Power Praying: A Simple, Word-based prayer model for small
groups, family devotions, and personal prayer times.
The following Cellutations are posts that were made to the Cell-Net
interactive e-mail list which is comprised of Cell Church pastors and group
leaders from all over the world.
IN RESPONSE TO:
"I have noticed that these discussions have really become bible
studies, and sometimes the sharing of ignorance. We have talked it over
and decided that we need to change this and concentrate on building each
other up, rather than on remaining somewhat distant from each other per
the discussion time.>
"The question is, how do we make this transition. My fear is that
without the set format of a 'bible study' everyone will clam up and not
share. Does anyone else have experience in making this kind of transition.
If so what did you find worked, and what didn't work."
In 1993, my associate pastor and I stumbled onto what I believe is the
most powerful interactivity I have ever heard of or experienced in my 15
years of starting and leading cell groups.
We call it POWER PRAYING. It works like this:
1. EVERYONE IN THE GROUP OPENS THEIR BIBLE TO A PREDETERMINED PASSAGE
In our case I, as the senior pastor, chose the passage, not to be controlling,
but to keep our groups growing in the same direction; but the facilitator
could as easily pick a passage instead of (or in addition to) the one I
chose. For the sake of less confusion I would usually print out the passage
(sometimes as few as 4-5 verses and sometimes a whole chapter) from my
computer so that everyone would have the same translation.
2. THE FACILITATOR BEGINS READING THE PASSAGE IN ROUNDS, GOING TO THE
LEFT (I guess that's left over from my poker playing days) WITH EACH PERSON
(UNLESS THEY "PASS") READING ONE SCRIPTURE UNTIL ALL HAVE READ
AND THE SELECTED PASSAGE IS COMPLETED.
This draws everyone into the activity. Their reluctance to otherwise
get involved, usually due to shyness or a lack of confidence in the things
of God, tends to work to draw them in more through this, because they are
especially attentive so as not to mess up when it is their turn (shy people
hate to sound stupid when they do have to speak up in a crowd). For those
who are unable to read well, we allow folks to say, "pass" to
alleviate any potential embarrassment. Reading in rounds like this draws
both the experienced and the new Christian (as well as the unbeliever who
would normally sit silently) into the gathering regardless of personality
or spiritual stature.
3. AFTER THE SCRIPTURES ARE READ WE APPLY A VERSE OF SCRIPTURE FROM
THE PASSAGE TO A PRAYER CONCERN IN ROUNDS, BEGINNING WITH THE FACILITATOR
UNTIL EACH HAS PRAYED (USUALLY SEVERAL TIMES) OR UNTIL THE HOLY SPIRIT
SEEMS TO LIFT FROM THE PRAYER TIME.
Here it is important that when someone prays they pick a scripture from
the passage to apply to their praying and precede their prayer with words
something to the effect of, "Lord, according to verse three, I ask
that..." This allows everyone else to hear how a certain passage is
being applied. Everyone can not only agree in faith for the prayer (because
it is based directly upon the Word of God), but also nearly every time
someone prays this way everybody learns something unique about the person
praying and a new perspective on the verse. We encourage people to keep
their prayers brief so that all can pray. Also, though they pray in rounds,
using the scriptures they previously read in rounds, one can pray according
to any scripture verse within the passage (they are not bound to Power
Praying the verses in sequence) and many times several people will Power
Pray the same verse adding dimension to the understanding of the verses
without anyone (except the Holy Spirit) acting as the teacher.
If the group is too large, it is sometimes best to break down into smaller
groups so everyone can benefit from the intimacy of the others and the
frequency of their personal times "at bat."
THE BENEFITS OF POWER PRAYING IN CELL GROUPS:
1. Everybody gets involved, no matter what their personality type or
2. Everyone can utilize whatever level of understanding and spiritual
maturity they possess to the benefit of others (the activity doesn't reduce
people to the least common denominator). One of our goals as pastors is
to lead people into the blessing of God, and as we all know, receiving
begins with giving. Everybody gives and, therefore, everybody has the same
opportunity for receiving.
