Connecting with your Community
How will you collect prayer requests?
Asking people what they want prayer for, or to praise God for, makes your prayers specific and personal. You might like to set up an email address that people can send their requests to, or a number for requests to be text anonymously to. You could put a box in your church office so people can drop their prayers in. You could get creative – maybe the children in your Sunday school could make a ‘prayer chest’ for local school children to put their requests in? Can you offer to collect requests door-to-door on a specific day? This would be a great way to get to know your neighbours and community better.
Once you have decided how to collect the prayer requests you can start asking!
Who do you want to ask?
When deciding who you want to reach out to, consider the different parts of your community. There could be a large employer or a school that really anchor your area. Could you ask them whether they want prayer? Are there any local businesses that are a cornerstone of the community? When was the last time you spoke to the newest neighbour on your street? How about asking your local school, council or MP what they want prayer for? There is no definitive list of who to pray for; we cannot limit how many prayers God can listen to, so ask everyone you can!
How to make contact
Think about the best ways for you to ask for prayer requests from your community. Would your neighbourhood respond better to formal letters, face-to-face chats, or a postcard through the door? Perhaps an email or a more creative approach, such as a bake sale or prayer tent would be more effective? This is your weekend so you can really personalise it to what best suits your locality. You will probably find that you want to use a mixture of methods to reach different people, so it may be useful to plan a timeline of who you will contact and when. There are some useful letter templates on our website to get you started (see the Resources page). If you do decide to write to people for prayer requests, make sure you leave enough time for them to reply (this is where a timeline may help). For example, it can take several weeks for a response from an MP so you will want to make sure you leave them enough time for people to be able to respond.
You can write directly to your MP or contact the constituency office. It is important to address your letter to an individual in order to make the invitation to pray a personal one: you can find the name of your MP at www.parliament.uk/mps-lords-and-offices/mps/ using your postcode.
When writing to your council, think about your local councillor. They normally live and work in the local community and will have a good idea of issues facing the community. They would be a great person to try to meet in person and get on board!
If you are writing to a head teacher at your local school, you will need to consider school holidays, especially if you would like to get the students involved too!
Alternatively, you could just knock on your neighbour’s door, give them a prayer request postcard with a Living on a Prayer or Why Pray? booklet (see Resources page on our website) or invite them to any events that you might be planning at your church to drop their prayer request in personally!
Prayer is about saying thank You to God as much as asking for change. Even if people around you don’t want to ask for personal prayer, most people will have something that they are grateful for and want to celebrate!
Gather the requests
Once you have collected all the prayer requests it is important to keep them together and not lose any, so every request gets prayed for during the National Prayer Weekend.
You might want to sort the requests into similar themes, or split your venue into different sections to pray for different people. Consider whether the requesters want to remain anonymous or can be prayed for by name. Think about how to best share out the requests to people attending your prayer weekend. Maybe you want to print the requests, write them out, hang them up for everyone to see or they could be drawn out of a hat.
There are so many different ways that you can approach praying for others, so don’t let our suggestions limit your creativity or preference!