My post on Monday stirred up a question by several of you that I get asked often. What is the prayer guide your church uses that cultivates a faithful effort among the members to pray for each other? Here is an explanation I gave some time back that might be helpful to those interested in how we encourage our members to be praying and caring for each other:
I created a prayer guide with each member of the church broken into a 28 day chart in alphabetical order. This is to represent the first 28 days of each month. On day 1, I pray for those 5-6 people or families. Then, I try to make some kind of personal contact with them that day in the form of a home visit, email, hand written card, phone call, facebook note, or text message to let them know I prayed for them on that day. Lastly, I ask in that moment of personal contact if there is anything I can do to serve them. For those I haven’t seen recently, I will usually call or go see them to get an update on how they are doing in general.
I repeat the same process for day 2, then day 3…all the way to day 28. If I am faithful and consistent in this process (which I never do perfectly) I would have prayed and made contact with all those who have been entrusted in my care in one month. Any extra days of the month I do the same thing with our missionaries and others we have sent into ministry from our church.
This became such a fruitful system to keep up with all our folks that I took it to our other pastors/elders and they began to do it also. It became such a fruitful system for each of us as pastors that we made a chart for our members and encouraged them to pray for each other in the same way as a prayer guide for our church. Several of the members have even adopted the model of the pastors to contact folks that day they pray for them. It has been amazing the fruit that has come from many of our members taken this task to pray for one another seriously.
Pastors, create some kind of system that allows you and your fellow pastors to faithfully “keep watch” over the souls of your people. Find something that works for you. Then, challenge your people to do something similar. You will be amazed at what the Lord will do in your people when they not only deliberately pray for each other, but are given the God-given burden to care for each other as they pray.