Prayer Ideas


By Steve Cordle

Joel has been reminding and challenging us to make prayer the foundation for our cell ministry.

Here are a few more ways to build prayer into your cell ministry:

– distribute specific prayer focus points to your leaders for them to pray in concert in cells

– highlight answered prayer in weekend messages (nothing motivates prayer like answered prayer!)

– As part of the weekly cell meeting agenda, ask for accounts of answered prayer before praying for requests of the members

– If you are a pastor, hang the pictures of your cell leaders on the wall near your desk with a reminder to pray for them daily.

– Give each cell coach a frame with pictures of their leaders (for prayer reminder), and also allow the frame to contain a couple of blank spots as a way to envision future leaders

– set your cell phone alarm to ring daily at 10:02 to remind you to pray each daily in accordance with Luke 10:2 – that the Lord of the harvest would raise up more leaders in your ministry. Encourage each cell leader to do the same to pray for an apprentice.

– Encourage cells to do “prayer outreachs”; for example: a cell can set up a booth at a community fair where the members offer free popcorn and free prayer to all who come by. They can give a card with a group member’s cell phone number so the person can contact the group in the future.

– buy a gift subscription to “Pray!” magazine for each cell leader. 

Those are a few ways to stimulate prayer on your cell ministry – What other ideas do you have?



Prayer: Take Time to be Holy

Paul the apostle said in Colosians 4:2-4, “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should.”

Paul was not only speaking to the entire Colossian church, he directed his exhortation to each indivdiual Colossian believer. Spending personal time with Jesus in daily devotions is absolutely essential. I believe it’s the most important discipline of the Christian life.

I discovered in my survey of 700 cell leaders in eight different countries that the cell leader’s devotional life consistently appeared among the top three most important variables. The correlation between cell multiplication and the leader spending time with God is clear. The cell leaders surveyed were asked: “How much time do you spend in daily devotions? (e.g., prayer, Bible reading, etc.).” They chose one of five options, ranging from 0 to 15 minutes daily to over 90 minutes. The following table summarizes the devotional patterns of those cell leaders who filled out a questionnaire:

  • 0 to 15 minutes– 11.7%
  • 15 to 30 minutes– 33.2%
  • 30 to 60 minutes– 33.8%
  • 60 to 90 minutes– 7.6%
  • 90+ minutes– 13.7%

In the same questionnaire, cell leaders were asked whether their group had multiplied and, if so, how many times. Those who spent 90 minutes or more in daily devotions multiplied their groups twice as much as those who spent less than half an hour.

The correlation is a logical one. During quiet times alone with the living God, the cell leader hears God’s voice and receives His guidance. In those still moments, the leader understands how to deal with the constant talker, how to wait for a reply to a question, or how to minister to a hurting member of the group. Cell leaders moving under God’s guidance have an untouchable sense of direction and leadership. Group members respond to a leader who hears from God and knows the way. God brings success. This statistical study is simply further proof of that.

Daily devotional time is the single most important discipline in the Christian life. During that daily time, Jesus transforms us, feeds us, and gives us new revelation. On the other hand, not spending sufficient time with God can bring the agony of defeat. How often have we raced out of the house, hoping to accomplish a little bit more, only to return bruised, depressed, and hurt? When we start the day without time with our Lord, we lack power and joy to face the demands of life.

For more information on this important topic, check out my my book, An Appointment with the King




The Antithesis to a Miserable Life

What you call your cell groups says a lot about what you are trying to accomplish through cell life.  My church family’s cell groups are called HEART groups (H- Home, E-  Encouragement, A-  Accountability, R-  Relationship, T-  Teaching).  In this post, I want to concentrate on the Big “E”– Encouragement.

My pastoral team recently attended an interactive, experiential leadership conference.  You deliberate with a small group of individuals for a few days which leads a participant to a deeper level of how he/she is wired in the leadership realm.  As my team shared about their experience, it was evident that they “lit up” when they discussed how they had been ENCOURAGED by their fellow group members.

Years ago, the overseers of my church utlilized Leadership Catalyst’s affirmation exercise.  It’s a simple exercise in which you focus on one individual and spend a concentrated amount of time affirming him.  I’ll never forget one of the overseers saying, “Thank you gentlemen.  I’ve waited all my life to hear those words and I’ll never forget them.”  His life changed because of the power of encouragement. 

Recently, I ran across a list entitled “How to be Perfectly Miserable.”  I don’t know the origin of the list, but I do want to share it with you.  Here’s a few things you can do that will not only make you perfectly miserable but also keep you that way.

