Prayer Training

In the spring of 2019, shortly after I ended my eight years without much praying, I went looking for examples of prayer by people who knew how to pray. 

What did it look like to pray like Elijah, powerfully and effectively? 

I checked YouTube, that tool for learning everything from how to make an omelet to how to lay concrete blocks for houses. 

But I couldn’t find anything on prayer.

No examples of Corrie ten Boom praying, though her book The Hiding Place indicates her powerful prayers. 

I could find no one demonstrating simple prayers for the beginner.

I reached out to my college mentor Connie Anderson, now head of intercessory prayer for InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. Was I just not looking for the right names, or for the right words?

She didn’t know of anything either.

I asked several leaders of missions organizations. They were kind in their replies, but had nothing much to suggest. 

What a strategic blindspot for the people of God! No widely accessible training!

It’s not that I had no knowledge of prayer. I had attended decades of church services. I owned (and had read!) dozens of books about prayer. I had gone to scores of prayer meetings, and had tried various prayer experiences, like concerts of prayer, or prayer walking, or prayer training.

But I felt like a beginner.

And all I knew was dutiful obedience. I could pray, but had no faith or hope that anything really would change as a result of my prayers.

What a strategic blindspot for the people of God! No expectation of change!

A year later, I connected with Bob Perry. I wanted prayer for different businesses I cared about, because I could see certain entrenched areas that were not shifting.

As we talked, we realized how little prayer the church focused on the workplace. 

But most of us spend, at most, only an hour or two per week in church, but forty or more hours in the workplace.

What a strategic blindspot for the people of God! No focus on the workplace!

What would it be like if Jesus’ followers intentionally thought about bringing God’s kingdom with them wherever they went, including into the workplace?

As Bob and I talked and prayed, we also realized how little support the church offers to people of prayer. 

If you have a gift to help people, you can go to school to become a counselor.

If you have a gift to teach people, you can go to seminary to become a pastor.

If you have a gift to worship, you can take music lessons, or go to school, or practice with the church worship team.

But what training and equipping is available to people of prayer?

Some churches do have prayer meetings, but these are not so much instructional as participatory

What if you want to improve in prayer?

Where could you turn?

What a strategic blindspot for the people of God! No prayer mentoring!

Prayer is, of course, a conversation, a gift, and a grace.

It is also a skill, and, like other skills (football, painting, baking, writing, etc.), we can improve with coaching, mentoring, training.

And practice!

Bob has spent 40 years asking the Lord to teach him to pray. 

He combines an encyclopedic knowledge of the scripture with passionate learning (about 500 books on prayer in his personal library) and intentional mentoring. In fact, his friends and mentors include many spiritual giants of the the last fifty years:

• Rosemarie Klaussen (mentored by Corrie ten Boom)

• Bob Weiner (Maranatha Student Ministries)

• Mike Bickle (Kansas City International House of Prayer)

• Lou Engle (The Call)

• Joy Dawson (YWAM)

• Jack Hayford (Church on the Way)

• Dick Eastman (Every Home for Christ)

• Dick Simms (Men’s Prayer)

• Bill Johnson (Bethel Redding)

He said, “I have always had a dream to write or publish, but whenever I tried, I always felt like my lane was just to pray.” 

My lane, though, has always been writing and editing. 

It has been my privilege to extract what Bob carries, so that rather than a cistern of prayer—a collection of knowledge without an outlet—all that he has received can start to flow. 

Our goal is to change the narrative of prayer worldwide: to stop the lackadaisical, boring, faithless prayers that have little passion behind them or hope of change, and instead advance God’s kingdom with a real depth of faith and expectation of change. 

After all, if we pray and don’t expect change, why are we wasting our time? 

We don’t pray to satisfy some vague cosmic requirement, but to actually bring change on the earth.

As Bob and I look ahead, we are excited about what God has already done, and what we have coming.

Jesus, your name Immanuel means “God with us,” God immanent, God among us, God amid us. That it denotes accompaniment.

Jesus! You accompany us! God accompanying us on the journey.

You are so beautiful, you take my breath away. Thank you. Amen.

– Amy Joy

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About the Author

Amy Joy is the Executive Director of Workplace Prayer, where she provides leadership in prayer and equips through powerful content including books, classes and courses.