Praying the Apostle’s Creed

Depending on your church tradition, you may or may not be familiar with the words of the Apostle’s Creed. I grew up in a church where we memorized the words in Sunday school at a very young age. Our teachers taught us what the words meant and why we stood and said these words each Sunday in church.

The Apostle’s Creed is still a great way for people to learn about the Christian faith. For those who are new to the faith, the words can help people learn, ask questions, and grow. For those who have been Christians for a while, it can be helpful to look over the words of the creed to remember and affirm what we believe. On difficult days and in trying times, the words of the Apostle’s Creed remind us that no matter what we are facing, it’s all worth it.

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Praying for Students Entering College

If you feel called to pray for your community and/or your church, one of the best ways you can pray right now is for young people who are entering college.

Our community prayer group is currently praying for:

  • Students still in high school but starting dual enrollment classes in college this semester.
  • College freshmen returning to school after their first home break.
  • High school students applying for college for next fall.
  • High school graduates who took off the fall term and are just entering college for the first time this spring.

If you went through this process as a young adult, you may remember how stressful it can be. At that age, students often feel that the rest of their lives depend on the decisions they are making in the moment. They put a lot of pressure on themselves.

It is helpful to pray that the Lord, first of all, will keep them in His peace. That they will be fully aware of His presence and His leading through this process. That they can trust Him with their lives and their futures. That they will be able to enjoy the moment and the experience with Him.

Pray for wisdom. For God to open and close the right doors. For God’s intervention where the enemy or man might present an obstacle.

Pray for God to keep them encouraged, and to help them find peace in their own identities and in knowing they are absolutely precious to God. Pray for godly people in their lives and for God to keep them from the wrong influences.

Above all else, pray as the Holy Spirit leads you to pray.

Remember also to pray for the parents as they guide and support their young ones through this process.

You can pray this in general for your community and/or for your church family. God knows who the young people are that need your prayers, even if you do not know.

If you personally know young people going through this process, tell their parents you are praying for their children in their transition to college life.

If you are part of a church prayer team, perhaps the pastor would like for you to say a prayer out loud on a Sunday morning – ask him or her about it.

In whatever ways God leads you to pray, just know that this process of transition to college is a big prayer need for our communities and churches at this time of year. Thank you for your heart for prayer. God bless.

Season Your Church Ministries with Intercessory Prayer

When intercessory prayer is woven into the fabric of your church, your ministries can stand strong and do exactly what God calls them to do. Every ministry of your church, from worship to hospitality, from nursery to seniors, from Bible study to softball, has the opportunity to incorporate intercessory prayer. Not only does this help the ministries to grow in healthy ways, but it also allows more opportunities for church members to grow in their prayer lives.

What are some ways you can season your church ministries with intercessory prayer?

  1. Open and close your ministry’s meetings and gatherings with prayer.
  2. Invite the folks participating in your ministry to share prayer requests through the week. Pray together each week (or at each gathering) for those prayer requests. Remember to include Praises of how God answers those prayers.
  3. Designate a volunteer “prayer chaplain” for your ministry, who can follow up on those prayer needs, and who will help your ministry stay prayerful.
  4. Whatever Bible verses you use in your ministry, invite your participants to begin praying those Bible verses together. Do a quick mini-teaching of how to turn a Bible verse into a prayer.
  5. Encourage different individuals in your ministry to lead the group in prayer, so everyone can have experience in praying out loud. Not everyone feels comfortable praying out loud, so don’t pressure them and don’t put them on the spot. But make it very easy for them to try. (I offer an online class, “Learn to Pray Out Loud,” that helps people get past this fear of praying out loud.) A small-sized ministry group is often the perfect place for people to practice praying out loud.
  6. Get to know the person who coordinates intercessory prayer at your church. Let that person know the best ways to pray for your ministry. You might write out a few “prayer points” that your church’s prayer leader and prayer team can pray for your ministry on a regular basis. You can also post these prayer points in your ministry’s location, in your written materials and website, or on a church bulletin board. Even better, ask your church’s prayer leader to set up a bulletin board where all church ministries’ “prayer points” can be listed. (Remember: These “prayer points” are about your ministry in general. These are not the confidential prayer needs shared by your participants, which should only circulate to the group and possibly confidentially to the pastor and prayer leader of your church.)
  7. Ask participants in your ministry to be praying for the ministry at home during their family prayer time. This means not only praying for the people in the ministry, but it also means praying for the ministry itself. Ask them to share with you what God shows them as they pray.
  8. Choose a Bible verse that reflects your ministry in each season of the year. Encourage your ministry participants to pray that Bible verse together through that season. Post the Bible verse publicly in your church so everyone can join you in praying that verse.
  9. Assign “prayer partners” among your ministry participants. This connects two or three individuals or families so they can pray for each other.
  10. Choose another ministry of your church to pray for. It should be a ministry with a completely different focus than your own. Ask that ministry’s leader how you can pray for them. Lead the participants of your ministry in praying together for that other ministry. Watch what God will do. Even better, encourage your church’s prayer leader to coordinate all ministries of the church in praying for each other.

