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 Morf Morford

It’s fair to say that real prayer emerges from two places—first, a situation that drives us to it and second, a spirit or sensibility that easily and naturally flows to a place of prayer. And by real prayer I don’t mean prayer that emerges from rules or practices (like praying before meals or at bedtime). Being thankful for our nourishment and those we share our lives with is wonderful—but it is rarely a prayer of passion, confession, or confrontation with life’s immensities.
 
We all know, I presume, the prayers of need, sorrow, and desperation, but what of the prayer that so easily flows from a “simple” act of generosity, compassion, and connection?
 
These are the “prayers in action” that we see sometimes in children.
 
I am not at all convinced that we need more workshops, books, or programs on prayer; I do believe that we need more prayers of sacrifice, kindness, and perhaps even freedom to the point of abandon.
 
If our prayers are predictable, how can our faith flourish?
 
I defy you to keep a dry eye as you see this story of a child’s faith in action… by linking to http://www.littlethings.com/tara-wood-mr-dan/.


Behind the Scenes: The Context Associated With the Week 6 Verses (Printed Version of the Book) and the Week 4 Verses (Electronic Version of the Book)

Printed Version of the Book Week 6, Day 1 (Oct. 17): Matthew 6:9-13

Electronic Version of the Book Week 4, Day 1 (Oct. 3): Matthew 6:9-13

This version of what commonly is known as the Lord’s Prayer is not the only one that is recorded in the Bible. It was intended to offer a model to all disciples regarding the important considerations that should be included in community prayer. Biblical scholars note that it was not intended to be the model for private prayers, but its structure certainly is beneficial in those cases, too.
 

Printed Version of the Book Week 6, Day 2 (Oct. 18): Ephesians 3:14-19

Electronic Version of the Book Week 4, Day 2 (Oct. 4): Ephesians 3:14-19

This passage continues the prayer that Paul began earlier in this chapter. It describes petitions that would lead to believers being led to work in a way that realizes God’s full intentions for them. It is written to the Father and is positioned from a family perspective—in this case the church family that shares God’s life and nature.
 

Printed Version of the Book Week 6, Day 3 (Oct. 19): Colossians 1:9-12

Electronic Version of the Book Week 4, Day 3 (Oct. 5): Colossians 1:9-12

The earlier verses in this chapter are foundational, describing the need for Christians to gain knowledge that leads to obedience to the will of God. These verses move ahead to indicate how knowledge leads to service, which results in receiving the strength necessary to endure and be patient on this journey. The closing reminds us that all thanks for these opportunities and gifts belong to God.
 

Printed Version of the Book Week 6, Day 4 (Oct. 20): Ephesians 1:17-19

Electronic Version of the Book Week 4, Day 4 (Oct. 6): Ephesians 1:17-19

Paul prayed for the Ephesians to have increased faith in Christ and a supportive attitude toward other believers, acknowledging that they were already blessed with these things through the presence of the Holy Spirit in their hearts. He wanted a deeper understanding for them, however. Basically, he is saying that an intellectual understanding is insufficient; only an understanding that reaches out from our hearts, the very center of our beings, will lead us to riches of his glorious inheritance and the incomparably great power of believers.
 

Printed Version of the Book Week 6, Day 5 (Oct. 21): 1 Chronicles 4:10

Electronic Version of the Book Week 4, Day 5 (Oct. 7): 1 Chronicles 4:10

This chapter primarily provides pre-exile lists of families from certain areas, supplementing information from chapter 2. Verses 9 and 10 detour from that objective, however, sharing this prayer. It is interesting to note that Jabez’s name was similar to the word for pain (‘ōṣeb) and, therefore, was a source of ridicule. Most people thought that it generated unpleasant consequences for him and that only changing his name would solve the problem. Clearly, Jabez chose another course of action, and God blessed him for his prayers.


