In the midst of ministry expansion projects, our small congregation really needed God’s direction and blessing. That’s when the Lord led our prayer group leader to call for an eight-hour prayer lock-in.
Members brought Bibles, candles, worship music, journals, and sleeping bags. Intercessors and church leaders gathered in the old sanctuary of the church for group worship and prayer. Then we broke off into private prayer, meditation, and listening for God’s direction.
The lock-in guaranteed the full participation of those present and eliminated the distraction of people coming and going. Early birds like myself were encouraged to take a nap break if they felt distracted by fatigue, but were then awakened to participate in the wrap- up, an outpouring of what the Lord had told us regarding the transition. The consistent direction we each got from the Lord during this time of prayer built our faith and humbled us all.
Prayer lock-ins can be held for a variety of reasons—especially when seeking God’s direction together or looking for fresh perspective. Many times, people who would not otherwise participate in corporate prayer will get involved in these sessions.
Here’s a sample agenda:
4:30 – 5:00 p.m.—Gather over tea, fruit, and light refreshments. Late-comers arrive.
5:00 – 6:00 p.m.—Door is locked. Overview and suggestions for prayer. (Our leader distributed notes suggesting priority topics for prayer.)
6:00 – 7:00 p.m.—Light candles and offer praise and thanksgiving using worship CDs or live music provided by music team.
7:00 – 8:00 p.m.—Corporate prayer. Participants offer prayer as they are led.
8:00 – 9:00 p.m.—Break off into a private space for individual prayer and Bible study. (Some people will want to read and write in prayer journals.)
9:00 – 10:00 p.m.—Prayer leader gathers group for corporate prayer.
10:00 – 11:00 p.m.—Break off into individual or small group prayer.
11:00 p.m. – 12:00 a.m.—Gather together to discuss insights from prayer. Everyone who wishes to share what the Lord has laid on his or her heart has an opportunity to do so. The prayer team leader keeps notes and incorporates these insights into a future prayer agenda.
12:00 – 12:30 a.m.—Corporate prayer and wrap-up. Give thanks to God for the encouragement and direction given, gather Bibles and sleeping bags, and head home.