PAGE IS DESIGNED to provide articles from coordinators of prayer
ministries and other committed intercessors that will inspire
and enrich the prayer lives of the readers. Some will
focus on our individual prayer lives in the prayer closet.
Others will emphasize models of corporate prayer. Each will
have it's own particular prayer focus.
goal of this page is to provide a variety of insights into
prayer from a diversity of contributors. To read an
article, click on the title in the directory. If you'd
like to contribute an article, please send your proposal to
Mark Copeland, PrayerLinks Ministries Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
ON A TITLE in the directory to go to the article.
with a Tampered Ephod:
the Different Tribes of Prayer"
by Fawn Parish
Parish serves on the executive board of the International
Reconciliation Coalition comprised of ministries that promote
reconciliation among gender, race, sectarian divisions, and
societies. She also serves in leadership with Lydia Prayer
Fellowship International, a group of praying women from 80
countries. Fawn co-leads Pray Ventura, and she is the
founder and director of Concerts of Prayer in Ventura
County. She is the author of Honor (What love
looks like), It's all about you, Jesus (A fresh call to
an undistracted life), and a contributing writer to the Women of
Destiny Bible. She directs a ministry called "Gracebridge"
which was established to equip emerging Christian leaders.
(See www.gracebridge.org.) Fawn is a wife, mother, and a
passionate lover of Jesus.
MIGHT HAVE TURNED into a serious reconciliation moment, except
for the obvious fact that God decided to throw a party.
The whole crowd threw away their bulletins to join Him.
People embraced each other like long lost relatives at a family
reunion. All that was missing was the Macarana.
People were thrilled to be together. God was definitely
making His people joyful in His house of Prayer.
particular Concert of Prayer featured Japanese, Korean, Samoans
and Chinese congregations each singing a verse of Amazing Grace
in their language. After each group sang, we broke into
small prayer circles and we prayed for each country. The
church was packed and many pastors from different denominations
night was going quite nicely, and then I heard her. She
was a tall Asian lady in a prayer circle hundreds of people in
front of me, and she started praying. She was incapable of
praying demurely. Louder and louder the prayer rose,
louder and higher than all other prayers in the room. And
she was praying in tongues. I nearly broke out in
hives. I stole a harried peek at the Southern Baptist
pastors in the room. Were they scandalized, would they
leave, their congregations trailing out behind them in offense?
thought of going up and tapping the lady gently on the shoulder,
mentioning because we had so many different prayer traditions
present, we wanted everyone to be free to pray as they liked,
but to please pray quietly. On the other hand, I
didn't want anyone to leave feeling unwelcome. So I did
what most people do when confused -- I did nothing. After
what seemed like an eon or two, she mercifully stopped praying.
that evening I probed the non-charismatic pastors.
"We just thought she was praying in her native
language!" Maybe Concerts of Prayer would
survive. After all it is easier to make cultural
allowances than theological ones. But then again, God has
been busy schooling us to walk together in prayer the past few
decades. Thirty years ago we used to say "How many
Presbyterians are there here tonight? How many
Methodists? How many Catholics?" Now, it's not
even an issue. God has done a beginning work of acceptance in
our hearts, but He's calling us into something deeper.
it comes to prayer, I don't think acceptance, and an occasional
date is what God ever had in mind. I think He's thinking
marriage. I don't mean a marriage of convenience.
No, no, no. I mean a marriage like all good marriages that
learn the difficult art of laying down their lives for one
another. A marriage where each prefers the other over
themselves. A marriage where separate identities and
personalities learn to value and yes, even cherish their
differences. Because God's kingdom is not about tolerance,
it's about embrace. God wants us to not just be patient
with each other, but to see the beauty of each other, and our
need of each other.
the high priest entered the presence of the Lord he entered with
all the tribes on his chest. There were 12 tribes and each
of the twelve tribes names were engraved on separate stones and
placed on the breastplate of judgment. Exodus 28:29 tells
us "And Aaron will bear the names of the children of Israel
in the breastplate of judgment upon his heart, when he goes into
the holy place, for a memorial before the LORD
continually." But we often enter the presence of the
Lord with a tampered ephod. We don't have all the tribes
engraved on our heart, because we don't like some of them.
