A circle of prayer: New ministry's impact felt
Triad is being encircled in prayer for more than an hour every Sunday and Pastor Rob Decker can feel and see the difference.
From the parking lot attendants to the choir and Decker himself, a group called The Circle Makers is praying nonstop during Triad’s traditional worship service time from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
“We have started to see folks in recent weeks get saved in the service,” Decker said. “It’s amazing to me what happens when we take God at His word.”
Lisa and Jeff Ledwell launched the new ministry in September — a modern-day version of the group that met in the boiler room underneath the platform that Baptist pastor Charles Spurgeon preached on each Sunday to thousands in London during the mid- to late-1800s.
The Circle Makers began with the Ledwells themselves, and the group has since grown to seven people gathering around the conference room table next to Decker’s office. Eventually, the couple hope to have enough to cover the contemporary worship service time too, from 9 a.m. to 10:00 a.m., and for each Circle Maker to serve one Sunday each month.
In addition to the Ledwells, other Circle Makers include Phil and Karen Boydston, Linsey Huffman, Sheri Jones, and Sharon Keller.
“I read this book about five years ago called Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire about how prayer built the Brooklyn Tabernacle church in New York City and changed so many lives,” Lisa said. “People meet in the prayer room to pray for the service going on — for the preacher, and for the Holy Spirit to move in and out of people’s lives during the service and touch the hearts of those there who don’t know Jesus Christ.
“I thought, ‘That is such a cool thing, I wish our church would do that.’ ”
When Lisa went to talk to Decker about her idea, she didn’t know he’d already been exploring ways to further increase the emphasis on prayer among the congregation.
“John Wesley said, ‘God does everything through prayer and nothing without it’ and the thought behind those words is one of the driving motivations that keeps me on my knees,” Decker said. “God pricked my heart to do something just as important and prompted me to ask myself, ‘Am I also challenging my church to pray together as a body of believers?’ God convicted me about my own leadership in prayer, and we began a mid-week prayer time with 20 minutes of prayer during our Wednesday service.
“When Lisa told me what she wanted to do on Sundays, I said, ‘God is moving in your heart to do the same. Let’s do it.’ ”
The Circle Makers begin by praying for Music Pastor Scott Compton and the choir since they know they’ll begin the traditional worship service with the call to worship. Then they offer praise through Psalms and pray for everyone involved with the Kids Street Church service, parking lot attendants, security team members, and more, before praying specifically for Decker throughout his message.
Since the Ledwells attend the Contemporary worship service, they already have heard Decker’s message so draw on their notes to know what to pray for.
To help the group as it began, Lisa said Decker provided a national pastor’s video series on prayer so members could incorporate the short videos in their prayer time.
“The whole concept of the series is ‘You receive not because you ask not,’ ” Lisa said. “I watched the first one with Pastor Rob when we met and I said, ‘That sounds too simple, doesn’t it? That a small prayer group can change the world?’
“He said, ‘It does sound too simple but it absolutely is, and yet people don’t do it.’ This is an ingredient that has really been missing from our church and we’re excited to see where the Lord takes it.”
Decker said that the Circle Makers ministry is a great encouragement to him, just as it was to Spurgeon who credited the power of the boiler-room prayers, and not his eloquence, for the result of his preaching.
“I’d rather teach one man to pray,” Spurgeon once famously remarked, “than 10 men to preach.”
Editor’s note: Interested in joining the Circle Makers ministry? Contact Lisa at 972-2471 or Jeff at 972-2844 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.