As the world deals with controlling the outbreak of the Corona virus, the Church is adapting to continuing its ministry in creative ways. We and other parishes continue to stream our services for our congregation, we may be asking what we do the other six days each week to stay connected spiritually. Another thing COVID-19 doesn’t change, is the world’s need for Jesus.
Modern tools like Zoom and Facetime mean we have tremendous ability to connect with others while staying at home, but this doesn’t mean we’re experiencing true fellowship or being Jesus’ hands and feet to the world. So how do we ensure that we are connecting spiritually with other believers, the world and the mission God has given us? One great option is through prayer.
Prayer is Powerful, Prayer Connects, Prayer is Mission
In any given work, tools are helpful, but it’s when we actually work with those tools effectively that results happen. Prayer is the most powerful work that we can do in any spiritual endeavor. Through prayer, we can connect the power of God with any person, problem or potential. We can literally touch any people or situation in the world for effective change. We can also unite in spirit with others as we agree in prayer with each other.
If you lead your local parish, you can connect everyone in your congregation by sending out a list of prayer topics for your people to pray for including specific prayer requests and days to pray for each need. Anyone can send out a social media post letting people you want to pray for them and asking what they would like prayer for.
Structured Virtual Prayer Meetings
Part of Believers Eastern Church’s tradition is regular prayer meetings once or more per week. Prayer meetings provide the Church with the perfect way to stay connected with other believers, the world and the Great Commission. Even if we don’t leave our home or only connect with others digitally, we can obey and follow our Lord Jesus through prayer. This is especially effective if you’re sharing your home with family or friends. As the world has faced a time of imposed isolation, Believers Eastern Church has been connecting saints in their homes to each other for our times of prayer.
Consider praying one or more of the Hours of Prayer together at a set time. This takes only 10-15 minutes with little or no preparation. Open with the Gloria Patri and read the daily Psalm[link to Psalm reading] together. Then pray together for 1-3 current prayer needs and close with the Lord’s Prayer. This is historically done around 9:00 am, noon and 3:00 pm.
You can also have a longer, structured time of prayer. Why a structured time rather than just praying? 15-20 minutes of preparation can ensure that you are both praying and connecting effectively. It also makes 1-2 hours together a rich time with the Lord and effective for impacting eternity. Regardless of the structure, you can connect via video or audio conferencing.
Planning Prayer Meeting
Based on decades of prayer meetings, we’d like to suggest the following structure:
- Worship: 2-4 worship songs. You can use a playlist, CD or lead on your own. It’s best to have songs that people know and can access the words for. (6-15 minutes)
- Devotion: You don’t want to make this a long sermon, but something to strengthen your faith in God and further direct your thoughts toward Him. You can listen to all or a portion of an online message, have people share what God has been speaking to them about, or (our recommendation) read a portion of Scripture, including Psalm reading and/or portions of New Testament books. (10-20 minutes)
- 3-6 Prayer Segments: Choose a variety of topics that cover your local parish, current events, outreach or needs of the local community and mission topics. It’s always nice to end by taking time to pray for one another. Try to keep the time of sharing to 3-5 minutes and prayer 5-7 minutes. Or, if the Spirit leads, keep praying until you run out of prayers. Missionsbox.org is a great resource for mission prayer topics. (30-60 minutes)
- Closing: Have the senior-most man close in prayer and lead in the Lord’s Prayer. Consider singing the doxology if you know it.
Using Video Conferencing Tools
It may be nice to join two or three households in prayer meeting together this way. You can take turns planning and leading or distribute responsibilities among people from different homes. But remember, it’s best to keep things simple. Stressing people out or giving them an unpleasant experience will defeat the purpose of gathering together electronically.
However, the Lord leads you, we want to encourage you to pray with others and for others at this time. The world, and those in the world, need your prayers more than ever, and Jesus never stops ministering to the needs of people, regardless of how chaotic the world may seem.