a God of order!

What would happen if, during a pre-meal prayer, God was worshiped and sincerely invited into the meal and fellowship time.  What would you say if, during the course of the meal and fellowship, God leads one or more attendees into a place of repentance for their sins?  What would you say if God guides conversations to a point where one or more unsaved family members or guests repent and give their lives to Christ?  The fear of a few tummies growling due to a prayer that extends for more than 15 seconds suddenly seems frivolous as God and His Spirit are invited to lead and take over the fellowship time.

These things sound extraordinary, however I'm not certain that they should.  For a long time, we've treated prayer, and connecting with God's heart, as something for special church gatherings, and not as purposeful, powerful, daily opportunities to witness God work in and through our lives.

To change the quick prayer mindset, we must first seek God to make that change within our hearts and attitudes.  One way is to ask Him to grow our love for others to a place where it's greater than our love for ourselves.  Also, we can ask Him to grow our love for Him to a place where it's greater than our desire to be accepted, liked, seen, or known in front of others.  Lastly, (and there are certainly many more ways to pray about this matter) we can worship God privately, or where two or more are gathered in His name.  God inhabits the praises of His people.  Worshiping God in prayer opens your heart, and the hearts of others, to experience God in deeper and in life-changing ways.  That's where extraordinary begins!

Let's consider our ways, and invest time in prayer. 

God first.  All others follow after Him.

In His grip,

Rob Griepentrog
This blog post is also posted at Pray OnSite

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Who are you praying for?

Throughout history God has brought about great movements that shook the earth with His Spirit by raising up a man whom He chose to use. God raised up Martin Luther, John Wesley, Evan Roberts, D.L. Moody and the like to bring about great revivals.

Are you familiar with the prayer meeting held on the Graham farm where young Billy Graham who had not yet accepted Christ as his Savior was in the barn pitching hay? Eighty years ago men gathered on the Graham property to pray for spiritual awakening. Praying together in May of 1934 one of the men suggested a bold prayer. They prayed for God to raise up a young man who would be used to take the gospel to the ends of the earth.

Can we pray again for God to raise up such a person who would turn the hearts of America to Him? Can we pray for God to raise up another Moses or Elijah, an Ezekiel or a Daniel for our day? We could pray like the men prayed eighty years ago on the Graham farm. God heard them. We could pray for God to raise such a person up in China, South America or Africa that would preach to the entire world. You could also be praying for young people you know who already sense God’s call on their lives. For some time I have been encouraging people to pray seminary students at the Pacific Northwest Campus of Golden Gate Seminary. Can you pray for a seminary campus near you? Are there such young people in your church or otherwise in your acquaintance? God has brought them to you to pray for them. What great thing might God bring about in our day if we ask Him?



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12 Tips for Powerful Prayer Meetings

