Even for pastors and prayer leaders, the Prayer Summit differs from any other previously attended meeting.
We worship, but in a way distinct from a praise and worship service. We read Scripture, but differently than on a typical Sunday morning. We pray with a unique flow; unlike a Wednesday night prayer meeting. Nor do we function as merely a prayer retreat, designed for spending personal time with the Lord. We certainly are not a prayer conference; do not expect any sermons or study outlines.
The Prayer Summit utilizes all of the above experiences, but in such a unique way it becomes a wonderful yet indescribable encounter.
Think of a Prayer Summit as a place where all of God’s children-red, yellow, black, and white-can gather in a humility that produces biblical unity. It’s an environment that welcomes the expression of every person, culture, and tradition. It’s a prayer meeting where all have the freedom to be themselves, yet the responsibility to serve others.
Our facilitator is the Holy Spirit. He is the leader. He sets the agenda.
A team of men and women are assigned to discern the voice of the Spirit as we journey in prayer together.
They will point us in His direction. They will give guidelines and guidance. They will remind us to stay on the Spirit’s course. They even will turn us back if we go too far afield. Listen closely to their instruction; they will give clear indications as to what prayers are appropriate in each session. Listen also for changes of direction and tempo as the session of prayer proceeds.
These men and women welcome your feedback between prayer sessions, as well as during the course of the Summit. Your insights and ideas assist them in discerning the will of God for our prayers. For the sake of order and continuity during the session, we ask you to walk quietly to one of the team members and briefly share your sense of new direction, then allow him or her to seek the Lord on how to act on your insight.
Our foundation is the Word of God; it is our authority.
The Bible remains central in every prayer session. Our prayers are both based upon and bound by the teaching and truths of Holy Scripture.
You are encouraged to launch your prayers from the Bible. Choose brief texts (several verses, not an entire chapter) related to the point of previous prayers. This is not the time to interject your favorite Scripture or last Sunday’s three-point outline.
Read the verses then pray, or pray the verses as you read them. Allow the Holy Spirit to use your prayers as a springboard to encourage or enlighten others.
Our focus is Jesus Christ. We come to the Prayer Summit to seek Him, see Him, meet Him, hear Him, and obey Him.
Since He is our focus, He sets the agenda and determines what we pray. Our prayer sessions are not merely opportunities to pray through our ‘spiritual shopping list,’ but are designed to encourage corporate prayer. Everyone in the group participates by praying, by listening and agreeing with the one praying, and by discerning the voice of God. Pray in concert with what has just been prayed, or wait.
If we are praising, we do so because He has called us to focus our prayers on praise. When we exalt the Lord and glorify our God, prayers of petition or intercession must wait. Words of exhortation are inappropriate at that time.
If we are offering petitions, we do so because He has assigned us to ask for one another, for our congregations, or for the city. Be quick to listen and slow to pray. When you feel the urge to pray, wait and ask God, ‘Is this what You would have me voice at this time?’ He’ll usually confirm your topic through a Scripture, song, or prayer of another in the group. When you do pray, let it rise from the prayers that have preceded you. Each session should be one continuing conversation with the Lord on the theme of His choosing. If your burden differs from what others are praying, please pray silently until the current topic has concluded. If you are still unsure, quietly speak with one of the facilitation or listening team.
Our format is simple: psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs.
Each prayer session allows unique fellowship in the Holy Spirit, expressed through singing (hymns, praise choruses, gospels, spirituals), reading of Scripture, and praying. Our singing may declare our worship (directed toward God) or declare our beliefs (directed toward the assembly). When you feel prompted to sing, simply begin the song; others will join with you. Our singing is never a performance; it is a vehicle of our praise to God or our praise of God.
Throughout the summit, the prayers will focus on offering praise, giving thanks, making requests, or bringing intercession. Each session will have its own focus, and each pray-er will have his or her own flavor. Pray with all your heart, that is, through your passion and personality.
Since we have varied traditions, all are encouraged to be mindful of others deferring, if necessary, for the sake of unity and harmony. At times, those who pray with exuberance may need to ‘tone it down.’ At other times, those who are uncomfortable with volume or emotional display may need to give freedom and not take offense. The issue is not what you find comfortable or prefer. What matters is:
Has this been prompted and led by the Holy Spirit?
- Is it under the authority (in the name) of Christ?
- Does it bring glory (pleasure) to God?
- Is it contributing to what the Lord is doing in this meeting?
The facilitation team will seek to discern the leading of the Holy Spirit and may address any misunderstanding, excesses, or resistance to the work of the Spirit.
While we all anticipate the blessing of personal time in the presence of Christ, the Prayer Summit presents a rare opportunity for leaders to meet corporately with their Lord. It’s like a staff meeting with Jesus in charge. We liken the experience to Jesus walking and talking with His disciples.
Listen to God, of course.But also listen to His voice expressed through others very different than yourself. Let our prayers be a result of our listening. So listen:
- To the Holy Spirit
- To the facilitators
- To the prayers of one another
Listen and you will be blessed by a fresh wind of the Holy Spirit, and the body of Christ will receive a fresh word from our Lord and Leader.