3. It's not activity for activity's sake. It is praying according to
God's WORD which is the most powerful activity believers can apply themselves
4. It's a great discipleship tool. As the younger (or new believers)
hear the more mature apply scripture to their needs or the needs of others
they can learn to apply the Word to their own lives. Not only this, but
the Holy Spirit has a way of using the Power Praying of the less mature
to shed light on things in a way the more mature have not yet seen. It
initiates interactive discipling like nothing I have ever witnessed.
5. It's simple. It's something people can take home with them and use
with their family members and friends to have stimulating prayer time.
6. It can be used to keep some unity among several groups or the entire
congregation. If the pastor or zone leader is the one to recommend at least
one of the passages for several groups for use in Power Prayer, it helps
the groups focus on themes of corporate importance without requiring (or
in some cases encouraging) people to get involved in teaching. It's great
for follow up to a sermon. It actually will get people to apply the Word
of the sermons to their lives (at least) in prayer.
7. It keeps the prayer time from being dominated by a few individuals.
8. It keeps the praying from getting too weird or unscriptural because
they are praying directly with the scriptures.
9. It allows the more mature to see where there might be a gross lack
of understanding about or error in certain theological areas. They can
address these areas outside the group in private with the individual.
10. It allows everyone to hear where the others are at in their lives.
People tend to make themselves more vulnerable in prayer than in general
conversation, because they are talking to One who can meet their need(s).
After a few weeks of properly Power Praying, people tend to feel more comfortable
vocalizing their "fiery trials and temptations," especially if
the leaders are making themselves vulnerable before God in this prayer
time. This can allow the facilitator to reach out to people in a more practical
way and track their growth or decline in that area of need.
11. God answers prayer. When He does, the whole group benefits from
the victory. Everyone's faith is strengthened and everyone's confidence
before God (and in His Word) is encouraged.
12. It's fun and fulfilling. It's never been dry, unless the group is
too big and people have too much time between their turns to read or pray.
13. It usually doesn't take long. Though time does tend to fly when
you are having fun, it is usually over within 15-25 minutes (unless the
Holy Spirit really breathes on it and the anointing is on everyone). In
cases where it seems to be dragging on, it is really easy for the facilitator
to stop it. He or she just says, "Amen!" when it is next his
or her turn.
14. It is not difficult to get people from this type of praying to the
next level which is the spiritual gifts. Since the Holy Spirit is in the
midst of them and they HAVE to get involved, He can easily turn what seems
like a normal (human-created) prayer and turn it into an inspired word
of encouragement, confirmation, reminder, warning, etc. for someone in
the room with whom it "hits home" like only a Holy Spirit-created
prayer can do.
15. (added 7/30/95) It's great for brand new cells. The intimacy, anointing,
and opportunity for spiritual growth through personal interaction is what
makes cells so important. I have found that, while multiplying is vitally
important, many splits do not succeed--setting the whole deal back a bit--because
of a lack of the above dynamics. Usually it takes quite a while to get
everyone working together after breaking away from the parent group. It
seems many times the folks are in a state of recovery, not unlike a baby
who just came out of the womb (yes it was time to come out, but, man, what
a shock!). Unlike the newborn who has no choice but to endure the changes,
people in cells can lose interest and bow out before the group has a chance
to develop into a model cell. Power Praying seems to expedite the dynamics
needed to sustain interest in the new cell. It kind of gives it a jump
Hope you can glean some ideas from Power Praying that will help. If
you would like to know more about it, feel free to contact me.
Power House Church
PS. When my friend (Tom Brancheau of Pontiac, Michigan) and I first
stumbled on this style of small group prayer, the presence of the Holy
Spirit was thick in the room. We knew we had been graced by God. We just
kind of looked at each other and laughed afterward. On our way home (he
is his car with his family, I in my car with my daughter going in separate
directions) we both narrowly escaped being killed by out-of-control (drunk)
drivers. A motorcyclist hit him at more than 90 mph (on a 35 mph road)
and rolled, the police said, over 300 feet. I somehow managed to skid out
of the middle of a several car pile up on a major interstate highway. Only
the Lord kept us from being killed. We believe the devil was trying to
wipe us out before we could share this simple, but powerful cell group
prayer concept with others. Who knows?
