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Americans tend to be self-focused in their prayer life, asking God for personal desires more often than people in crisis or the unsaved, according to a recent survey from Nashville, Tennessee-based LifeWay Research.

"Most people pray when they need the red phone for help," says Ed Stetzer, executive director of LifeWay Research. "But their prayer life isn't a habit rooted in a relationship with God."

John Maempa, director of the AG Office of Prayer and Spiritual Care, says, "While for many people praying tends to be a pragmatic means to an end, according to Scripture we are invited to ask for things we need and perhaps even want (Psalm 37:4; Matthew 6:33; 7:7; etc.). However, the key to effective prayer is relationship — drawing close to God so He can draw close to us."

In the online survey, Americans spend the most time focusing on friends and family (82 percent of all respondents) as well as their own problems (74 percent). Just over half (54 percent) pray for good things to happen in their life, while more than one third (36 percent) ask God to bless them with future prosperity.

"James Nicodem, in his book 'Prayer Coach,' states that Jesus readily responds to our prayers when we 'start to value our relationship more than our requests; until we want more of Him than we want from Him.'" Maempa observes. "When we're in proper alignment with God's relationally, we are more inclined to pray His will than focus on things we want."

But not all prayers are self-centered. Americans say they also spend time petitioning God about their own sin (42 percent), those in natural disasters (38 percent), people of other religions or no faith (20 percent), and government leaders (12 percent).

And as Jesus' taught, 41 percent say they have prayed for those who mistreat them while 37 percent acknowledge praying for enemies.

On the other hand, 21 percent admit to asking God to win a lottery, 13 percent have sought the Almighty's help for their favorite team to win a game, and 7 percent have wanted God's favor in finding a good parking space.

About half of Americans (48 percent) say they pray at least every day, while a third (31 percent) say they pray repeatedly during the day.

Authors: Pentecostal Evangel and AG News


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AG National Leadership and Resource Center restructuring to better resource churches, reach new generation

Thu, 12 Apr 2012 - 3:41 PM CST

The Assemblies of God National Leadership and Resource Center in Springfield, Missouri, today announced a staff right-sizing as part of a strategic restructuring of its organization, including an ongoing transition from print to digital resources to more efficiently and effectively serve its churches and ministry partners. This process resulted in position eliminations and lay-offs affecting 47 employees at the national office.

"Knowing this difficult, but prayerful decision is the best course to build a foundation in support of the future viability of our worldwide fellowship does not dampen the difficulty of informing these valued employees, who have served the ministry well for many years," said Dr. George O. Wood, Assemblies of God general superintendent.

"We have always valued, and will continue to cherish the contributions of all our staff," Wood added. "This was a necessary business decision affected by culture and technology of which we have been aware for months, and hoped would turn around. But we are overstaffed and equipped in some areas, and this is a necessary step to reallocate resources for the continued positive health and growth of our mission and ministry services."

"The new structure will better support the efficient operations of the overall organization while facilitating the most effective process of each layer within the ministry working cohesively together. This is part of the vision of the National Leadership and Resource Center to become the premier and predominant resource provider serving the Assemblies of God and the Pentecostal and Charismatic world; while also reaching into the Evangelical community," Wood added.

The Springfield-based Assemblies of God National Leadership and Resource Center employs 830 individuals. The majority of eliminated positions are in the printing department, as the organization shifts from production to programming made necessary by recent industry and technological shifts from the Gutenberg to the Google eras.

"The Executive Leadership Team of the Assemblies of God is constantly looking for ways to be good stewards of the resources and opportunities God has given us," said Sol Arledge Jr., Assemblies of God COO. "This includes a shift in business priorities and services to expand the reach of our resources through electronic means as society is moving away from 'tree books' to e-books."

Recognized as a leader in the publishing field specifically for its Influence Resources and My Healthy Church, this reorganization will allow for continued growth and new positions as advancing technology shapes all aspects of society. With more than 39 percent of the Assemblies of God membership 25 years old and younger, leadership believes this will enable its churches to more effectively reach this growing demographic. This also includes greater emphasis on partnership with other Pentecostal denominations.

"The Assemblies of God is committed to ensuring all employees affected by this restructuring are treated fairly and equitably throughout their transition. This includes a severance package commensurate with years of service, two-month extended insurance coverage, pastoral care and outplacement support," Arledge emphasized.

The Assemblies of God is the world's largest Pentecostal denomination with more than 64 million members worldwide. The Church was organized in 1914 at a convention in Hot Springs, Arkansas, with 300 in attendance. Today, the Assemblies of God is the fastest growing major denomination in the United States with 12,595 churches and over 3 million members and adherents.

Authors: AG News

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