The Global Challenge: Prayer PathWays
Praying in complete solitude and silence in an empty room? Praying for the nations while doing research online? Praying while reciting a verse in a chant and keeping a shell in my pocket all day? Praying with incense and rubberbands? Praying during a walk in the woods? Five days to practice prayer in a new way. The whole church? Yes! Because when we experience something together, we remember it, and it changes us. The whole family and the whole church gets involved. Let’s shake things up and take The Global Challenge: Prayer PathWays
WHY DO THIS GLOBAL CHALLENGE?
The Global Challenge: Prayer PathWays will lead us to pray interactively for the nations using radically different approaches to prayer. Based on the book Sacred PathWays: Discover Your Souls Way to God, we’ll try creative ways to pray as a Contemplative, an Intellectual, a Traditionalist, a Sensate, and a Naturalist. Excessive prayer is part of every church planting movement documented in the world today. We need to get more comfortable with prayer and find ways that we can really connect with God, some of it based on our personality and preference. The Challenge will help us experiment with ways to really pray for the nations.
HERE’S HOW IT CAN WORK FOR A WHOLE CHURCH TO DO THE CHALLENGE TOGETHER:
Plan the Global Challenge around a weekend sermon series on God’s heart for that nations.
Adapt and design your own Global Challenge: Prayer PathWays Guidebook using the information below. Remember to tie the Challenge to specific unreached people groups so that participants can connect what they’re experiencing to actual faces of people with no access to Jesus. Check out this example of a customized Global Challenge called Give it Up that one church created on their own combining elements from all three of these Challenges.
Kick off the series by creating an intentional way to join the adventure so you can continue to communicate with them throughout the week. Creating a group energy and a “buzz” will inspire people to actually do it. For example, you might dedicate the weekend services to actually trying some of these creative ways to pray right during the service to give people a taste.
At the following weekend services, create a way to share how people felt and celebrate the experience.
OPTIONAL IDEAS FOR CHURCHES:
You could include a copy of Across the Street and Around the World to read during the Global Challenge, or offer it as a gift for those who complete the challenge. People will get inspired by this experience and they’ll want to know what to do next. This book will help them! (Call ChurchSource at 1-800-727-3480 for deep discounts on bulk orders if you are a church).
Encourage any mid-week gatherings like small groups, youth groups, and Bible studies to include a time of prayer using the current day’s prayer challenge during their group time together.
Create an online space like a Facebook page or a blog for participants to interact and share experiences throughout the week. For example, here’s a journal blog I posted while living for a day without lights.
In the Global Challenge guide you create, use Joshua Project to highlight unreached people groups and link to some of the videos recommended for each Across the Street and Around the World book chapter.
Plan a Friday night celebration night of worship and interactive prayer for the nations using many of the prayer pathways everyone just experienced during the week.
Do the Global Challenge the same week you're sending a short-term team on a vision trip. You could even video chat live in the service with the team overseas the second weekend, tying the theme into the all-church experience.
Plan a prayer walk through an apartment complex housing newly arriving refugees in your city or a nearby university.
Offer the chance to sign up for upcoming short-term trips, goer missional small groups using Across the Street and Around the World, a Perspectives course, or welcoming a refugee in your city, at the end of the Global Challenge.
HOW TO DO THE GLOBAL CHALLENGE: prayer PathWays
Talk to the people you live with about why you are doing this and when you’ll take time out to pray each day.
Plan out a specific time in your schedule ahead of time to do the Global Challenge as best you can each day. Don’t be legalistic, just do your best.
Every day, talk about your experience with your family, call a friend who’s doing it too, pray with others, or journal about it.
Day one: Praying as a Contemplative.
People who prefer the way of the contemplative in prayer enjoy loving God by being in his presence and gazing into his face, with no other purpose but to love God. We’ll start our week of prayer this way, so that we can come into the presence of God and simply enjoy him.
Go somewhere alone, where you cannot be interrupted for a period of time. Turn off cell phones, close the laptop, shut the door.