Don’t be overwhelmed by this list. It’s called “seasoning” for a reason. Try one of these first and then add others as you are ready. Mix and match through different seasons of the year. Follow God’s leading. But find ways to season your church ministry with intercessory prayer.

What are some ways you have included intercessory prayer in your church ministry?

Symbols of Prayer

If you’ve ever tried to teach about prayer in a church, you have probably encountered the challenge of teaching about something that is largely invisible. Prayer is not something you can see. We know it works, just like we know gravity works. But we can’t see the process with our natural eyes.

Have you thought about creative ways you can teach prayer using symbols? While symbols don’t replace the power of prayer, they can offer a visible way to focus on an invisible process.

Also, symbols draw our attention. They elicit questions. They make us curious.

Like the symbols I just saw in our town square. There is a display of war veterans’ crosses and flags. Usually we see these lining our streets on national holidays. But here just a few are displayed, not on a holiday. It might be a Pearl Harbor remembrance, but I’m not sure. Even though I don’t know the specific reason, the display drew my attention. It caused me to ponder and explore.

What kind of symbols might you display in your church to help people ponder about prayer?

For a season, our church had a candle displayed in a window. The electric candle, which stayed perpetually lit, represented our prayer vigil for the healing of cancer. At the base of the candle, people could write names of people they were praying for. Whenever someone received healing, they could mark “Healed” across the name.

Not every person interacted with the candle. But people saw it as they walked by. They might have stopped to read what it was about. It was something to keep them thinking about prayer.

Prayer stations are another way churches can use to visibly represent prayer. You arrange an area with items that symbolize prayer. Perhaps include a card that invites prayer or lists some scripture verses to pray. Churches often use prayer stations during special seasons, like Lent. But what if you kept a prayer station up all year? Maybe change out the items to mark the seasons. That’s a powerful and visible way to keep people remembering and engaged with prayer.

In prayer leadership, it takes time to get people involved in learning about prayer. The placement of a few symbols around the church can help prepare fertile soil.

What kinds of prayer symbols have you used at your church? What other ideas might you try? Feel free to reply and share your ideas, so others can learn. I would love to hear your creative suggestions about using prayer symbols in churches.

Praying for Families in Your Church

One of my favorite prayer times is going through the church directory and praying for families.

If you would enjoy praying this way, here is a simple way to get started.

Open your church directory and ask God to draw your attention to a family’s name. Or go alphabetically, one at a time.

Start with just one family.

Place your hand over their name or photo.

Pray this prayer for them:

God, thank You for this precious family. Bless them, Lord. Help them feel Your love for them today. Thank You for meeting their needs and for drawing them closer to You. Encourage them, strengthen them in Your love, and give them peace. In Jesus’ name. Amen

I guarantee you they will feel your prayers, like a wave of peace washing over them. They will know God is with them, and how much He loves them.

Your church family needs your prayers today. Thank you for praying.