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 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.



Behind the Scenes: The Context Associated With the Week 5 Verses (Printed Version of the Book) and the Week 3 (Electronic Version of the Book)

Printed Version of the Book Week 5, Day 1 (Oct. 10): Genesis 3:8

Electronic Version of the Book Week 3, Day 1 (Sept. 26): Genesis 3:8

This chapter recounts the fall of Adam and Eve, and it makes it abundantly clear that the relationship between God and humans changed drastically once sinful behavior had occurred. Adam and Eve were embarrassed, and they tried to hide from God—a ridiculous notion. They did not repent or beg for forgiveness, and God acted accordingly, creating a separation between himself and humans.

 

Printed Version of the Book Week 5, Day 2 (Oct. 11): 1 Thessalonians 5:17

Electronic Version of the Book Week 3, Day 2 (Sept. 27):1 Thessalonians 5:17

Paul begins this chapter by reminding the Thessalonians to respect and support the elders of the church for the service they give. He goes on to describe the elders’ duties, but he ends up describing expectations for all believers. Paul ends this chapter by giving advice about our personal relationship with God and how we should handle problems that we experience in the church and our daily lives. He points out that unceasing prayer leads to joy and that we need to rejoice and give thanks even during times of persecution.
 

Printed Version of the Book Week 5, Day 3 (Oct. 12): John 10:27

Electronic Version of the Book Week 3, Day 3 (Sept. 28): John 10:27

Christ spoke these words while he was being questioned by the Jews who could not grasp that he was the Messiah and that he and God were one being. The discussion occurred during Hanukkah, the Festival of Dedication that celebrated the restoration of the temple after its defilement about 200 years prior to the time Jesus was speaking. He used an allegory to explain his role because he felt that a direct answer would be misinterpreted—particularly considering the biases of the questioners.
 

Printed Version of the Book Week 5, Day 4 (Oct. 13): Ephesians 6:18

Electronic Version of the Book Week 3, Day 4 (Sept. 29):Ephesians 6:18

This verse is included in a section of Ephesians sometimes referred to as “The Heavenly Warfare” (verses 10 to 20). These 10 verses describe how Christians are expected to wear the full armor provided by God as we tackle the power of Satan on our lives and the world. The initial verses link each piece of armament, providing specific instructions on how we are to undertake the battle. The allegory is very informative, but verses 18 and 19 are particularly important because they remind us that God is at the helm, leading and supporting us in every way.
 

Printed Version of the Book Week 5, Day 5 (Oct. 14): Matthew 6:6

Electronic Version of the Book Week 3 , Day 5 (Sept. 30):Matthew 6:6

This verse is from the Sermon on the Mount, which is covered in chapters 5 through 7. Chapter 6 describes the actions that are associated with righteousness or what is called religion. In verses 6 to 8 Jesus is speaking specifically about private prayers, which customarily conducted in the morning and the evening. Unlike community prayer and prayers that express the deepest concerns from the heart, for which he felt no special instructions were necessary. Christ took the time to be very specific regarding expectations for these daily prayers. Christians should recognize that through this form of prayer, they will gain greater understanding of God’s character, will, and purpose as he scrutinizes what we share with him.



New Resources on Prayer in the FPC Library

 
One of our key focuses at FPC this year is PRAYER, and to provide more resources on the practice of prayer, we asked Pastor Eric, our elders, and our Prayer Coordinator to come up with suggestions of their favorite prayer resources. We now have most of the books they recommended in the church library, and the books will be part of the table display for the next several weeks. So stop by and check out one or more of the books below!
 

Prayer Books

  • Greg Pruett, Extreme Prayer
  • C.S. Lewis, Letters to Malcom, Chiefly on Prayer
  • John White, Daring to Draw Near
  • Andrew Murray, With Christ in the School of Prayer
  • Bill Hybels, Too Busy Not to Pray
  • Richard Foster, Devotional Classics
  • Richard Foster, Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home
  • Timothy Keller, Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God
  • Matthew Henry, A Method for Prayer
  • Alvin VanderGriend, Love to Pray
  • Charles Spurgeon, The Power of Prayer in Believers
  • Brother Lawrence and Frank Laubach, Practicing His Presence
  • Dallas Willard, Hearing God
  • Rosalind Rinker, Prayer: Conversing with God
  • Hallesby, Prayer
  • Rosalind Goforth,How I Know God Answers Prayer
  • O. Fraser, The Prayer of Faith
  • E.M. Bounds,The Complete Works of E.M. Bounds


40-Day Prayer Challenge Week 7 Begins on October 24—Printed and Electronic Versions of the Book

The associated topics and Bible passages for Week 7 for the printed and electronic versions of the book are shown below:
 
Oct. 24: Jesus, Man of Prayer (Mark 1:35; Luke 5:16; 6:12)
 
Oct. 25: Paul, the Man Who Prayed Constantly (Romans 1:9-10; Colossians 1:3, 9; 2 Timothy 1:3)
 
Oct. 26: Elijah: An Ordinary Man Who Prayed Powerfully (James 5:17-18)
 
Oct. 27: Jehoshaphat: Victory Through Prayer (2 Chronicles 20:6, 12)
 
Oct. 28: David: Finding Renewal Through Confession (Psalm 51:7-10)
 
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Differing Perspectives of Week 7’s Verses—Printed and Electronic Versions of the Book

Here are the links for Week 7’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. 24 Oct. 25 Oct. 26 Oct. 27 Oct. 28
Passage Mark 1:35; Luke 5:16; 6:12 Romans 1:9-10; Colossians 1:3, 9; 2 Timothy 1:3 James 5:17-18 2 Chronicles 20:6, 12 Psalm 51:7-10
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

 




 
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