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Iglesia Bautista Idlewild

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Day 1 – 21 Days of Transforming Prayer

Day 1 – 21 Days of Transforming Prayer



Beyond a “Grocery List” of Needs


We all learn many of the essential skills of life through the model of others we love and respect. Some skills allow us to excel and become contributors to others. However, we can also learn ineptitude through the repetition of mindless tradition or dysfunction.

This leads to a core inquiry. Who taught you to pray? Has any- one provided a positive and life-changing model of prayer for you? Do you feel that you even know how to pray effectively? What is the purpose behind your praying? Is it working for you? Are you sure it is a Biblical approach? Are you simply doing what you have seen others do, wondering if there might be more to the reality of prayer than you have experienced so far in your life?

The “request-based” approach to prayer that was modeled to me during traditional “prayer meetings” just did not work for me. This dissatisfaction led me to a growing, life-changing understanding of what I call “worship-based prayer.” It was not a new discovery but a simple revelation of what is clear in the Scriptures as a positive alternative to “grocery-list” praying. This approach has transformed my life and the lives of thousands I have encountered who have made this vital discovery.


What is Worship-Based Prayer?

Worship is the response of all we are to the revelation of all God is. J. Oswald Sanders describes worship as “the loving ascription of praise to God for what He is, both in Himself and in His ways. It is the bowing of innermost spirit in deep humility and reverence before Him.” 1

“Worship-based prayer” seeks the face of God before the hand of God. God’s face is the essence of who He is. God’s hand is the blessing of what He does. God’s face represents His person and presence. God’s hand expresses His provision for needs in our lives. I have learned that if all we ever do is seek God’s hand, we may miss His face; but if we seek His face, He will be glad to open His hand and satisfy the deepest desires of our hearts.

This approach to prayer always begins with a focus on Biblical, Spirit-empowered worship. It is distinctively different than the traditional approach that emphasizes prayer requests and long lists of needs as the foundation of prayer. Christ taught a worship-based approach to prayer. It is modeled by many Biblical personalities. It is fueled by Scriptural truth in every case. Worship-based prayer ignites a desire for spiritual intimacy and personal transformation. In this discovery, a Christian is then empowered and enlightened to pray about issues and needs in a whole new way.

What Worship-Based Prayer is Not

As you prepare for this journey in the principles and practices of worship-based prayer, let me tell you what worship-based prayer is NOT.

  • It is not a new method of prayer. While the discovery has been fresh for many in this generation, it is an approach to prayer that is as old as the

Beyond a “Grocery List” of Needs 15

  • It is not worship-ONLY prayer. Biblical, balanced prayer has many expressions. This is not about restricting your prayer life only to worship but about rekindling your prayer life from a foundation of worship to more fully enjoy and experience confession, requests, intercession, and warfare
  • It does not eliminate requests. Our Father commands and compels us to call on Him—and He promises to answer. Requests are a vital part of However, requests without the proper foundation and framework can miss the mark. Worship-based prayer helps us understand the context, conditions, and ultimate conclusion of all our prayer requests.
  • It is not complicated. While the term may sound a bit different, the approach is not difficult. Ultimately, it is as pure as opening the Scriptures and the soul in Spirit-led communion with Christ and allowing Him to set the agenda for every prayer time you


A Transformation Story

As a pastor, I have seen first-hand the power of worship-based prayer to bring healing and restoration to hurting congregations. I have watched it reinvent a staid, traditional church into a church-planting, mission-oriented force. Most thrilling is the fact that thousands of believers have experienced a revived love for Christ and a renewed passion for Spirit-empowered ministry.

In October 1995, Lori gave her life to Jesus Christ. A few months later, she signed up to attend a prayer event sponsored by the women of our church. They were going away to pray for three days, with no agenda. This was a big stretch for a baby Christian.

At the time, her song repertoire consisted of the chorus of “Amazing Grace” and “Jesus Loves Me.” She writes, “I wouldn’t have been able to find a book of the Bible other than Genesis if you’d paid me and as you might imagine, I would never dream of lifting up my hands as I had seen once in one of those ‘weird churches.’ ”

However, God used that weekend to transform her life. She learned how to open the Bible and worship God as the majestic, sovereign, and mighty One who is worthy of praise. She saw Him take hurting people and give them peace, hope, and joy. Her life has never been the same.

In the ensuing years, Lori became the ministry director of Strategic Renewal, the non-profit organization I founded, teaching the principles of worship-based prayer to hundreds of churches around the nation. Today, she leads the prayer ministry at a growing congregation in Northern California. God is using her in profound ways. Blessings continue to pour into her life, family, and ministry all be- cause one day, as a new believer, she stepped into a praying church and encountered a life-transforming moment in His Presence.




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