We don't value and cherish those tribes that are different from
us. We tend to only want to carry and associate with those
we like. So we gouge out the stones we don't enjoy.
metaphors with me for a minute. Imagine an orchestra where
the Zither thinks the Tuba is too deep, and the cymbals think
the violins are too soft. ("That
Contemplative/Reflective tribe is just too quiet").
Can you hear the cello's whine about the drums being too
loud? ("That Spiritual Warfare tribe is just too
noisy.") And of course the viola's think the trumpets
are too emphatic. ("Don't you wish that
Scripture/Prophetic Proclamation tribe would wear a little
humility?") And who can help but notice that the
Bassoons don't like the Timpani? ("That Liturgical
tribe is so repetitive.")
prejudice keeps us from our full inheritance. We can't
fully possess the land God wants to give us without all the
other tribes. Switch metaphors with me again, imagine the
Navy saying to the Air Force, "You know we're excellent at
what we do, and we really don't need you to win this war.
We've got the best pilots you know, so you can all go
home." Or picture the Marines saying to the
Army. "We're made up of a few good men, we don't
really need you Army guys to win this war. We've got
better intelligence than you."
it comes to prayer it all boils down to not so much doctrinal
difference, as style and personality preference. And it
condenses down even further to shades of comfort with volume and
intensity. Whatever tribe disturbs you, you need to go
into the presence of God with them and learn to love them,
because you need them, and you'll never know God very well
is the Treasure
see Jesus is the treasure, the Word of God is the treasure map,
and each of us are clues. If you're going into the
presence of God with just your tribe, you're missing a lot of
clues. Every prayer tribe has elements of God's
personality wired into it's DNA. We miss vital clues when
we refuse to go into the presence of God together. Your
picture of God is incomplete without all the tribes. God
made us to need each other. He made us for relationship,
both with Himself and each other. The only thing Jesus
said that would prove that the Father had sent him was that we'd
love each other. If we're serious about the world knowing
Jesus, unity must be a top priority, especially unity in
prayer. And you can't have unity with just one.
The very word unity means there are at least two
God seeking some bland, homogenous prayer style? No, He is
looking for a unity of heart that loves and treasures the
uniqueness of each other. When I am with Hawaiians,
Peruvians, Native American's, Israeli's and African American's,
all worshipping with their own regalia and culture, it's the
uniqueness of each tribe that is stunning . . . not the
conformity. My heart has been stretched and my vision of
heaven enhanced by worshipping with other cultures. Think
of the heart expanding possibilities there are with different
tribes in prayer!
from Trader Joe's
is a chain of stores in California called Trader Joe's.
It's loyal customers look at shopping as an adventure. You
don't go to Trader Joe's to get same-o, lame-o food.
Trader Joe's is where you go for taste treks. The founder
of Trader Joe's realized that as air travel increased, people's
exposure to other cultures would increase, and their taste buds
would be hankering for more variety in taste. So Trader
Joe's specializes in unique combinations and flavors.
Things like ginger granola, and orange bread, and dark chocolate
dipped cashews. (Makes me hungry just thinking about
it.) Trader Joe's, believe it or not, has something to
teach us about prayer.
your prayer life expanding because you've tasted the goodness of
God in other tribes and your taste buds are ruined for the
ordinary? Or are you stuck in a rut, mouthing the same
prayer regimen day after day? Increase your
exposure. Find the heart enlarging, mind-expanding
adventure of prayer experienced by other tribes. Learn to
trek. Combine flavors and learn not to just appreciate
distinctives, but to love them.
Tuesday morning I pray with a stellar group of friends. We
meditate quietly on Scripture and then pray what God underscores
to us through the Word. One of my friends, Fern, is a
contemplative Catholic, and a Canadian Cree Native
American. Praying with Fern for the past nine years has
enlarged my heart. She has taught me new ways of
listening. Because I love her, I appreciate the heritage
of the Catholic church in fresh new ways. Because she
loves silence and stillness, I've learned to calm my racing
heart. She has taught me the beauty of quiet and the
hallowedness of the ordinary.
at a Lydia National Prayer Conference in Seattle, God
underscored my need of other tribes. I found myself
falling into my Native American sister's arms saying "Oh, I
need you! Who you are and who you say He is expands the
borders of my being." Now, that's a lot different
than saying to our First Nations sisters: "That was a
nice presentation. Thank you for coming." If we
are left to ourselves, our own tribe, our heart shrinks to the
size of postage stamps. But if we are open to love, open
to difference, open to "otherness," we allow the Holy
Spirit to enlarge us.
