It certainly feels like a “duh” to have to say that motivation is a key to pray for America—or anything for that matter.
I remember back to September 2001, where starting with the night of the 11th, churches all across the country had prayer meetings focused on the tragic events of that day. People—including believers—were shaken out of their comfort zones. They did not know how to respond, other than to pray. They were motivated enough to pray, that they forgot about their usually more important activities, and they forgot about their discomfort at praying with others.
Church prayer meetings were packed . . . for a week or two. Then we found our resolve as a nation, set on a path or action and prayer (at least for the many) went by the wayside. Motivation was the key factor here.
Jump forward to this past May and the National Day of Prayer. Our statistics indicate that this NDP easily had the most participation in its history this National Day of Prayer. And while we did more marketing than ever before to raise awareness, and that certainly helped, I would contend that a key factor was motivation.
No one has to look farther than social media, the news, or out their front door to realize that America is in trouble. Desperation is a motivator, and on this last day of prayer, people were motivated to pray!
Keep Fueling the Motivated
While the 2018 day has passed, I suspect that motivation to pray is still there in your people. The desperation has not yet left. So, as a catalyst for prayer in your church and community, I encourage you to fuel that motivation.
Most people—even if they might desire to pray—do not, without someone making it simple for them, and reminding them to pray.
1. Give them prayer guides.
There are a number of great scripture-based guides you can put in their hands to fuel their prayers. Here are some suggestions:
2. Use Current Events.
Almost daily people are hit with disconcerting news, so much so that we become numb to it. If you or your church has a Facebook page or social media pages/group, I would encourage you to use it if you can for prayer. When something happens—such as the selection of a new supreme court justice, or a tragedy hits the news—send some Scripture-based prayer points and even prayers around to your group to pray.
If something is major enough that it has everyone thinking and talking about, why not have a prayer time in your Sunday morning worship service that focuses on the event.
3. Point them to good prayer articles/blogs.
Use email and social media to lead people to good articles and blog topics on the internet. Most websites and blog sites have a share function. Send it with your recommendation to those in your sphere of influence. Post a recommendation and link to an article or blog you like on your facebook page.
4. Disciple your people where they are.
A part of motivating people to pray for a nation or government, people need to understand the power and effect of prayer. If a person does not understand what prayer does and why it is important to pray beyond fix it prayers in his or her own life, that person will not pray regularly for the nation. It is therefore also important to disciple your people in prayer itself.
If you have influence in your church to offer training in prayer—Sunday school classes, a small group topic, etc—take it seriously. Work to put key training resources into the hands of your people that will motivate them and grow them in prayer itself. I recommend:
We are at a key time in the history of our nation. Nothing short of a fresh move of God–revival in the church and spiritual awakening in the nation—can turn the tide. Our people are desperate—and are hungry to learn to pray more effectively. Let’s step up, prayer leaders.
–Jonathan Graf is the vice president of publishing and resources for the National Day of Prayer Task Force. His heart beats to see revival and spiritual awakening and to help churches disciple their people in prayer.