Dr. J. Gordon Henry stays in touch through a laptop computer during his travel around the globe.
He is celebrating his fifty-sixth year of ministry in 2009 —twenty-seven years as a pastor and twenty-nine years conducting prayer seminars.
What is a Prayer Seminar?
The prayer seminar is an in-depth seminar that teaches the importance of a proper and effective prayer life for the Christian and demonstrates the spiritual impact every Christian can generate through prayer. It can be used with an entire congregation or with smaller groups. It lends itself well to retreat settings. In addition to prayer, various aspects of the Christian life are included such as Bible reading, Spirit-filled living, witnessing, and stewardship.
When did it begin?
The term "prayer seminar" was first used in October 1980 although I had been teaching about prayer since 1977.
Have there been many?
There had been 1,270 seminars. Since 1984, our goal has been to conduct fifty seminars a year.
Where have seminars been conducted?
In forty-six states, the District of Columbia, and fifty-five nations. I have traveled well over two million miles to conduct the seminars. Most have been in local churches, but there have been seminars in colleges, retreat centers, and area-wide gatherings of various types.
Is the seminar denominational in tone?
No, the prayer seminar is biblically based and is available for all believers. Seminars have been conducted with Baptist (various groups), Christian & Missionary Alliance, Brethren, Free Brethren, Grace Brethren, Free Methodist, Southern Methodist, United Methodist, Presbyterian, Mennonite, Assembly of God, Conservative Congregational, Christian, Pentecostal, Evangelical Free, Reformed, Nazarene, Brethren, and independent Bible churches.
What is the format?
The prayer seminar requires six hours of teaching time. Although we have followed a variety of scheduling formats, we have found that there is greater impact on a Sunday than any other day. For a Sunday sermon, we suggest the theme will be "A Day in God's Courts" (Psalm 84:10).
What is a typical Sunday schedule?
Use both Sunday school and morning worship time to teach with a goal of providing at least 100 minutes of teaching time. Provide a lunch at the church. Teach from 1:00 to 5:30 p.m. with no evening service. A variation is an afternoon session from 3:00-5:30 with a light supper. Conclude the seminar with a session from 6:00 to 8:30 p.m.
Will people attend afternoon sessions?
Most pastors are pleasantly surprised at the strong response in the afternoon and evening. When believers see that the content of the seminar is something that will help them, they will often rearrange their priorities to attend. It is important for proper preparation to enable every person to understand the nature of the seminar.
What is the cost?
The prayer seminar is a faith ministry that trusts God to provide the financial needs through local churches and individuals. Therefore, we do not charge a set fee. Basically, participants are encouraged to contribute a one-time gift through the church love offering for the prayer seminar ministry as the Lord leads. We depend upon this financial support to maintain the prayer seminar ministry.
In addition, there are two specific expenses we need help to cover:
- Workbooks. Each participant seventh grade and above receives a the prayer seminar workbook that serves as the basic teaching tool. It is imperative for each person to have a personal copy for note-taking and for future use. Although it is not mandatory, we suggest a $5 contribution to defray the printing cost.
- Travel. Beyond the free-will love offering mentioned above, assistance with travel expense is helpful. For auto expense, we suggest forty cents a mile. When air travel is necessary, we purchase early to keep the cost reasonable. Generally tickets range between $250-$400. However, travel cost should not discourage any church or group from scheduling a prayer seminar if the Lord leads. We will work with you.
How do I schedule?
What help is given in preparation?
We provide planning materials including a guidesheet, planning guides, and sample publicity (including letters and flyers).
Do you feel a pastor should give a whole Sunday for the seminar?
Indeed, I do. Many have reported that the impact of the one-day seminar has had greater effect than a week's revival services. It is awesome and humbling to see how the Holy Spirit moves to use the Word of God to magnify the Lord Jesus Christ to the glory of the Father and to bring renewal in the lives of believers.