Peterson talks about the fertile possibilities of love and
contrasts it with self-love:
is barren, infertile. Love is fertile. Self-love
is attached to the familiar, the cozy: possessions,
customs. Love is detached from the cloying clutter and
therefore open to fertilization by the new, open to the
ecstasy of intercourse and the act of creation.
Attachment is closed up-and walled in. Detachment opens
out and grows up."
Gift -- Reflections on Christian Ministry (London:
Marshall Pickering, 1995)
Clues Each Tribe Gives Us
very partial list)
Contemplative and Liturgical prayer tribes give us clues to
Jesus and history. They teach us the art of holy reminisce.
Because of them we realize we stand in a long line of Jesus
lovers through the centuries. Because prayer is a timeless
activity, we can join our hearts to much of what has already
been prayed through the centuries. When I pray with Nicholas of
Cusa who prayed over 400 years ago -- "And what Lord is my
life, save that embrace wherein thy delightsome presence doth so
lovingly enfold me." -- I am joining my prayer life to the
saints through eons, who burned with sacred fire in their
devotion to God. I echo that great crowd of witnesses whose
passion for God and whose prayers thundered across the
centuries. I stand with them.
Contemplative prayer movement teaches us to "Be still and
know that I am God." For those of us addicted to activity,
this is a priceless awareness. If I ignore this tribe, do not
seek them out, do not nurture a prayer life together with them,
I trap myself in my worker droid mentality, excelling as a human
doing, rather than a human being. The Contemplative tribe
clarifies for me the beauty of being.
Spiritual Warfare and the Scripture Declarative prayer tribes
teach us that Scripture is quick and powerful and sharper than
any two-edged sword. They teach us that God is a man of war.
Through their eyes we see God as our Dread Champion who wraps
Himself with zeal as a garment and girds His sword on His thigh.
His arrows are sharp in the heart of His enemies. These tribes
remind us that God is a God of action, a God of power and might
and dominion. When I pray with my friends from this tribe, I am
reminded that life is war, and that Jesus is the conqueror.
These tribes remind me to strike my arrows on the ground many
times and to contend for all that God has promised.
this tribe, I might end up a perpetual settler on the plains of
satisfaction. The Spiritual Warfare and the Scripture
Declarative tribes remind me that there is a wild wilderness to
be tamed and occupied, tamed and claimed for the Kingdom of God.
These two tribes emphasize that Jesus Christ is the same
yesterday today and forever, and that what He did once, He will
do again. I need their intensity because when left to myself, I
tend toward pacifism. I came out of the womb with a peace pipe,
not a sword. And the sword of the Lord is a very potent weapon
we must know how to wield. The weapons of our warfare are
mighty, and those of us who are ambassadors and diplomats need
to remember that some things cannot be negotiated. They must be
Evangelical prayer tribe teaches me the priceless gift of the
Word of God. Through them I learn the purity and solidity of
faith's foundation. God's Word is forever settled in heaven.
Through Scripture alone, faith alone, and Christ alone, I can
rest in the certainty of God's reign. His purposes will not be
thwarted. This tribe increases my hope. This tribe reminds me of
the simplicity of devotion to Jesus. When I am tempted to be
attracted to graduate levels of spirituality, the Evangelical
prayer tribe brings me back to the reality of childlike trust,
and the amazingly rich offer of salvation. This tribe keeps me
honest. They are the "just the facts, maa'm" branch of
prayer. This tribe nurtures my heart with assurance.
I feel safe
in their praying.
painted with broad brush just five of many obvious tribes, but you
get the picture. Each tribe shows us aspects of God's
personality and character, that we might miss if we ignored
them. Each tribe has a particular view of God that enlarges, and
expands our view. Because we love Jesus and want to know as much
as we can, we need each other. Praying together helps us
understand things about Jesus we can't know any other way.
with so much to learn from each other, what keeps apart?
five letter word . . . pride. Spiritual pride is insidious.
