First Presbyterian Church Prayer Ministry

The goal of the Prayer Ministry at First Presbyterian Church is a church filled with people who listen to God, who are growing in faith, love, and obedience, and who pray continually about everything with confidence that God is hearing their prayers and answering them. The Prayer Ministry organizes seminars on prayer, encourages people to pray, coordinates First Presbyterian Church participation in the National Day of Prayer, and has opened a prayer room in the South Chapel.
For more information, contact Prayer Ministry coordinator:
Sonja West

Submit a Prayer Request

You can use our easy submission form to submit a prayer request.

Thoughts on Prayer

“These I will bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer…for my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples.” —Isaiah 56:7
“Prayer is our side of the friendship we experience in our relationship with Almighty God.” —Earl Palmer
“What if God does not demand prayer as much as gives prayer?  What if God wants prayer in order to satisfy us?  What if prayer is a means of God nourishing, restoring, healing, converting us?  Suppose prayer is primarily allowing ourselves to be loved, addressed and claimed by God.  What if praying means opening ourselves to the gift of God’s own self and presence?  What if our part in prayer is primarily letting God be giver?  Suppose prayer is not a duty but the opportunity to experience healing and transforming love?” —Martin Smith

Prayer Updates


A Prayer Story From Ann Van Gilder

For many years, I had a dear friend who was a wonderful example of a woman whose life was a ministry of prayer. As our friendship grew, we began to share each day by phone or email our joys, needs, requests, and sorrows. Her prayer lists were many: young women wanting husbands, young couples wanting to have a baby, the students in my classes—each one prayed for daily by first name, her family members and mine. I’m sure she had many other lists she shared in her quiet morning moments with God.
As I shared with friends and family the answers to prayer she and I experienced, many began to ask if I would have her pray for their need. She happily did, and God always gave an answer. It was not always as we expected, but always answered—the sale of a house, a godly wife for a son, the needs of a particularly troublesome student, a doctor’s report that was concerning.
I cherished her words of wisdom. How did she find these Bible passages that were exactly what I needed and exactly when I needed them? Really, I knew the answer. It was a consistent time spent reading God’s Word and consistent time communicating with Him in the morning and throughout the day.
When cancer took her life in 2014, her memorial service was attended by hundreds of people, many of whom testified to being a recipient of her faithful commitment to prayer. One of her life verses—her God’s Bank Account Verse—was shared with me, and at her service that day.
“Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving and pay your vows to the most High; and (then) call upon me in the day of trouble and I will deliver you and you shall glorify me.” (Psalm 50:14-15 NKJV)
(Her explanation:) “During the everyday disappointments of daily life, be thankful for EVERYTHING! Say ‘Thank you Lord for allowing this to happen, and help me to see the blessing in it.’ (Those words based on Thessalonians 5:18 and Romans 8:28.) We raised our children on these verses. They are the key of making Jesus real in our home. It is like depositing in the Bank of Faith—your sacrifices of thanksgiving—even if you don’t feel like it. It will really build your faith as you see that all things DO work together for good. Then when the bad things come into your life, you can call upon the Lord and you have built an account of faith, and you know that He will deliver you in the big things, too.”
While I love to sit at my desk in the morning, read a devotional, and read some verses from His Word, I am not very consistent in the prayer part of my mornings. I am easily distracted. I long to spend enough time in God’s Word and consistent prayer that I, too, will have a bank account with a large balance ready to be accessed for my family, my friends, and my church.

Behind the Scenes: The Context Associated With the Week 2 Verses

As mentioned previously, we will be providing a few brief notes based on the Zondervan Bible Commentary for the prior week’s scripture lessons that were used for the Love to Pray devotions. This approach is intended to reinforce what you learned one week by providing more in-depth information the following week. We hope that the combination of the book’s devotions, the six alternative verses of the scriptural passages, and the short commentaries will help you gain a greater understanding.

Week 2, Day 1 (Sept. 19): Psalm 66:18-19

This psalm generally is considered to offer thanksgiving for deliverance from a time of trouble that was experienced by a nation or congregation. The first two sections acknowledge God’s immense power and call his people to worship him. The third section, however, shares the testimony of the leader who is thanking God specifically for his answer to the people’s prayers.

