Perhaps the best way to nurture prayer in an ELCA congregation is to simply stop and pray. Call an official “Time out!” Interrupt business as usual. Stop talking about prayer and begin praying at every opportunity.
Consider these possibilities:
- When someone asks for prayer in the hallway, at a meeting or on the phone, immediately stop and pray with him or her.
- On a card, put the names of of three members of your Lutheran congregation and place the card in a sealed envelope. Do this for all the congregation’s members. Distribute these envelopes in the congregation and invite prayer for those listed in the envelope. (If the names are unfamiliar, encourage people to seek out each other and determine if there are particular prayer requests.) Pray daily for each person listed in the envelope for 40 days. You may also include names of visitors, community social service agencies and others with special needs.
- Here’s a challenge for young and old. Encourage everyone in your congregation to stop and pray when the hands of the clock point to heaven (at noon and midnight).
- Add a list of ongoing prayer petitions in your Sunday bulletin. Encourage worshipers to keep that list handy during the week and pray these petitions every day during the coming week. (If you currently include prayers in the bulletin, add a text box or special font to draw attention to them.)
- Gather a prayer group and register to be part of the ELCA Prayer Network. Receive prayer requests submitted to the ELCA Web site and commit to praying for these needs for 30 days.
Many more resources — such as “Introducing Prayer Ministry,” a Bible study on prayers, and “Luther’s Way of Praying” are available on the ELCA Prayer Web site.
Keep in mind the ELCA Prayer Web site is designed not just to provide prayer resources but also to invite prayer.