Silvoso says pride is like bad breath, you're the last person to
know you have it. Each tribe has it's own inherent arrogancies.
The Contemplative and Liturgical Prayer tribes have history.
Spiritual Warfare and Scripture Declarative Prayer tribes have
power. The Evangelical Prayer Tribe has the Word. Sadly, many of
us use what we have against each other, to prove we are
a Pastor's Prayer Summit years ago, one tribe decided that the
other facilitators were just not quite passionate enough. They
were just too quiet. So they had another Prayer Summit in an
adjacent chapel during the free time. God obviously has nothing
against praying, but think of the relational possibilities that
were missed, because one tribe thought the main sessions were
we cannot learn to love one another, to be patient with our
differences in prayer, we have nothing to say to the world.
we are more interested in our prayer freedom, than in another
brother's sincere approach to God, our gospel is in vain. I've
been in meetings where some criticized that there was too much
passion in prayer. And I've been in meetings where the complaint
was that there was not enough. Have we become prayer
wounds the heart of God. It's easy to criticize what you haven't
given your life for. I once heard a man on the radio denouncing
one tribe after another and I thought to myself . . . "He is
cutting up the Body of Christ into little pieces and selling
it." Is Christ's body something precious to us?
make their living telling other people how wrong other tribes
are. They don't just gouge out the stones they don't like off
their breastplate. They sell those gouged out stones to each
other. It is an abomination to God to traffic in tribe bashing.
Humility of Heart
has called us to a gentle humility of heart that esteems and
honors each other. The Bible commands us in 1 Peter 2:17 to
"Honor all." Can the hand say to the eye, "I have
no need of you?" Can our heart say to our brains,
"You're entirely too rational. Where's your
compassion?" We are many members but one body. Can you
picture a pile of livers all trying to function together and
form a body? How about a heap of brains? Of course it's
ludicrous to only want to effectively pray in clumps of
likeness. "I couldn't possibly pray with you, I pray most
perfectly with other spleens."
course I am not saying you can never pray or feel comfortable
with your own tribe. Sometimes it's a huge relief to pray with
people you know completely understand your style and
perspective. God understands our need for similarities.
am saying is that if all you ever pray with is people from your
tribe, you're missing out on the wild, unfathomable, untamable
richness of God.
How Do We Pray Together?
challenge your soul to live in humility. We need to ask the Lord
to show us the repulsiveness of thinking we're "cutting
edge", or "more orthodox", or "more
devout", "more balanced", more anything. All of
our prayers are just smoke in a bowl. Prayer is not some magical
incantation reserved for the mystical elite. Prayer is not about
us, our style, our understanding, our discernment. It's about
Jesus, His fame, His purposes, His desires. If you're in the
frame, you've got the wrong picture. Continually ask for
humility of heart.
out opportunities to pray with those who are different from you.
Intentionally develop friendships with others and pray in
contexts that are unfamiliar. Find a Benedictine monastery, a
Spiritual Warfare Tribe, a Concert of Prayer, a Solemn Assembly,
or a Lydia prayer group in your area. Give yourself time.
bail out when
you get uncomfortable. These other tribes are actually bone of
your bone. You're
not complete without them. Learn to savor their perspective of
for Jesus. When you are irritated (and you will be), remember
they are not praying to you. It's not about you at all.
clues that point to Jesus. Don't be a fussy editor with other
people's prayer life. Set your heart on Him, not on how they are
coming to Him.
your focus. If I am praying with someone from a vastly different
tribe, I look and listen to their heart, more than their words.
If you look for their love for Jesus, you can pray
wholeheartedly with any Christian.
was a simple chorus we used to sing in the sixties that deserves
a come back. It was about being one in the Spirit. And it
concluded by saying "They'll know we are Christian's by our
love, by our love, yes, they'll know we are Christians by our
love." May our love be the most obvious and remarkable
thing about us, especially when we pray.
Heart That Prays"
Mark Copeland is the author of After This Manner, Pray
(Bridge-Logos Publishing). He designed and directs this
website as an on-line forum for linking intercessors with prayer
needs. A graduate of Fuller Theological Seminary, Mark
pioneered The Sheepfold of Suffolk, Virginia as an Independent
Charismatic Church which he pastored from 1990 till 1992.