40-Day Prayer Challenge Week 8 Begins on October 31—Printed and Electronic Versions of the Book

The associated topics and Bible passages for Week 8 for the printed and electronic versions of the book are shown below:
 
Oct. 31: Prayer Releases God’s Power (James 5:16)
 
Nov. 1: The Key to Great Works (John 14:12-14)
 
Nov. 2: The Strength to Stand (Ephesians 6:18)
 
Nov. 3: Prayer Defeats Satan (Luke 22:31-32)
 
Nov. 4: Prayer Shapes History (Revelation 8:3-5)
 
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Differing Perspectives of Week 8’s Verses—Printed and Electronic Versions of the Book

Here are the links for Week 8’s verses (for the printed and electronic versions 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 Oct. 31 Nov. 1 Nov. 2 Nov. 3 Nov. 4
Passage James 5:16 John 14:12-14 Ephesians 6:18 Luke 22:31-32 Revelation 8:3-5
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 Tim Trussler

What do we do when we see someone who we believe is a true enemy of us? Not just a person who takes a parking spot, but a person who is truly desiring to harm you (or your family, your friends, the church, etc.) First off, let’s be clear. The Bible makes quite clear that praying for the destruction of your enemies is, at a minimum, acceptable. There are a robust selection of imprecatory Psalms with such language as “Let there be none to extend mercy unto him: neither let there be any to favor his fatherless children.” and “Blessed shall he be who takes your little ones and dashes them against the rock!” Something tells me we won’t be hearing those Psalms next week as a choral offertory.

 

However, the life of Christ, and specifically the Sermon on the Mount, makes clear that we are called to do sacrificial good, not just acceptable levels of good. Matthew 5:44 says quite clearly, “But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” Ok, but why are we commanded to do this? It seems near-impossible and honestly, a bit self-defeating. I seem to recall Saul losing his kingship over not slaughtering all of the Amalekites, not because he didn’t pray for their salvation robustly enough.

 

In order to give you my answer to this question, I need to tell you my prayer story about a time at Bates Technical College (all together–finally!). I had a boss who was out to get me. I know many of you say “my boss is out to get me too” but in this case, it was quite true. I’ll spare you the details, but believe that my anger and bitterness at her were COMPLETELY justified. This was a person attempting to do harm to me and my family.

 

This is where the challenge came in. I was well within my “rights” as a Christian to hold on to my “She done did me wrong” blues. I could have gone (and did go) to God in prayer and ask for His protection, for her plans to be thwarted, even for her to be removed from her position. But that’s not what God calls us to. God calls us to pray for our enemies. And not some lame, half-muttered, insincere, “God bless so-and-so. Good, done with that. Now on to the stuff I really care about.” God calls us to INTERCESSORY prayer for our enemies. God wants us to come before him and truly pray for them. Pray for their salvation if necessary, pray for the Holy Spirit to guide their paths, pray that God will give them the desires of their heart and make all their plans succeed (yikes!), pray that, as the Aaronic blessing says, God will “Look them full in the face and make them prosper (MSG)”

 

*SHUDDER* He wants me to pray what???!!!

 

Fortunately, I was challenged by several Christians (including my wife) to truly pray for my boss. It was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. But in being obedient to God (and my wife), I caught a glimpse into the heart of God. I think there are two reasons God calls us to pray for our enemies, one obvious and one possibly not-so-obvious. First, God loves everyone. We learn John 3:16 at an early age for a good reason. I Timothy 2:1 says that God wants to bless all people and give them what they need. Additionally, I Timothy 2:4 says that God wants all people to be saved. That was lesson one: I am to pray for my enemies because God still loves them and wants to bless them. The second lesson was more dramatic. As I attempted to pray for my boss, I found out something critically important. It is impossible to truly approach the throne of God and intercede for others while there is still bitterness in our heart towards them. We cannot wish ill towards others and truly beseech God to bless them. Ain’t gonna happen. While God gives us permission to have human emotions within reason (i.e. be angry and sin not), he understands that the end results of these emotions are spiritual harm and eventually death. That’s why he wants us to discard them on the way to the throne. It’s actually for our benefit that he asks us to do this. Release our grudges, no matter how justified, and trust God and God only to protect us and bless us.




 
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