Archives For Phil Miglioratti

Phil_MigliorattiCOMMENTARY | Phil Miglioratti

We’ve entered the dog-days of summer, this often oppressive and sweltering time of year that coincides with traditional summer slumps in church attendance as families scatter for summer vacations and other summertime activities.

But our need for prayer is never greater. Here are five suggestions to make your dog days of summer sparkle with spiritual freshness:

1. Family table time. Ask each church family to use at least one family meal each week to pray for their neighbors, whether those who live nearby, people they work with or fellow students. Keep a log of the names and needs of those the Lord leads toward in prayer. During a Sunday morning service in August, ask families to come prepared to share their prayers and God’s responses.

2. Schedule a church picnic. Before the festivities begin, ask every family to form a circle and to pray (facing inward) for the church, its spiritual health, its ministry vision and its evangelistic effectiveness. Reverse positions to face outward and pray for the community, its needs, its leaders and the church’s influence on it.

3. Weeknight prayer meeting. Take the midweek prayer service outside. Those who cannot handle the walk or the heat may stay inside and pray using this as a template. Ask everyone to pray with their eyes open, looking at and praying for:

  • God’s good creation
  • The church facilities
  • Residential areas, schools, recreational, medical or business districts to the north, to the east, to the south and to the west

4. Secret saint. Ask everyone in the congregation to become a secret intercessor. Prepare cards with the names of your church family for distribution on a Sunday morning – perhaps a reverse offering where everyone picks a name as a basket is passed. Ask the church family, including youth and older children, to pray each day for a week for the person whose name they drew. The following Sunday simply ask for testimonies of what it was like to pray once a day for their person or if anyone sensed a special blessing from the Lord because someone was praying for them.

5. Pastoral prayer. Recruit volunteers to pray aloud for the pastor each Sunday during the summer. Encourage them to pray from their deepest passion.

So, rather than succumb to the slow-down, casual atmosphere of summer, put those dog-days to good use. Prayer – encourage every member and family to invite the Holy Spirit to alert them every day to special summertime opportunities to pray for people they may only see in July or August. Care – show the love of Christ to them through practical and appreciated acts of service or mercy. Share – invite them to investigate the often misunderstood message of the Gospel. Let’s love our communities to Christ!

Phil Miglioratti is IBSA’s Prayer Ministries consultant. This column is from Baptist Press. Read more from Phil in the current issue of Resource online here.

pull quote_MIGLIORATTICOMMENTARY | Phil Miglioratti

About halfway through my 19 years pastoring a small congregation, we had a fresh-wind experience of the Holy Spirit that changed everything.

We had spent years trying to replicate the success I had seen at a previous church. Attendance skyrocketed as people responded to what were then cutting-edge methods we borrowed from the innovative megachurches. But when nothing worked to the degree we hoped, our small church got on its knees.

We soon learned that, until our church developed leaders who championed prayer for each ministry’s strategies and activities, our results will be more about what we can do for God than what God can do through us.

As we had done repeatedly over the years, we changed many things. But only God could guide us into lasting change that would ultimately help the hurting, save the lost, and draw us all into deeper relationship with Himself and each other.

Our worship of God was the first to change, but soon our expectations of the leadership team changed too. Every person who took on a role of serving must exhibit a “first-of-all-pray” default mode when leading our ministries and activities (1 Timothy 2:1).

Until that time, our directors and workers had always prayed, but it changed from “Lord, bless what we have planned in the past hour,” to “Lord, bless us in this next hour that we may hear your voice and discern your direction for us.”

Our leaders soon had the expectation that God would guide our change, not the other way ‘round. Through prayer, we repented from thinking we had authority; we yielded to the work of the Holy Spirit, seeking the mind of Christ, then allowing Him to actually preside.

Letting the Lord lead required several shifts in our approach:

  • Everyone needs to participate. Leaders must to find ways to invite and involve the entire group into the praying, even those who say their spiritual gift seems miles away from intercession.
  • Praying means listening to the voice of the Spirit. Telling God what we desire is not adequate.
  • Leaders become active listeners to what others are praying, because it may be in one of those prayers that the Lord is speaking.

We found that the Word of God became dear to us as we often prayed through Scripture. Participants read verses as they felt led, and we received encouragement or discerned direction. God often spoke, and we weren’t pursuing our change, but His.

The changes in our ministry did not result in meteoric growth, but through prayer we did receive clear and compelling assignments, and a strong sense we were fulfilling our mission in Christ.

Phil Miglioratti heads the National Pastors’ Prayer Network and serves as IBSA’s prayer ministries consultant. This column first appeared in the Summer 2013 issue of Resource. Read it online at http://resource.ibsa.org.