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"Prayer Coach" author James Nicodem shares thoughts -- and book

Wed, 09 Dec 2009 - 2:45 PM CST

Recently, National Prayer Center Director John Maempa spoke with Dr. James Nicodem, pastor of Christ Community Church in St. Charles, Illinois, for the "Interviews on Prayer" segment at www.prayer.ag.org. The interview focuses on the need to strengthen personal and corporate prayer and how that can be accomplished.

Nicodem launched Christ Community Church with six couples in 1984; the church now numbers more than 5,000 members on various campuses. Nicodem attributes a strong focus on prayer as a key factor in the life and growth of the church. This focus serves as a backdrop for Nicodem's recent book, Prayer Coach. A "kicker" following the title captures the book's focus: "For all who want to get off the bench and onto the praying field."

"Prayer Coach is one of the most engaging and practical books on prayer I have read," states Maempa. "It is filled with practical insights and how-to's that will coach readers in their personal prayer life and help develop a strong culture of prayer in the local church."

Overcoming Obstacles to Prayer

In partnership with Gospel Publishing House, Crossway Books and the NPC, content from the first two chapters of Prayer Coach has been extracted for the 2010 Week of Prayer booklet titled Overcoming Obstacles to Prayer. The Week of Prayer typically is observed during the first week of January though some churches schedule the observance at other times.

Information about Overcoming Obstacles to Prayer, other Week of Prayer resources including a poster, bulletin covers, bookmarks, Prayer Coach, and more can found by visiting, www.prayer.ag.org, www.gospelpublishing.com or by calling 1-800-641-4310.

Among many insights shared in the interview, Nicodem states, "We tend to see prayer very 'transactionally.' We come to God with our lists and if we don't have anything on our list, we don't pray. If something is pressing us and we want to get something from God, then we pray.

"We need to approach prayer relationally. Jesus said in John 15 that we are to remain in Him and He is to remain in us. Then He says that if we ask whatever we will, He will give it to us.

"We must remember, however, that the promise to answer prayer is premised upon the fact that we're remaining in Christ, that our relational bond is growing deeper and bearing fruit. God wants us to desire more of Him before we get more from Him."

Nicodem notes further that while there are many books on prayer that relate why we should pray, the theology of prayer, stories of great prayers, etc., there are not a lot of books that convey the how-to's of prayer. Maempa states that Prayer Coach and the Week of Prayer booklet, Overcoming Obstacles to Prayer, will provide tremendous help for any who are seeking to strengthen prayer personally and corporately.

The full interview with Nicodem can be accessed by clicking the "Interviews on Prayer" banner on the NPC's home page.

 


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Recently, National Prayer Center Director John Maempa spoke with Dr. James Nicodem, pastor of Christ Community Church in St. Charles, Illinois, for the "Interviews on Prayer" segment at www.prayer.ag.org. The interview focuses on the need to strengthen personal and corporate prayer and how that can be accomplished.

Nicodem launched Christ Community Church with six couples in 1984; the church now numbers more than 5,000 members on various campuses. Nicodem attributes a strong focus on prayer as a key factor in the life and growth of the church. This focus serves as a backdrop for Nicodem's recent book, Prayer Coach. A "kicker" following the title captures the book's focus: "For all who want to get off the bench and onto the praying field."

"Prayer Coach is one of the most engaging and practical books on prayer I have read," states Maempa. "It is filled with practical insights and how-to's that will coach readers in their personal prayer life and help develop a strong culture of prayer in the local church."

Overcoming Obstacles to Prayer

In partnership with Gospel Publishing House, Crossway Books and the NPC, content from the first two chapters of Prayer Coach has been extracted for the 2010 Week of Prayer booklet titled Overcoming Obstacles to Prayer. The Week of Prayer typically is observed during the first week of January though some churches schedule the observance at other times.

Information about Overcoming Obstacles to Prayer, other Week of Prayer resources including a poster, bulletin covers, bookmarks, Prayer Coach, and more can found by visiting, www.prayer.ag.org, www.gospelpublishing.com or by calling 1-800-641-4310.

Among many insights shared in the interview, Nicodem states, "We tend to see prayer very 'transactionally.' We come to God with our lists and if we don't have anything on our list, we don't pray. If something is pressing us and we want to get something from God, then we pray.

"We need to approach prayer relationally. Jesus said in John 15 that we are to remain in Him and He is to remain in us. Then He says that if we ask whatever we will, He will give it to us.

"We must remember, however, that the promise to answer prayer is premised upon the fact that we're remaining in Christ, that our relational bond is growing deeper and bearing fruit. God wants us to desire more of Him before we get more from Him."

Nicodem notes further that while there are many books on prayer that relate why we should pray, the theology of prayer, stories of great prayers, etc., there are not a lot of books that convey the how-to's of prayer. Maempa states that Prayer Coach and the Week of Prayer booklet, Overcoming Obstacles to Prayer, will provide tremendous help for any who are seeking to strengthen prayer personally and corporately.

The full interview with Nicodem can be accessed by clicking the "Interviews on Prayer" banner on the NPC's home page.

 


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A Centennial Pilgrimage to Hot Springs

Thu, 17 Apr 2014 - 10:36 AM CST

ELT and EP photo in Hot Springs
Holding a historic picture from the 1914 gathering in Hot Springs, current members of the Assemblies of God Executive Leadership Team and some Executive Presbyters pose in the same place as the original photo.

Approximately 300 people gathered in Hot Springs, Arkansas, on April 10-11, 2014, to celebrate the centennial of the Assemblies of God. Echoes from the founding general council, where another 300 ministers gathered in the same place exactly 100 years earlier, could be heard throughout the two-day event.

