Are you ready to ramp up your prayer life? Do you need to see miracles? An all-night or extended prayer meeting will take you to the next level. Here’s how to do it.
An extended prayer meeting is one of our most powerful spiritual weapons. You can do it by yourself or with a group. Consider this thought –
Quality Vs Quantity
Does it matter how long you pray? Some say that it is better to pray for shorter periods of “quality” time vs. longer periods. This thought may sound good at first but quickly dissolves under the weight of Bible Truth.Each believer should have daily, consistent prayer times. Yet, some situations require seasons of extended prayer. Click To Tweet
How many people do you know that pray a long time, but don’t pray “quality” prayers?
The truth is the flesh doesn’t want to pray. It wants to get up and go do other things. Prayer is a spiritual discipline that must be cultivated and refined.
The Bible is clear that some situations require longer times of prayer. Each believer should have daily, consistent prayer times. Yet, some situations require seasons of extended prayer.
Luke 6:12 “And it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God.”
Daniel 9:3 “And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes:”
Matthew 17:19–21 “Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out? And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you. Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.”
Luke 11:8–9 “I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth. And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.”
Personal Seasons of Prayer
There will be times in your life that you need to spend extra time with God alone. Know yourself and sense what God is doing in your heart. Take the time necessary for extended periods of prayer. It could be late at night while everyone is sleeping or early in the morning before people are awake.
You may need to schedule a day or more in seclusion outside of your normal schedule.
Corporate Seasons of Prayer
Every church should have prayer times in their schedule during the week. These prayer meetings can vary from the Wednesday night meeting, 15-minute meetings before a service and everything in between.A healthy church is a praying church. Powerful churches commit to seasons of prayer. Click To Tweet
Here is a quick guide to conducting an all-night or extended prayer meeting. It is not exhaustive, but sufficient to get you started.
Why do you want to plan an extended prayer meeting?
Make sure that your motives are pure and your intentions spiritual. There are many good reasons to have an all-night or prolonged prayer meeting, but pride is not one of them.
In the past, I planned two all-night prayer meetings per year. It just became the thing to do. I clearly remember when God challenged me that the prayer meetings that had been so helpful were becoming a source of pride. I mean how many churches do you know that still have all-night prayer meetings? Not many.
The Lord told me that 4 hours would be sufficient for the next meeting. I resisted but quickly surrendered. Now I plan to have extended prayer meetings on the schedule, but seek the Lord as to how long they should be.
It is difficult to plan long meetings in our busy world. Prayer meetings are the least attended function of any church so don’t complicate the matter with poor scheduling.
Our church has two extended prayer meetings on the calendar each year on the Sunday evenings before Memorial Day and Labor Day. Almost all of our members have the next day off so they can pray without fear of missing work the next day. What days work best for your schedule?
During emergencies, extended prayer should be called as needed. People who want to be involved will sacrifice to be there when necessary.
Don’t set yourself up for disappointment by expecting everyone to attend. Some will want to come, but can’t because of family responsibilities or scheduling conflicts. Others just won’t show up.
Decide to schedule the meetings when God leads and be happy with whoever comes. Encourage people to get out of their comfort zone and come then surrender the results to God.
Personally, I always plan to be there by myself and then anyone else who shows up is a blessing!
Announce your meeting with a start and end time, but let people know that they can leave whenever they need to. You will have people that won’t commit to staying the whole time and that’s ok. Often, people come planning to leave early and end up staying because God is working in their hearts.
Allow your needs to dictate the meeting. What will you pray for? Here are a few ideas:
- Souls Saved
- Believer’s Baptized
- Converts Discipled
- Fruit that Remains
- Young Adults
- Senior Saints
- Specific Ministries
- Guests in Services
- Exciting Services
- Church Staff
- Church Planters
- Building Projects
The list can be whatever you need it to be. You can schedule different topics for different hours of the prayer meeting to give some structure.
We usually focus on church health, ministry effectiveness, and difficult requests. I know these extended prayer meetings have saved Curtis Corner Baptist Church from disunity, church splits, satanic attacks, and untold trouble. I won’t take the time for stories here, but they are numerous!
When the prayer meeting begins, meet with everyone to give them some direction.
Remind them that the purpose is to draw close to God and pray. Let them know why you called the meeting. Tell them your vision of what you hope to accomplish.
Let them know how the prayer meeting will flow by giving them an overview of the schedule. Remember that drawing close to God is more than simply giving Him your requests. It involves praise, thanksgiving, confession, and worship as well.
It will take an hour or more to break through the spiritual callousness that people don’t even realize is there. The deep praying begins a few hours into the prayer meeting.The deep praying begins a few hours into the extended prayer meeting. Click To Tweet
Encourage them to pour their hearts out to God in prayer. There should be no judgment or posturing.
Split them into groups. Give them a copy of the schedule you’ve planned and start praying.
At the meeting, take prayer requests. They can write down the requests on the schedule you passed out. Have some pens available.
Bear one another’s burdens in prayer.
Don’t be surprised if people mention sensitive requests that they would never say in church. Let the folks know that this information should be considered a sacred trust and kept private.
Give them Bible a truth about prayer that will help them during the meeting. I usually mention the following as well:
- Most are not accustomed to long prayer times. Your spirit is starving for it but your flesh will fight it. Settle in and subdue the flesh.
- One person will pray out loud as the rest agree in prayer.
- Pray with the person who is praying out loud. Prayer is not a spectator sport. This is a team effort.
- Be real with God and your fellow pray-ers. Bare your soul.
- Ask God to change you.
- Feel free to change prayer positions as needed. If you get tired, you can stand up or walk around while praying.
Congratulate them on making the choice to spend so much time with God since so few Christians do.
Personally thank them for partnering with you. Let them know they encouraged you by being there.
Sing a song acapella such as “Sweet Hour of Prayer.”
It’s time to get down to business! Here are some pointers:
- Usually, we have the men and women pray in separate rooms.
- Start the prayer time by reading some Scripture regarding prayer.
- Let everyone pray once as long as they would like to break the ice.
- After everyone prays once, stop to ask for specific requests. Then give them a topic to cover for the next session. Let everyone pray again.
- Usually by this time there will be some tears and the melting of hearts. You will feel a commroderie with those in the room.
- Ask for some testimonies. Read another Scripture. Pray again.
- The entire prayer time can be a mix of praying, reading, singing testifying as the Lord leads.
- If you are praying all night, you can stop for a break. This allows people to go to the restroom, get a drink, etc. If you are not fasting during the prayer meeting, some snacks can be a pick me up.
You will leave different than you came. Praise God! If you’re not different, you didn’t pray long enough…
Once the prayer time is over, thank those who were able to stay the whole time. Often, there are teary eyes, cleansed hearts, and clear consciences.If you're not different, you didn't pray long enough... Click To Tweet
Ask a few individuals how the evening went with questions like, “How did the Lord work in your heart?” I love hearing testimonies of what the Lord accomplished. God does amazing work when His people spend time with Him.
Go home and get some rest. Make sure that you are not grouchy or short-tempered the next day. You don’t want to walk the mountains with God at night and treat your family like the devil in the morning. Not cool.
Prepare for God’s blessing. The upcoming weeks and months will be filled with answers to prayer. Take them with gratitude. Let people know that they are the fruit of the prayer meetings. Build anticipation for the next one by giving God the glory for what He did at the meeting.
When will you plan your first all-night prayer meeting?