IDEAS THAT WORK

"Lord, teach us to pray," the disciples asked Jesus. Church members frequently ask the same of pastors. Few things cause more feelings of guilt about not doing it or not doing it "right." As pastors, we want people to experience God's presence and listen for his guidance, and prayer is the key.

Christians today are far more likely to talk about prayer than to do it. But Jesus didn't describe methods for his disciples-he prayed. We, too, teach prayer best by praying with people.

At our church, we've found guided prayer especially effective. With a leader to give direction, people don't worry about saying the right things. The leader alternates between addressing the Lord and addressing the group. This directs the prayer and creates silent spaces to be filled by the thoughts the Holy Spirit brings to each person's mind.

These silent prayers can be words or images. The pauses can last anywhere from thirty seconds to five minutes depending on the subject and the nature of the group. Some people ...

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