Post Service Prayer: Coming Forward
For about three years in my late twenties I attended a church that incorporated post-service prayer (PSP) style prayer during the service. After the sermon and after communion the worship leaders would continue to play and people would line up in the front to be prayed for. Elders, deacons, and others with a desire to pray would pray for every person, couple, and family that came forward. Pretty much every week more people went up for prayer than didn’t. Some weeks, I bet 90% of the people came forward.
Now I realize that outcome may not be practical the current way North is set up; North is certainly a much larger church than the one above. But, I would love to see more people respond to the Spirit and seek God in prayer at the end of our Sunday services. I share this desire not to guilt anyone into another ‘Christian’ activity, but because I really believe in the power of prayer to change things: you, me, our church, this city, and the world.
With that in mind, here are some of the reasons why I love what post-service prayer offers:
Let us pray… right now:
Too often I have told people, ‘I will pray for you,’ and then never do. I think we all have good intentions to pray for others when asked or when we hear of a real need, but in the busyness of life those plans often don’t materialize. Likewise, when we are moved or convicted during the worship or preaching, PSP is an open door to pursue prayer… now.
Losing (Self) Focus:
My default focus is on myself. I think about myself and my life and things that pertain to me all the time and without any special effort. I don’t even realize this until I am drawn into someone else’s story. And I desperately need my focus to be moved from myself in order to love and serve others. What those who come forward for prayer probably don’t realize is how much I am blessed by hearing their story and praying together.
We hear about the importance of community all the time; we were not created to live life alone. We are a body and those of us who serve on the PSP team really want to serve the church through the gifting God has given us. Sharing life’s highs and lows, sorrows and joys and then seeking God together in prayer is a great example of the body being the body. Being a healthy, praying church requires both a willingness to pray and an openness to be prayed for.
Giving words to groaning’s:
Sometimes our prayers are specific. Sometimes they address specific interventions and pursue specific outcomes. Other times prayer is the cry of our hearts. By praying with someone, the Holy Spirit now has a second person to help interpret our inner groaning’s and give words to our hearts cry. This can be really helpful when processing the deeper movements of God within our hearts.