Men, this may hurt a little bit. Pastors, I think it should hurt a little bit. But here is something I’ve observed after being to a handful of womens’ conferences and quite a few pastors’ conferences. Care to guess which one has a more obvious reliance on prayer? Care to guess which kind of conference is more obviously marked by prayer before the conference, praying during the conference and prayer on behalf of those who attend?
I have been to at least 10 or 12 pastors’ conferences now, including most of the major ones that cater to this Reformed world. There is prayer there, to be sure, but these conferences are by no means marked by prayer. I don’t think too many people walk away from them and remember the prayer; they remember the sermons, the sessions, the teaching. I’m glad they remember the teaching. But I’ve long observed that prayer seems like something of an afterthought for so many of them.
One thing I’ve loved to see at True Woman is the very obvious reliance on prayer. This conference is soaked in prayer, bathed in it. Early on they introduced a crowd of men who have come here specifically to pray (and some of whom have done this at each of the True Woman conferences this year).These men come here on their own time and on their own buck. They have prayed by name for each of the 4,000 women attending and are continuing to do so through the event. They are collecting prayer cards every day and praying for those needs–needs the women have identified or the needs of the families the women have left behind for these three days. In an isolated little room, these men are on their knees (literally), praying for hours every day. While the women worship and learn and fellowship, the men are praying for them, laboring in prayer.
This isn’t an easy ministry. Nor is it a visible one; nor is it one whose results are easily seen. And yet they are committed to it. It’s all kinds of awesome. I wanted to talk to one or two of them, but it’s kind of hard to do because, well, they’re praying. I stuck my head into the room just a few moments ago and they were all on their knees. They didn’t look like they wanted to talk.
But there’s more prayer than that. Later tonight, from 10 until 11:30, there will be a concert of prayer, a time dedicated to confession, intercession and praise. Before sessions women are kneeling in prayer, praying corporately. During sessions the speakers are calling for the women to get together in small groups to pray for one another’s children, focusing on those who are unsaved. There are prayer rooms around the building (and they are being used).
The fact is, you can’t come here and miss the prayer. And it strikes me as I see this that the same cannot be said of most of the pastors’ conferences I’ve been to. That seems a shame, doesn’t it?