The centennial celebration, sponsored by the AGTrust, featured seven speakers and a night of gospel music and worship. The celebration concluded with a pilgrimage to the site of the former Opera House, where the first general council was held, to re-create the iconic photograph of the founders of the Assemblies of God.

One hundred years ago, Hot Springs had a reputation as a wild town, known for its alcohol, prostitution, gangs and drugs. When the founders of the Assemblies of God met at the Hot Springs Opera House for the first general council, they had to pass by the saloon at the front of the building in order to attend the meetings in the auditorium. The centennial celebration was held in a more sanctified setting — the spacious First Assembly of God, Hot Springs, Arkansas.

The centennial celebration drew people from across the United States. Jean and Magalie Rebecca, a husband and wife who pastor Haitian Assembly of God, Dorchester, Massachusetts, were excited to be able to participate: "We grew up in the Assemblies of God in Haiti. The Assemblies of God is a worldwide family, and we wanted to represent Haitians in Hot Springs."

Attendees also included descendants of some of the participants in the first general council, held April 2-12, 1914. Bonnie Olsen, the granddaughter of founding Assemblies of God minister Oliver P. Brann, felt right at home. She commented, "I experienced faith-filled services and the power of God this week. I wish I could experience this every day!"

General Superintendent George O. Wood opened the celebration on Thursday by recounting the five reasons for the formation of the Assemblies of God as enumerated in the century-old "Call to Hot Springs." Each speaker continued in this vein, expounding on why the founding principles of the Assemblies of God remain compelling today. Greg Mundis, executive director of Assemblies of God World Missions, shared about the heritage of missionaries who suffered, sometimes unto death, to bring the gospel around the world. Assistant General Superintendent Alton Garrison preached on the bedrock importance of the Word of God.

Hot Springs prayer
Many men and women came forward for healing during the centennial service held at First Assembly of God in Hot Springs.

True to Pentecostal form, the afternoon service included an extended time at the altar. Hundreds of voices were raised in fervent prayer, and people flooded the altars and aisles in the church. Following a time of prayer for specific areas of ministry, Garrison asked those present in need of healing to come forward for prayer. Vocal spiritual gifts were manifested, and several people later testified of physical healings.

Wilfredo de Jesús, pastor of New Life Covenant Church, Chicago, Illinois, encouraged those who are carrying on the Pentecostal legacy to fight complacency in their spiritual lives. "It is essential to build a bridge," he asserted, "so that the younger generation can learn about the power of the Holy Spirit from the older generation." He illustrated this principle with the biblical example of Elijah, the older prophet, who discipled Elisha, the younger prophet. De Jesús pointedly observed, "Elijah and Elisha were from different generations, but they walked together."

Thursday evening, gospel musicians Johnny Minick and Russ Taff led participants in three hours of rousing worship. The music included songs from each decade of the last 100 years. About 40 people - including Wood and Garrison — even participated in a Jericho March, which is a spirited procession around the church in a single file during the worship service. The practice originated in Kentucky Presbyterian camp meetings during the Second Great Awakening and had been adopted by some early Pentecostals.

On Friday morning, three younger ministers spoke — Rod Loy (First Assembly, North Little Rock, Arkansas), Rob Ketterling (River Valley Church, Apple Valley, Minnesota) and Aaron Cole (Life Church, Milwaukee, Wisconsin). They described how Assemblies of God founding ideals are being carried out today and also envisioned the future of the Fellowship.

Following the Footsteps of the AG Founding Members
Attendees of the centennial event make their way up to where the iconic "photo of 300" of the original founders of the Assemblies of God was taken in 1914. Once there, a new centennial photo was taken in the exact same place, re-creating the century-old photo.

The celebration culminated in a pilgrimage to the site where the Hot Springs Opera House once stood. The 300 attendees viewed the new plaque in honor of the Assemblies of God centennial, which was placed in the sidewalk near Mountain Valley Spring Company, located at 150 Central Avenue. They proceeded to climb the winding trail behind the site of the former Opera House until they reached a small clearing where the iconic photograph from the first general council had been taken.

J. Don George, an Assemblies of God senior statesman and founding pastor of Calvary Church, Irving, Texas, called the centennial event in Hot Springs "a historic occasion that will be long remembered." He noted that the event was relatively small in comparison to the larger centennial celebration slated to be held in Springfield, Missouri, on August 5-10, 2014, in conjunction with the World Assemblies of God Congress. "As a movement we are called to generational, gender, cultural and racial diversity," George stated. When thousands of visitors from across the United States and the world descend on Springfield in August, this diversity will be on full display.

Commemorative Plaque
A commemorative plaque, indicating the historic location of the site of the founding convention of the Assemblies of God, was placed in the sidewalk on Central Avenue in Hot Springs.

The men and women who met in Hot Springs 100 years ago laid a foundation for a cooperative fellowship that would help Pentecostals to more effectively evangelize the world. One hundred years later, with over 3.1 million adherents in the United States and over 66 million worldwide, the World Assemblies of God Fellowship has become the second largest Protestant family of churches in the world (after the Anglican Communion).

The centennial gathering offered both a celebration of the past century and a vision for the future. According to George O. Wood, the Assemblies of God, throughout its history, "has been marked by purpose and passion." He explained, "Our purpose is embedded in our doctrine, mission, values and strategies. Our passion comes from the work of the Holy Spirit who continues to empower us to do the greatest work of evangelism the world has ever seen." Wood predicted, "The future for the Assemblies of God is truly as bright as the promises of God."

 

 

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