  1. “We” trumps “I.” Jesus instructed us to pray “OUR Father…” (Matthew 6:9). Ordinarily, things are getting off-track if there is too much use of the word “I” in corporate prayer.
  2. God-centered rather than problem-centered. The Lord’s Prayer, the prayers in Acts and Paul’s epistles, and the other prayers in the Bible sometimes addressed current problems (e.g., prayer in Acts 4:23-31 regarding persecution). However, the overwhelming them is always God’s power, glory, and sovereignty (e.g., “Hallowed be Your name” and Ephesians 1, “far above all rule and authority and power and dominion”).
  3. Brief trumps long. The Pharisees were known for their lengthy prayers, but Jesus encouraged His disciples to not put their trust in long prayers or “vain repetitions” (Matthew 6:7, Matthew 23:14).
  4. Focused prayers trump shatter-shot prayers. Too often, people’s prayers are unfocused, covering too many topics and petitions all at once. If we want to have our prayers answered, it’s much better eliminate “fluff” and unnecessary rabbit trails. Specific prayers bring specific answers.
  5. Prayers filled with faith and victory will always trump prayers marked by doubt and defeat. Nothing will bring discouragement to a prayer meeting faster than people who are praying prayers of unbelief.
  6. United prayers trump individualism. Corporate prayer is only powerful when the prayers are offered in one accord (Matthew 18:19-20, Psalm 133). This is undercut when people’s prayers cannot receive an “Amen” from the rest of the participants.
  7. Spirit-led prayers trump human concerns. Understandably, prayer meetings often attract people who have “burdens” to pray about, whether the burdens are for themselves or for others. But unless these human concerns become motivated by the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:26-30), they will end up just being filled with well-meaning “flesh.”
  8. It’s often helpful to mix elements such as worship and Scripture into prayer meetings. We see this approach in Colossians 3:16-17: Word, “psalms and hymns and spiritual songs,” etc.
  9. Prayer meetings should be times of HEARING from God and not just SPEAKING to God. The principle in James 1:19 applies, being “quick to listen and slow to speak” (or pray). This means it’s OK to have times of silence and listening, not feeling it necessary to fill the entire time with speaking/praying.
  10. Prayer meetings usually work best when there is a balance between human leadership and free-flowing group involvement. If the hand of human leadership is too strong, people will be intimidated from listening to God or participating. But if there is no leadership at all, the prayers will often go off on tangents and become unfocused. This doesn’t mean the leadership has to be from just one person, but it’s helpful if people know who is “in charge” of sensing God’s direction in the meeting. People who are intercessors or prophetic sometimes distrust structure and time constraints, but the Bible provides numerous examples of God instituting structure before He performed miracles (e.g., breaking up the people into groups before feeding them loaves and fish). However, if there is going to be structure as to the format, time limitations, etc., they should be clearly communicated in advance (e.g., Paul’s instructions in 1 Corinthians 14 about the use of spiritual gifts in public meetings).
  11. When revival is one of the objectives of a corporate prayer meeting, the elements of 2 Chronicles 7:14 should be kept in mind: E.g., humbling ourselves, seeking His face, repenting (turning from our wicked ways), listening, receiving His forgiveness and forgiving anyone who has wronged us.
  12. Just as in our individual prayer lives, it’s helpful to keep an informal record of some of the prayer requests offered, and then the answers received. Keeping track of some of the testimonies will build faith in God’s faithfulness and in the power of prayer.


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E-n-l-a-r-g-i-n-g the meaning…

One of the most familiar “group prayer” questions is, “Would you lead us in prayer?”  Everyone knows what it means.  But if we are going to be most effective in facilitating corporate prayer, we will want to broaden the meaning of this very familiar question. Here is what I wrote in United and Ignited.

 I have the privilege of sharing at Western Seminary in Portland, Oregon a few times per year on the topic of dynamic corporate prayer.  One day as I was concluding 4 hours of “show and tell” on the topic, I glanced at the clock and realized I had just about one minute to sum up all I wanted them to catch. 

Here is what I said: 

I think I can say nearly everything I want you to walk away with in less than one minute.  My hope is that because of our time together today the meaning of the question “Would you lead us in prayer?” has been enlarged.  From: “Bill, would you lead us in prayer?”  And Bill stands, speaks, we listen, he says amen, and he has led us in prayer.  To: “Bill, would you lead us in prayer?”  And Bill says, “Sure, I would be happy to lead us in prayer.  I have been thinking about Psalm 90:14 (or a host of other verses or topics) which says, ‘Satisfy us in the morning with Your unfailing love…’  Let’s close (or open) our time in prayer today by considering the things about God that deeply satisfy us.  I will give you a moment to consider what you would like to say, then I will start, and let’s have about 5 or 6 others of you follow right after me…”  Then after Bill pauses for 10-15 seconds, he prays, “Father, Your grace deeply satisfies me.”  Then, someone else might say, “Father, the blood of Your Son deeply satisfied You and it deeply satisfies me.”  Or “Father, being part of Your Body has satisfied my deep need to belong.” Perhaps others would mention, His peace, His mercy, His joy, or His calling, etc. 

     The specifics of the illustration should change from setting to setting, but I think you get the picture.  Leading a group in prayer can (and in most settings I would say should) include giving many people in the group an opportunity to meaningfully contribute to the prayer.  It does not have to take any longer than if just one person prayed.  Your leadership, your prayer direction, brings the opportunity for the group to pray in the power of unity.

When we ask someone to lead us in worship, we don’t expect a solo, we expect him or her to do that which will help us express our hearts to the Lord.  Why should it be different when we ask someone to lead us in prayer?  Why not anticipate that the person who leads us in prayer would actually help us all pray rather than just pray on our behalf?

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