He is available to churches and ministries for prayer seminars,
ministry weekends, and retreats. To learn more about his
"Revitalizing Your Prayer Life" seminar, chick
Scripture references are taken from the New International
Version of the Bible unless otherwise noted.)
COUPLE OF YEARS AGO, I was winding down a brisk outdoor walk
when I heard the Lord speak these words to me: "When are
you going to give me your heart?" I knew at once what He
meant. My time in the Word, in prayer, and in preparing to teach
my weekly Bible study group was largely a mental exercise.
was after my heart.
I think it is easy to give God everything except the one thing
He wants. He is on a quest for our hearts. When His people
became separated from Him through idolatry and self-indulgence,
He said to them through Jeremiah, "You will seek me and
find me when you seek me with all your heart." (See
Jeremiah 29:13.) He is saying the same to us. It is only when we
give Him our hearts that we truly give Him our all.
gave His heart to us when He gave us His Son, and His Son came
looking for our hearts. But what did He find:
found hard hearts in his own disciples. (See
found rigid hearts in the Scribes and Pharisees.
(See Luke 11:42.)
found burdened hearts in the crowds who came to
hear Him. (See Matthew 9:36.)
bottom line is, He found people so bound up in unbelief,
legalism, and insecurity that they did not know how to give
their hearts to God. So, He showed them the way. In doing so, He
also showed us the way to give our hearts to God. The act of
love by which He gave His body to be ravished is the provision
of grace by which our hearts are circumcised. Thus Christís
death for us gives meaning to the Old Testament promise,
"The Lord your God will circumcise your hearts . . . so
that you may love him with all your heart and with all your
soul, and live." (See Deuteronomy 30:6.)
make this practical. Reclaiming our hearts is a work of Godís
grace, but we have a part to play. We must come to Him and let
Him work on our hearts. This, I believe, happens largely in the
secret chamber of prayer.
is in prayer that God intervenes in our lives and reclaims our
hearts. My most memorable experience of such happened when I was
in the fifth grade. I was at school lying on a bed in the clinic
with severe abdominal cramping and chilling, doubled over with
pain. Believing I was in the midst of an acute appendicitis
attack, I was frantic with fear. A fellow student had helped me
get to the clinic and had left. The nurse was gone, I was alone,
and I feared for the worst. "God, please touch me!
got to do something! Please help me!" I prayed.
the midst of my frantic praying, the Lord said to me, "If
you believe Iím here to help you, why are you so
troubled?" Immediately, all the fear left my mind.
"Thatís right, Lord. If I believed you were hearing my
prayer, I wouldnít be acting like this. Okay, God.
ĎWhatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have
received it, and it will be yours.í (See Mark 11:24.) Now, I
desire that you touch my stomach and heal me. Iím asking you
to heal me. I believe I receive it, and I know I have it."
soon as I prayed these words, I suddenly saw in my mindís eye
a cloudy sky and noticed that the clouds dissipated at once to
reveal a perfectly clear sky. I had the sensation that my vision
had been clouded over but that I could now see all the way
through to a clear sky. At that moment, two things happened
quicker than it takes to tell about it. First, I felt as though
God gave me an injection of faith. All doubt vanished, and I
positively knew that I was healed. Second, upon receiving that
assurance of faith, my body flattened out on the bed as though
someone had lifted a barbell from across my waist. All symptoms
vanished. I stood to my feet pressing against my stomach to see
if I could find the slightest sign of pain. There was none.
enough, I was not at that moment so much overwhelmed with the
sense of Godís power as with the sense of His love. I
experienced that mix of being supremely thankful and yet feeling
so unworthy that God would come to help me. The greatest healing
that day was the healing of my heart through the touch of His
love. It happened in the crucible of prayer.
we come to God in prayer, we should make our prayer not so much
a mental exercise as an exercise of the heart. Jesusí warning
against "vain repetitions" in prayer (see Matthew
9:36; King James Version) was really an exhortation not to pray
so much by heart as with the heart.