1.  Think about yourself, 2.  Talk about yourself, 3.  Use the personal pronoun “I” as often as possible in your conversation, 4.  Mirror yourself continually in the opinion of others, 5.  Listen greedily to what people say about you, 6.  Insist on consideration and respect, 7.  Demand agreement with your own views on everything, 8.  Sulk if people are not grateful to you for favors shown them, 9.  Never forget a service you may have rendered, 10.  Expect to be appreciated, 11.  Be suspicious, 12.  Be sensitive to slights, 13.  Be jealous and envious, 14.  Never forget a criticism, and 15.  Trust noboby but yourself.

Sounds like a pathway to a miserable life, eh?  Here’s my point.  Cell gathering and cell life are incredible platforms for encouragement to flow.   “Encourage one another.”  Yes, this is a simple but powerful command from scripture.  God is the “lifter of our head.”  How God wants to use you to lift up the head of your fellow cell member!

A journeyman walking down a miserable path is inward focused.  He’s not others-centered.  One will never find himself until he/she focuses on the needs of others.

Allow your cells to teem with encouragement. 



Jesus and the Cell Church

As I said in my newsletter this month, Jesus, not structure is the key to cell church success. And the key way to commune with Jesus is through prayer. Prayer is the power behind the cell church. Prayer should never be categorized as a program. It’s beyond that. I believe prayer and missions provide the air that the church breathes. All of the growing cell churches I studied made prayer their priority. They emphasized prayer both in the cell and in the celebration. These churches organized morning prayer meetings, half-night prayer meetings, all night prayer meetings, or other types of organized prayer.

A few weeks ago, I ate lunch with David and Ty King, the pastors at York Alliance Church in York, PA. Ty King is passionate about prayer and has done an excellent job of promoting prayer at York Alliance. She asked me if I could give her advice about prayer in the cell church. My answer was to check out the prayer ministry at Cypress Creek Church (pastor Rob Campbell, also a board member at JCG).

I’ve taken two groups of pastors to Cypress Creek Church. Both times, I came away energized by the power of God through prayer. When this church was first started in 1994, the very first person they hired was Cecilia Belvin, the pastor of prayer. Cecilia has developed likeminded prayer warriors at CCC. Today, Cypress Creek Church has one of the most vital prayer ministries I have ever encountered. God has blessed this church abundantly because they’ve placed Him first.

Here at Wellspring we have a weekly Wedneday evening prayer meeting and a once per month half-night prayer meeting. Of course, the cells engage in regular prayer as well.

Why do you believe that the power behind the cell church is Jesus and His work through prayer? 
Joel Comiskey

The Strength of Smaller Cells

Most cell churches need fine-tuning. The one main critique I offered to York Alliance Church was that their cell groups were too large. Most of these cells had 15-20 adults and were in need of multiplication. I challenged them to envision thirty-five cells and to make the vision a reality as soon as possible. As I shared in Wednesday’s blog, I loved the actual cell meeting at York Alliance and I’ve been boasting in the incredible things that God is doing.

Yet, unless a beautiful vine is trimmed, it’s very difficult to continue bearing fruit (John 15). Here are few dangers of overly larger cell groups:

1. No desire to invite newcomers. When a cell has 15 adults or more, there is simply no desire among members to make it more crowded by inviting their non-Christian or unchurched friends–or even inviting those who are attending the Sunday service but are not in a cell group. It’s simply too large. And who would want to host such a large cell? Thus, the unspoken thinking among members is let’s keep this cell manageable by not inviting anyone else. Thus, large cells actually hinder the overall cell growth of the congregation.

2. Harder to lead a large cell. When a cell is too large, it becomes a harder task to actually lead it. It simply takes more time to prepare, call the members, etc., etc. Thus, those who are leading large cells will often want to step down to try an easier ministry after awhile.

3. Doesn’t model simplicity of facilitation in leadership. Another more subtle consequence of a large cell is that future leaders won’t easily step up to the plate. Potential leaders might feel like they’re not the “leader type.” In the mind of a potential leader, it appears that leading a cell requires a certain charisma, organizational skill, etc., etc. Thus, if the groups are too big, fewer potential leaders will volunteer to lead future multiplications.

4. Community suffers. Shy Mary won’t talk much in a larger cell group. She just doesn’t feel comfortable. She will speak in a group of 5-10 adults, but just doesn’t feel comforgable in a larger atmosphere.

The average size of our cell groups in Ecuador was 7.5. I was in one famous cell church that multiplied their cells at ten people. Our groups here at Wellspring are also smaller. The strength of smaller cells include:

1. Each member has to work harder to reach out. Yes, there’s some pain involved, but the growth can only go upward. There’s always room for that open chair and the new invitee. In fact, smaller cells long for growth.

2. New leadership will more readily step up to the plate. It’s far easier to lead a group of eight people than one with 15-20.

3. Shy Mary feels extremely comfortable in sharing. Thus, community is sweeter

4. Hosting the cell is more manageable.

I believe that leadership development (mulitplying disciples who make disciples) is at the heart of cell leadership. Christ’s plea in Matthew 9:37-38, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. 38 Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”