Trick Your Congregation into Praying Like the Korean Church
As prayer leaders, many of us get excited when we are at a prayer gathering where everyone prays out loud all at once. (Often called Korean style praying, though truth be told, the church in almost every culture other than western prays this way.) We would love to see that happen in our churches some Sunday morning, but have little hope. Here is a method that was used by Christ Community Church in Brazil that got everyone praying without any fear.
One Sunday morning ushers hand out “prayer strips” along with bulletins. The prayer strips went to every person who was old enough to read. On each strip was a three-to-five-sentence prayer related to some aspect of ministry in the church (though they could be on any subject of importance to you if you try this).
At the prayer time, the pastor got up and explained what we were going to do, then he had everyone “pray/read” their prayer, out loud, all at once. He explained that you can expand on the prayer if you want. Everyone participated. The weaker, nervous pray-er simply read his or her prayer out loud. Other more brave souls, did that, but they added to it. What resulted was about a minute of a glorious din where everyone was raising their voices to God.
Besides the kingdom power of this corporate expression of prayer, there are significant long term effects. People get used to praying out loud. People begin to see more kingdom minded things to pray for other than Aunt Millie’s sore foot. Pray time becomes dynamic.
First, you need to up with three to five kingdom focused prayer concerns – preferably about the life of your church. These might be things regarding spirit-empowered preaching, dynamic Christ focused worship, transformational power of Christ in your church, and so on.
Second, write out three to five sentence prayers for each prayer concern. Use some phrases from scripture if possible in each one.
Third, put these on 8.5 x 11 inch paper with space for cutting in between each prayer. Then you print them out and cut them into strips of paper, one prayer per strip. You want to have enough strips so every person in the congregation—anyone who is old enough to read—gets one.
Fourth, on the Sunday you will have this “Korean” prayer time, hand them out to individuals as they come into the sanctuary.
Prior to doing this type of prayer time you need to pick who will lead it—your pastor, you, the worship leader? That person will need to be prepared and fully understand what he or she needs to explain to the congregation.
The first time you do this, you will probably need to provide a more detailed explanation of what you are doing. If you are a church with regular visitors, you may need to give the explanation each time. It does not have to be long. Here is a sample of what might need to be said:
“As you came in this morning each of you was given a blue strip (insert whatever color was used) with a prayer on it. Please take them out and look at them. Each prayer is asking God to bless (name your church). In just a moment I will ask you to pray that pray—just read it, or add to it if you feel lead. But we want everyone to read it out loud, all at once. Don’t use your shy, timid voice that no one will hear. Use a normal volume—or louder. Don’t worry about the person next to you hearing—they’ll be praying their prayer out loud too. When I say go, pray that prayer. Everybody ready? . . . Go!”
It might be a good idea to have instruments play in the background, but that is not necessary. To end the prayer time, as the volume decreases—and it will almost all of a sudden—as people finish their prayers, do one of two things. The leader can pray a short, closing prayer. Or have the worship team take the congregation right into a song.
Easy. Nobody sweats praying out loud and everyone participates in corporate prayer. It takes a little work ahead of time, but can reap volumes of prayer rewards!
--Jonathan Graf (C) 2014 Church Prayer Leaders Network