Action prayer is nonverbal communication to God, using our attitudes and our attempts to obey, which draws its energy from Christ’s example and empowerment.
There is something about teamwork that can be sweet to watch and exciting to participate in. When every member contributes to his full potential and each contribution benefits a goal in which all believe, when people pitch in and help as others are in need and no one holds back, a group can work like a well-oiled machine. Even the interaction, not to mention the achievement of a goal, provides a thrill. Such clockwork from humans is rare, often only experienced during emergencies, but the results are deeply satisfying to the participants and uplifting to onlookers.
In the same way, small groups who defer to one another in service to others often find that they are lifted outside of themselves as individuals. Members discover the character of Christ in ways they could not have found alone. And outsiders, watching their work, are moved as much or more by the nature of the group’s service as by the service itself.
Consider using this prayerful approach to govern your church committee, your volunteer work, or your ministry. Or think about adding a service component to your small group or to your spiritual friendships. Once a month, instead of meeting for prayer, study, or fun, meet to cook for a soup kitchen, tutor children in a local school, repair or clean the home of someone in need, or some other project. Determine ahead of time that as you grow more accustomed to one another’s quirks and weaknesses, you will yield to one another with intention instead of merely giving in to satisfy social norms about avoiding confrontation. As you work, allow your humility to be that of Christ (Phil 2:5–8).
After each service session, take a few moments to debrief, to discuss your difficulties, your attitudes, and your victories. Seek help from one another instead of harboring resentments and hurts (Lev 19:18; Eph 4:31). Be reconciled to one another quickly when you do fail to treat each other with humility and dignity (Matt 5:23–24). And before you leave, return your work and the nature of your work to God. With child-like faith remind yourselves that he receives your attempts to serve others as service to him and he rejoices over you (Isa 62:5).