Archive for prayer

4 Critical Steps for A New Believer (Baptism, Bible Study, Prayer, Community)

Someone you know or a guest in the church has just become a new follower of Jesus Christ!!

Fantastic!!! That is wonderful…

Now what?

I doubt many people would give a person who had never driven before the keys to their new car. Someone who has just become a new believer needs some guidance as they begin their journey of faith in Jesus Christ. Here are four critical steps that you can share with a new Christian as they begin their walk with Christ.

Baptism
Yes, the first step is to be biblically baptized. Baptism is an outward sign of an inward reality; that this person has found new life through Jesus Christ and has made Jesus the Lord of their life. Your church may offer a baptism class, or maybe counseling to help this new Christian with his or her new faith. Encourage them to get baptized as soon as possible.

Bible Study
If the new believer does not have a Bible, help them get one! Encourage them to read the Bible daily. A daily soaking in Scripture is vital to spiritual growth. Which translation should they have? Here are two suggestions: 1) the translation that the pastor preaches from; 2) the translation that you or your Small Group uses at group meetings. The book of Ephesians is a great book for new believers because it is full of the doctrine of the church and it is only six chapters long. Afterward, help them get into a daily Bible reading plan.

Prayer
The best way to teach a new believer how to pray is to pray with them. Let them learn from you that prayer is a two-way conversation with God.

Community
A new believer needs a biblical community. Encourage them to become a member of a local church. But they will need more than membership. They need a smaller group where they will belong. A Sunday School class or a Small Group is an outstanding place for a new believer to develop new friends and mentors; to study God’s Word; and for ministry and prayer. A Small Group is really how the church is organized to be… well to be the church! Most likely, the smaller group is where a new believer is going to find people willing to walk alongside him or her, and disciple them into spiritual maturity.

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Bob Mayfield is the Sunday School/Discipleship specialist at the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma. Bob also has his own blog at bobmayfield.com.
Follow Bob on Twitter at @bobmayfield and on Facebook at facebook.com/thebobmayfield

Group Prayer for Lost Friends and Neighbors

For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” (Luke 19:10, ESV)

How can we as groups (Adult/Student/Kids classes or Bible Study groups) be more strategic in praying for our lost friends and neighbors?

  • Pray Intentionally – Have a specific time during the group prayer time to pray for the lost.
  • Pray Specifically – Pray for lost friends and neighbors by name
  • Pray scripture during your prayer time for the lost.
  • Pray for God to open your eyes to see the lost around you/opportunities for conversation.
  • Pray for other Christians to cross the paths of friends who can have conversations that point/lead them to Christ.

Incorporate Prayer actions as part of your group prayer time. This works great for all ages groups, but specifically for kids and students with shorter attention spans:

Prayer box or journal – Have each person in your class write down on a card or in a journal the names of lost friends. (Kids may even want to add a picture of their friend.) Record dates and prayer requests for the lost friend.  Remember to record how God is answering prayers.

Group Prayer Walk –For kids or students, you might want to prayer walk their school praying for their lost friends. Adult groups can prayer walk a subdivision of a class member.

Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us (Ephesians 3:20, ESV)

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Maria Brannen is a State Missionary at the Georgia Baptist Mission Board.

 

Leading Group Prayers for the Lost

Our enemy is Satan and lost people are under his control (2 Corinthians 4:3-4). Through prayer, we will weaken Satan’s influence on their hearts and open doors for our group members to share the good news (Colossians 4:2-4, 2 Timothy 2:25b-26). Here is a list of ways your group can engage praying for the lost as a group.

Prayer Methods:

  • Assign the role of “Prayer Coordinator” to a group member currently not serving in a leadership role. Provide training, like The Battle Plan for Prayer*.
  • Post the names of lost friends, family, and associates of group members in the room where you meet and refer to this list regularly. Have time within the group gathering to pray over this list.
  • Utilize a closed group on Social Media to encourage group members to share prayer requests and celebrations of group interactions with lost family, friends, and social associates.

Prayer Targets:

  • Pray for your group to be READY and SEEKING opportunities to share (1 Peter 3:15-16)
  • Pray for your group to have BOLDNESS when the opportunity comes (Ephesians 6:19)
  • Pray that the Holy Spirit SOFTENS hearts of the lost and prepare them to hear the truth
  • Pray for opportunities to CELEBRATE spiritual victories through their obedience
  • Pray for lost family, neighbors, and social associates of your group members
  • Pray for unreached people groups, as well as, missionaries serving in lands your group members will likely never visit
  • Pray for government leaders to experience salvation so that they can effectively guide others
  • Pray for those in the spotlight that they may lead the masses by their influence

* The Battle Plan for Prayer by Stephen and Alex Kendrick © 2015, B&H Publishing http://www.lifeway.com/Product/the-battle-plan-for-prayer-p005765904

Jason McNair is the Strengthening Churches Missionary for the Utah-Idaho Southern Baptist Convention. He also teaches an adult Sunday School group at First Baptist Church in West Valley City. You can reach him @jason_mcnair and at http://fb.com/jason.mcnair 

3 Ways to Lead Your Group to Pray for Each Member

prayerWHY IS THIS IMPORTANT? Paul wrote in Colossians 1:9: “For this reason also, since the day we heard this, we haven’t stopped praying for you.”  Every group needs a prayer strategy that encourages members to contact one another and to share special prayer concerns.

WHAT DO I DO? Here are three ways:

  1. Develop a Prayer Strategy. Three possible strategies:
    • A prayer chain. A member would contact the prayer coordinator.  The prayer coordinator would contact the first person in the chain and then the second person would contact the next person, and so on.
    • A prayer pyramid. A prayer pyramid is similar to a prayer chain. The prayer coordinator contacts the first two persons and they contact the two persons each, etc.
    • A prayer circle. The prayer coordinator enlists and maintains contact with prayer captains, who in turn enlist and maintain contact with other group members. Be sure that all group members are assigned to a prayer group.
  2. Use a Prayer Concerns Sheet. Pass it around at each group meeting. List specific concerns such as prayer for spiritual concerns, physical healing, family and friends, persons who are grieving.  Special needs and circumstances, unspoken prayer requests, other.  Email the list to each member following class.
  3. Text. Many groups use text messages to remind people to pray and to send updates on prayer requests.

A verse to remember: 1 John 5:14, “And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us.”

4 Responses When Pain Interrupts Your Group

cryingThe Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. (Psalm 34:18 NIV)

WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT? What do you do when pain interrupts your group? When no subject is off limits and a group shows genuine care and vulnerability (which you should), pain will come out in the middle of group time.

WHAT DO I DO? How do you handle it? Here are some thoughts:

  1. Listen to what is said and not said. This requires attentiveness. Some will tell what is going on in their lives. Take time to listen and show empathy. Empathize with persons in pain. We all experience pain in life. After listening, decide on next steps: Prayer for the person. Who else needs to know–with permission? Care in the moment and beyond. Perhaps a person is tearing up and not talking. Take time after class to talk or set up a time to talk.
  2. Use Care Group Leaders to help you care during the week. A teacher cannot do it all. I recommend care groups, much like a deacon family ministry plan.
  3. Have an active prayer chain/prayer ministry. Pain happens during the week as well. Ask Care Leaders to contact you, and have them contact people on their list to pray for those in pain.
  4. Empower people in pain to find the resources they need. Some people can develop a co-dependency to your care. Help them discover strength within themselves by referring them to professional counselors for long term recovery. Certain types of pain need therapy. Don’t try to handle them on your own. Ask your Pastor for referrals that would be helpful.

Pain happens to all of us. Be prepared to help the brokenhearted and those crushed in spirit.