I have had some folks e-mail me, asking me to post some specific scriptures
that I have used in our Cells. Others have asked how I go about selecting
the passages for Power Praying. In the original posting I was trying to
keep the instructions brief, and here also I will be as brief and concise
as possible. Please, bear with my longwindedness.
To be quite honest, I rely very heavily upon the Lord's direction. One
never knows which scripture(s) may prick, touch, or otherwise impact a
person's heart. After praying for God's help in finding the verses, I just
believe He will "give me bread and not a stone." Then I pick
a passage, read it aloud, and see if I can apply something of its content
toward prayer. If what I have chosen seems to bear witness with my spirit
I use it and if it does not I look for another, believing He will not neglect
my faith and sincere desire to help His flock.
Although I love strategies and formulas, I think it is important to
note that the greatest thing I have found in this model of prayer is its
simplicity. It really can be done very easily, without a lot of complication,
by any believer once they have done it once or twice.
My personal favorites, however, are the Psalms, Proverbs, and teachings
Another powerful approach is to select references from a variety of
locations in the Bible that all relate to a certain topic, print them out
so that they can be easily read from one verse to the next, then present
the text to the Cell(s) for Power Praying.
Maybe it would be best, for the sake of example, if I selected a passage
and Power Prayed them below. I will pray as if there are three other people
in the room with me, named "B, C, and D." I'll be "A."
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
PRAYER FOR SCRIPTURAL GUIDANCE:>
"My Father, You know how dull of hearing I am toward Your voice
at times, so please speak loudly in answer to this my prayer for some passage
of scripture which I might Power Pray in example for these dear leaders
of Yours. Help me to pray humbly and effectually so that Your blessing
would rush into their lives and spill onto those among Your flock in their
care. Thanks. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen."
HERE IS WHAT I HEARD:>
Below is the NIV translation which being simulated as being read in
PERSON "A." (Starting with the facilitator).>
v.10 "So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for
I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with
my righteous right hand."
v.11 "All who rage against you will surely be ashamed and disgraced;
those who oppose you will be as nothing and perish."
v.12 "Though you search for your enemies, you will not find them.
Those who wage war against you will be as nothing at all."
v. 13 "For I am the LORD, your God, who takes hold of your right
hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you."
POWER PRAYER (Starting with the facilitator again).
"Lord, according to verse 10, I pray that you give me the courage
to reach out to those 2,000 homes in my community by the last day of this
year as I promised You. I feel many fears, the greatest of which is that
I will not have enough leaders to lead the cells that result from the effort.
Lord, I know it is You who led me to make this a goal and I am confident
Your anointing is on the effort, so I will commit myself to not worrying
about the lack of leadership. I commit my faith to You in this area. I
trust that You want souls saved among those I will contact and that You
want the wandering sheep to come into the care of fold. I will not fear."
Lord, according to verse thirteen, I stand in agreement with the previous
prayer and profess that You will take his hand and help him accomplish
the work with anointing and boldness."
"Yes, Lord! And I pray that according to verse 11, that, the enemy's
mouth will not stir up controversy over it among pastors who do not understand
the cell concept. Help them to not feel threatened, but rather support
the good intentions with a word of encouragement. And do not let the devil
provoke the hearts of those who hate You to cause strife against the work.
Walk with him in Your peace, kindness, and gentleness toward all he encounters."
"Yes, and according to verse 10 again, Lord, I pray that You will
be with him. Just as Moses prayed that Your presence would be visible in
signs and wonders among those he led, I pray that You would reveal Yourself
among the Cells that develop in signs and wonders. Let the people say about
the Cells, as Paul said they would in 1 Corinthians 14:25, 'God is really
PERSON "A" (facilitator could keep it going or end it, as
led by the Spirit, each time it is his or her turn )
"Amen, Lord. So be it. We thank You for answering these prayers.
We love You and bless You in Jesus' holy name."
Hope this helps!
Power House Church
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Mirrored With Permission