Remember, the Enemyís tactic is to blind the mind (see
2 Corinthians 4:4); Godís approach is to enlighten the heart.
(See Ephesians 1:18.)
your heart hard? rigid? burdened? cold? distant? Ask the Lord to
reclaim your heart and warm it with His love. Youíll find your
relationship with Him grows stronger and your prayers for others
more effective as you come to experience a heart that prays.
School Prayer Returns"
Scott, the father of Rachel Scott, a victim of the Columbine
High School shootings in Littleton, Colorado, was invited to
address the House Judiciary Committee's subcommittee. What
he said to our national leaders during this special session of
Congress was painfully truthful. They were not prepared
for what he was to say, nor was it received well. It needs
to be heard by every parent, every teacher, every politician,
every sociologist, every psychologist, and every so-called
expert! These courageous words spoken by Darrell Scott are
powerful, penetrating, and deeply personal. There is no
doubt that God sent this man as a voice crying in the
wilderness. The following is a portion of the transcript.
the dawn of creation there has been both good and evil in the
hearts of men and women. We all contain the seeds of
kindness or the seeds of violence. The death of my wonderful
daughter, Rachel Joy Scott, and the deaths of that heroic teacher,
and the other eleven children who died must not be in vain.
Their blood cries out for answers.
first recorded act of violence was when Cain slew his brother Abel
out in the field. The villain was not the club he
used. Neither was it the NCA, the National Club
Association. The true killer was Cain, and the reason for
the murder could only be found in Cain's heart.
days that followed the Columbine tragedy, I was amazed at how
quickly fingers began to be pointed at groups such as the
NRA. I am not a member of the NRA. I am not a
hunter. I do not even own a gun. I am not here to
represent or defend the NRA - because I don't believe that they
are responsible for my daughter's death. Therefore I do not
believe that they need to be defended. If I believed they
had anything to do with Rachel's murder I would be their strongest
here today to declare that Columbine was not just a tragedy -- it
was a spiritual event that should be forcing us to look at where
the real blame lies! Much of the blame lies here in this
room. Much of the blame lies behind the pointing fingers of
the accusers themselves.
wrote a poem just four nights ago that expresses my feelings
best. This was written way before I knew I would be speaking
laws ignore our deepest needs,
words are empty air.
stripped away our heritage,
outlawed simple prayer.
gunshots fill our classrooms,
precious children die.
seek for answers everywhere,
ask the question "Why?"
regulate restrictive laws,
yet you fail to understand,
God is what we need!
and women are three-part beings. We all consist of body,
soul, and spirit. When we refuse to acknowledge a third part
of our make-up, we create a void that allows evil, prejudice, and
hatred to rush in and reek havoc.
presences were present within our educational systems for most of
our nation's history. Many of our major colleges began as
theological seminaries. This is a historical fact.
has happened to us as a nation? We have refused to honor
God, and in so doing, we open the doors to hatred and
violence. And when something as terrible as Columbine's
tragedy occurs -- politicians immediately look for a scapegoat
such as the NRA. They immediately seek to pass more
restrictive laws that contribute to erode away our personal and
private liberties. We do not need more restrictive
and Dylan would not have been stopped by metal detectors. No
amount of gun laws can stop someone who spends months planning
this type of massacre. The real villain lies within our own
posturing and restrictive legislation are not the answers.
The young people of our nation hold the key. There is a
spiritual awakening taking place that will not be squelched!
We do not need more religion. We do not need more gaudy
television evangelists spewing out verbal religious garbage.
We do not need more million dollar church buildings built while
people with basic needs are being ignored. We do need a
change of heart and a humble acknowledgment that this nation was
founded on the principle of simple trust in God!
son Craig lay under that table in the school library and saw his
two friends murdered before his very eyes, he did not hesitate to
pray in school. I defy any law or politician to deny him
challenge every young person in America, and around the world, to
realize that on April 20, 1999, at Columbine High School prayer
was brought back to our schools. Do not let the many prayers
offered by those students be in vain. Dare to move into the
new millennium with a sacred disregard for legislation that
violates your God-given right to communicate with Him. To
those of you who would point your finger at the NRA, I give to you
a sincere challenge: Dare to examine your own heart before
casting the first stone!
daughter's death will not be in vain! The young people of
this country will not allow that to happen!