The Web of Prayer
Phil Miglioratti (MA ’74)
Spring 2001 TEDS Bridge magazine
I think five or six of us showed up that June 1990.
We placed our chairs in a small circle and introduced ourselves: “Hi, I’m Al from Palatine…I’m Joe from Arlington Heights…John from Lake Zurich…Gary from Schaumburg.” They had come to my office to pray, to pray with other pastors.
Even six months prior, only dragging me to pray with other pastors would work. I thought these meetings were intimidating.
On its tenth anniversary the church I pastor still was hovering around the “100 Barrier,” and the last thing I desired was to put a positive spin on how fulfilling that was. The church I had left nine years earlier was growing off the charts; for every one person we added, they added 99! I just did not want to listen to the ministerium wax eloquent about the latest theological fad or nit-pick about another church that didn’t do things exactly right. Needless to say, my heart needed a spring cleaning.
But spring of 1990 came and with it one of the most exciting times of my spiritual journey. Our church had come into an unexpected time of repentance (we called that morning “Shock Sunday!”). This led to a new awareness and dependence upon the Holy Spirit. Thanks to my co-pastor I found myself in dialogue with another evangelical pastor; he graciously walked me through some basic steps for keeping the church from flying apart at the seams. During one of our discussions he mentioned a group of pastors that had gathered for prayer in the past but lately had not made any effort to.
Then it happened. I asked him for the mailing list. Pastors from a variety of locations and denominations received a postcard in the mail from some other pastor with an unpronounceable last name and from an unheard, “no-name” church.
That June meeting in 1990 began the Pastors’ Prayer Group, and since then we have met every week for prayer.
The Pastors’ Prayer Group is a strategic component in the exploding global prayer movement. Alongside Pastors’ Prayer Summits, the National Day of Prayer, Prayerwalks, Prayer Journeys, and a growing list of others, the Pastors’ Prayer Group has a unique contribution to make to the overall refining and restructuring of the church. They are an invitation to band together with fellow pastors. So far, nearly 300 Pastors’ Prayer Groups have registered.
This isn’t about becoming prominent in your community, nor is it the latest technique of church growth. The call to lead or network a Pastors Prayer Group is a call to submission, sacrifice, and service: unreturned phone calls, unanswered letters, under-attended gatherings. But not these alone. It also entails overflowing joy and overcoming confidence in the presence of the Lord!