Four hundred people gather weekly
at Greeley (Colo.) Assembly of God. Instead of meeting for a traditional
evening service, attendees come to focus on prayer for their city, missions,
non-Christians, schools and the government.
"The Lord began to deal with
me about going back to the basics," says Rigo Magana, senior pastor.
"I felt the Lord wanted more intimacy with His church."
Magana began shifting the focus
of his congregation toward prayer, fasting and Bible study. "Prayer
is the thing we need the most," he says. "But it is sometimes
the thing we neglect."
Magana says the results of prayer
can be clearly seen in his church. Recently, Greeley Assembly added
a third service on Sunday mornings, and is in the process of purchasing
a 102,000-square-foot building plus 10 acres of parking. The church
also has added a Friday prayer meeting from 9 p.m. to midnight. "I
attribute all of the growth to prayer," Magana says. "We are
expecting God to do great things."
Beginning with the Assemblies of
God National Week of Prayer, January 6-13, Magana says his church will
have 30 days of prayer and fasting to kick off the new year.
Adherents of the Assemblies of God
are encouraged to set time aside for the National Week of Prayer. General
Superintendent Thomas E. Trask says that if local churches make special
times available for prayer walks, prayer meetings and prayer emphasis,
the effects will be evident.
"The more people involved,
the greater the power," Trask says. "People of all ages can
pray there is no substitute for it."
The significance of the prayer emphasis
week, Trask says, is that it is a time when church bodies can accentuate
the subject of prayer and then join together in different settings to
acknowledge the need of Gods help and to pray for those in governmental
leadership. "Nothing of any lasting value is going to happen through
the church that isnt first birthed and bathed in prayer,"
Madonna Paulson, director of the
A/Gs National Prayer Center, agrees. She says the prayer week
will spawn daily prayer in Assemblies of God constituents. "Prayer
is a discipline that will change us," Paulson says. "Dedicating
10 minutes a day to begin with is an easily achievable goal that will
lead to extended times of daily prayer."