by Cheryl Krichbaum
Pastor Jim Supp asked, “What if we were a praying church?”
What if we got updates from each other while drinking our coffee and then prayed for each other?
What if we had a line of people asking for prayer after every service—a line that wrapped around the auditorium?
Does it make you nervous to pray with a stranger? That’s understandable. There may be some things that you don’t want to share. That’s okay. You can still ask for prayer.
I can pray for your job search without knowing that you were fired from your last job. I can pray for your marriage without knowing that there has been infidelity. I can pray for your kids without knowing that they are experimenting with drugs. And, besides, I’m not going to discuss your situation with anyone but God.
But what if the prayer team weren’t strangers to you because you were so used to praying with them?
Let me introduce you to Mic Zilles, leader of the Prayer Team. You have probably seen Mic and his wife Linda near the door after services offering to pray with you. You’ll also find Mic praying before church service as well as actively involved in the Men’s Ministry, helping Matt Broderick with transitioning people out of homelessness, and many other special activities throughout the year.
Mic is always quick to smile, and he has a great testimony that perhaps he’ll share with you one day.
But this is a story about Mic’s passion for prayer. I asked him a few questions. Listen in.
Mic, how did you become leader of the Prayer Team?
About 2 years ago, Lon preached about praying for our country, which I am very passionate about, and I began going to the prayer meetings before each Sunday service. I have a passion for praying for our country. About a year before Lon preached about praying for our country I wrote a prayer that Prison Fellowship posted in the Prayer Room. It started with a simple idea of writing a prayer for our country. It was on my mind for days, and then, for some reason, I had woken up in the middle of the night 2 nights in a row and started writing. On the second night, I stayed up until it was completed. I brought it to work with me at Prison Fellowship for comments. Well, they liked it and printed and posted it in the Prayer Room.
When Lon had initially requested prayers for the country be said each Sunday before each service (and because I believed in it so much), I was in the Prayer Room with other church members. Then one day, Amelia (Sipress, former Associate Director of Ministry Teams) asked if I would consider leading the prayer team. I was uneasy with the idea at first, but leading the prayer team has helped me tremendously to vocalize my prayers and speak up.
Why are you so passionate about prayer?
Why am I so passionate? Because I came to Christ as an answer to my father-in-law’s prayers. He died in December 2010, and I know he prayed for years for me and Linda to come to accept Jesus. I came to Christ in 2011, and I truly believe it was a result of his prayers. It proves that God answers all prayers—but it’s always on His timetable.
Why aren’t there more people lined up asking for prayer after services?
- People are afraid to approach others to ask for prayer. Maybe they don’t fully believe in the power of prayer.
- They may be intimidated by praying out loud even though they aren’t necessarily the one praying out loud.
- They may be bashful about standing in front of others asking for prayer. Or it may be that they think there’s a special knowledge needed to pray, but it’s really as simple as having a conversation at a dinner table, but with reverence to our Lord.
How can people get started praying?
They can listen to how our Prayer Team prays. It’s a sincere conversation with God where they can either listen in, or be part of the conversation.
Some people think that prayer is very formulaic. Formulas like ACTS—Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication—can help you get started, but then it becomes your own self-style of communicating with God.
Will their prayers always be the same?
No, of course not. I’ve changed how I pray. After 4½ years of praying, I just recently read Billy Graham’s book The Holy Spirit, and he made the whole act of praying with confession, repentance, and submission all make sense to me. I could feel the improvement in my prayers that night. I was so excited about what I had learned that I was eager to get up the next morning to say my prayers!
I also enjoyed reading Prayzing! by Daniel Henderson this past year. It’s about prayer style and how to lead a large group of prayer warriors.
What would you like to see happen with our church’s prayer life?
I am such a strong believer in prayer. It saddens me to see people come to church but then not to have some special one-on-one moments with God when they pray. It’s wrong of me to think this, but if they’re not praying at church, then they’re probably not doing it at home.
My big desire for prayer is for families to pray together at a specific time each day or times both morning and night.
I wish that when they go through the day, they would just realize all the little blessings God is bestowing. People should feel that all of those “little things” that put a smile on our face are blessings. Those always deserve our thanks.
When they notice unpleasant things, they say that Satan was at work. Why not associate pleasing things with God’s work? We tend to be very shortsighted about things that are pleasing.
What is the most important part of prayer?
I think it’s the confessing, repentance, and submission of our sins. It’s almost too easy to only confess. People say they want to repent, but they seem to stop there because they don’t want to give control over to the Lord. If they would just learn that confession and submission are part of a continuous process, it wouldn’t seem so hard – and the best part is, it works!
Once I got the submission part, I had three prayers all answered in one day. Wow!
What other books on prayer do you recommend?
CS Lewis’ Mere Christianity is my number one recommendation. Of course Billy Graham’s book, The Holy Spirit, which I already mentioned. Also A Praying Life by Paul E. Miller and Meditating On The Word by Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Editor’s Note: Many of the McLean Bible Church staff have read Daniel Henderson’s Transforming Prayer this past year. Daniel has also led staff and leaders through prayer using the method he discusses in his book.
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