Sit in silence for ten minutes straight. Just sit and be. Listen to the quiet and let your soul be still. You may want to put a timer on your phone because you probably haven’t been completely still for ten minutes for a long time.
Imagine somewhere beautiful and safe that Jesus would take you to spend time with him if you could actually see him in person.
Just spend some time inviting him to speak to you in the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit. For example, if there’s anything you need to give to him to surrender, or to take care of, such as a worry or a person, imagine doing it in your mind. Ask him how he’ll deal with it and to give you peace in return. Ask him “How do you see me? What’s your name for me? What do you think of me?”
Day two: praying as an Intellectual
People who prefer an intellectual way of praying prefer to read, listen and learn with their minds, responding to God with new knowledge they acquire.
Watch this video clip called Reaching the Unreached. As you listen, let your mind be stirred with discontent over the state of the world and the reach of the good news of Jesus Christ.
Read the article on the state of the world by The Traveling Team, praying as you read and learn.
Day three: Praying as a Traditionalist
People who prefer a traditional way of praying prefer using ritual and symbols. Here’s how to pray throughout the day using the symbol of a seashell and the ritual of chanting a verse. Many unreached people groups in Indonesia, the largest Muslim country in the world, live on the coast by the sea.
Carry a sea shell in your pocket throughout the day. Place the seashell in the middle of your dinner table when you eat, on your desk at work, or on the hood of the car as you drive.
As you notice the seashell wherever you go today, remember the verse “For as the waters fill the sea, the earth will be filled with an awareness of the glory of the LORD” (Habbakuk 2:14). Pray for people in Indonesia to see God’s glory. Say the verse out loud ten times in a row, like a chant throughout the day.
Day four: praying as a Sensate
People who prefer a sensate way of praying prefer using their senses of touch, smell, sound, and sight to experience God. This may feel different for many of us, but give it a try. God created our senses and will be pleased to redeem them for his worship in prayer. I actually can’t find who wrote this about prayer, but I like it: “We’ve confined ourselves to one tiny corner of the room, rather than living in a vast museum of spiritual opportunity.” All you need is some incense sticks and a rubberband.
Incense stick (smell): In revelations is says the “Prayers of the saints are like incense filling golden bowls at the foot of the throne…” Dim the lights, light the incense stick and breathe the aroma in deeply. Muslims pray to God five times everyday. Pray that their prayers would fill the golden bowls. Pray that God would answer and show them the straight path to God for which they pray. Hindus light incense to pray to idols and Buddhists light incense to pray to ancestors. As you pray to the one true God, remember Hindus and Buddhists and ask God to re-direct their prayers to him alone.
Rubberband (touch): Stretch a rubber band and pray that the hearts of the people who don’t know Jesus would be pliable and stretched. Recall some of the photos of people you saw the day before when prayed as an intellectual and imagine their world views expanding to one that includes Jesus Christ.
Day five: praying as a Naturalist
People who prefer a naturalist way of praying feel close to God in nature. The see God’s beautiful creation as God’s cathedral and their soul expands to worship him in the outdoors.
Go outside in the morning: Get up early, sit under a tree in the grass or take a walk through a park or woods or even just down your neighborhood sidewalk. Breathe in the green, smell the flowers, notice a bird here and there, and praise God for his presence in nature that shows his attention and love. Pray for people all over the world that are victims of natural disasters as they experience the power of God through the ocean in tsnumai’s, the mountains in earthquakes and erupting volcanos, and the wind and rain in typhoons and hurricanes.
Go outside at night: Look up at the stars and praise God for answering his promise to Abraham “I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the heavens”. Pray for Tribals, Hindu’s, Unreligious, Muslim and Buddhist peoples, that through Abraham’s decendants that they would seek and find the way to peace with God.
Did you participate in this challenge? How did you feel? What did you learn about yourself, God, or people around the world? Let us know by commenting your thoughts!