Week 2, Day 2 (Sept. 20): Mark 11:22-24

Much happens in this chapter of Mark, which includes quite a few different events in Christ’s life. It begins with his triumphant entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday and includes the famous story of him over-turning the tables in the temple. The specific verses in this devotion are associated with Jesus cursing the fig tree—the only miracle where he brought death instead if life. This encounter becomes a real-life parable that Jesus uses to explain how faith is an essential element of prayer. The chapter ends with Jesus’ authority being challenged by the chief priests, scribes, and elders.

Week 2, Day 3 (Sept. 21): 1 John 3:21-22

The focus throughout this chapter is to help us understand the concept of being children of God, Practical obedience is defined in terms of being like Christ by doing right and loving our brothers. The latter verses reassure us that being obedient is the key to us experiencing God’s reassurance and feeling confident that we truly are his children.

Week 2, Day 4 (Sept. 22): John 16:24

Here, Jesus is telling his disciples about what will happen in the future, and he does so in terms that they grasp better than they had in the past. He begins by informing them that they will be driven out of the temple and even killed by people who mean well but do not grasp God’s plan for mankind. Christ then discusses the role of the Holy Spirit after his death. It is at that point that Jesus lets his people know that he will be their advocate if they ask in his name.

Week 2, Day 5 (Sept. 23): Luke 18:1

A widow pleads for justice, but the judge is unconvinced because of his own character deficits. Eventually, however, the judge succumbs to her persistent requests. When considering this parable, care must be taken to avoid equating the judge’s negligence with God’s timing in regard to answering prayers; there is not an intended or unintended connection. Instead, the focus is on the woman’s faithful persistence. Although she does not obtain the desired judgement quickly, she never stops believing she will receive it at some point in the future.

40-Day Prayer Challenge Week 3 Begins on September 26—Electronic Version of the Book

The devotions for Week 3 from the electronic version of the book and their associated topics and Bible passages are shown below:

Sept. 26: Prayer as Conversation with God (Genesis 3:8)

Sept. 27: Living Prayerfully (1 Thessalonians 5:17)

Sept. 28: Hearing from Heaven (John 10:27)

Sept. 29: Praying the Ordinary (Ephesians 6:18)

Sept. 30: A Private Meeting with the Father (Matthew 6:6)


Differing Perspectives of the Week 3 Verses—Electronic Version of the Book

Here are the links for this week’s verses (for the electronic version of the book) as presented in six alternate versions of the Bible. Hopefully, these reference sources will enhance your understanding of each devotion’s scriptural foundation.

Date Sept. 26 Sept. 27 Sept. 28 Sept. 29 Sept. 30
Passage Genesis 3:8 1 Thessalonians 5:17 John 10:27 Ephesians 6:18 Matthew 6:6
English Standard (ESV) Link Link Link Link Link
New International (NIV) Link Link Link Link Link
King James (KJV) Link Link Link Link Link
Contemporary English (CEV) Link Link Link Link Link
The Message (MSG) Link Link Link Link Link
New Revised Standard (NRSV) Link Link Link Link Link


A Prayer Story From Connie Connally

As most of you at FPC know, my son Brendan is a missionary. He had his first extended experience with missions when he was eighteen and doing a “gap year.” During that time he went to the Brazilian Amazon jungle and assisted a British missionary family for about six months. He learned Portuguese, dealt with overwhelming humidity, and came to love and respect poor Brazilians as brothers and sisters in Christ.

Brendan told us about a Brazilian fisherman with whom he spent a day on the river. The man’s son was a well-educated pastor, but the fisherman himself was illiterate. He was also a mature, dedicated Christian. Since he couldn’t read scripture, he depended on his church for Bible teaching, and his private devotional life was based solely on prayer. I’m sure he wished he could read the Bible; but nonetheless his faith was vibrant because he prayed.

This has stayed in my mind over the years. I have been a Christian since I was fourteen, and in my own devotions I’m much more reliable about reading Scripture than praying. I don’t know why this is; maybe it’s because I can intellectualize Scripture, but I can’t do that with prayer. Reading I can do with my head; prayer has to come from the heart. It’s deep work and often hard. But the Brazilian fisherman did it day after day, and he was known for his strength of faith. When we think about it, this is how millions of illiterate Christians have related to God, some of them very faithfully.

I’m so thankful to be able to read the Bible each morning. But I know that all too often I neglect the great gift of prayer, and I am probably not alone in this. During our Prayer Challenge this fall, I hope we’ll all grow as people of prayer. God is inviting us, calling us, and listening.

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