What is Prayer?
Prayer is effective communication with God: effective because it involves the release of energy and because it gets something done; communication because while it makes use of words it is more than words, and because it is not a monologue but a dialogue. God not only supplies the energy which makes the entire process possible, but also is the party at th other end of the line.
Why should we pray?
Because we are told to (I Thess. 5:17)! Because human experience teaches us that prayer a source of understanding and strength, a unifying force and a means of growth. Because by it we can help others (II Cor. 1:6), and because it is a way to the healing of minds, bodies, human relationships and the inner self. In prayer the center of living is shifted from ourselves to God.
How do we know that our prayers are being heard?
A certain way of knowing that our prayers are being heard is by their results. The results of prayer include not only what God may do by way of His personalized, compassionate response, but also direct influence related to the outreach of prayer-power, and not infrequently new attitudes and understanding on the part of the one who prays. In other words, the results of prayer fall into three categories: they are ‘heard’ when God intervenes, ‘productive’ as the release of mental energy (a physically measurable phenomenon) affects situations, and ‘therapeutic’ as change occurs within ourselves. We should remember that God’s concern is never less than our own (Matt. 6:8) and that, whatever may happen, we are never beyond the reach of God’s personal love (Matt. 6:26).
Alongsiders are primarily shut-ins, handicapped, elderly or isolated persons who minister to the Church by prayer, The idea for this ministry comes from 1 Timothy 5:5 and from Hippolytus’ Apostolic Tradition, which notes that widows are “instituted for prayer”. If widows, why not widowers, elderly persons, and others cut off from the mainstream of activities by illness, handicap or isolation?
Alongsiders are those who by their praise, thanksgiving and prayer release more of the power of God. Their intercessions support and encourage others. Where prayers are offered, action results (Acts 12:11 & 12). Alongsiders, too, will benefit from their new purpose and responsibility in the parish.
The Alongsiders’ offering of praise and prayer is of infinite worth. Its results, though sometimes hidden, are eternal. The ministry of prayer is the Alongsiders’ gift to the church.
Powerhouse of Prayer
The Powerhouse of Prayer is a way to teach people about ten aspects of prayer and to show them how to do it. A workbook is furnished to participants in advance of the workshop. The workbook contains the teaching and participants are asked to read it before attending the workshop. The workshop itself is devoted to putting the ten aspects of prayer into practice. The workshop is easy to lead because the leader is simply guiding the participants through prayer exercises.
The types of prayer covered are: personal prayer, Bible study, group prayer, prayer vigil, resources for personal growth, healing prayer, inner healing, spiritual direction, journaling, creative prayer planning. The (Power) House Leaders Guide shows you step-by-step, how to lead these workshops and how to encourage their use in your diocese.
Nan Henderson Memorial Plan
Some years ago, the Executive Committee set up the Nan Henderson Memorial program to encourage and support new deacons and priests in their prayer life by providing them with a resource package on prayer. Nan was a long time member of the Canadian AFP Executive Committee and did a great deal of work for the Canadian AFP over the years.
Diocesan Representatives are asked and encouraged to be aware of ordinations which are taking place in their Diocese and present each ordinand with a package sometime during the ordination period (i.e. during the photos at the end of the service or at the reception following the service).
The program provides an excellent way of spreading the word about the AFP to new clergy and encouraging them in their prayer life. It is for example, very gratifying to hear such things as that a certain new deacon gave a very good sermon on prayer to his new parish only a couple of months after being ordained.
In our busy, frantic, modem lives there is often no time to stop and be quiet for more than a few minutes together. Prayers are said quickly (if at all) before we rush out to the office, and at night we fall into bed too tired to think. A quiet day is an effort to give people a little window of scheduled time to pray, to be still, and to listen to God.