Monday, April 16, 2012

One Accord Acronym: LAYER

This past weekend I was at a Moms in Prayer State Getaway.  At one point we were asked to split into groups, together answer an assigned question and report back to the whole group.  My group's Question in part was:  How do we pray in One Accord?  
Right away a mom spoke up, "We need lots of mom brains on this one because it is a difficult question!"
I agree, it is!  So I came up with an Acronym that makes the "how" a bit more clear.  But before that, let’s make sure we all know what it exactly means to pray in Once Accord.
Moms in Prayer groups pray in One Accord.  Many of us are use to monologue style prayers from a podium and/or our personal prayers offered up in our own quite time.  Because of this it is easy for us moms to pray in the same way we typically pray from a podium and/or in our quite time when praying at a Moms in Prayer gathering.  But when we pray in a group it is shared interceding prayer time that reflects more than a single perspective and/or style.  It's praying together in One Accord, which uses an entirely different prayer muscle.
Some people describe One Accord Prayers as Conversational prayers.  This is a great way to put it because the idea of conversing is easy for us chatty lady types to grasp.  It's sort of like a chat in the coffee shop... but better!
For more on One Accord being similar but better than the coffee shop... For scriptures that support One Accord... click here:
Because most of us know how to chit chat, it is not impossible to transfer that know-how and pray in One Accord.  Not impossible, and yet inevitable that our other praying muscles (which are stronger if used more often) tries to take over now and again.
The way in which we can strengthen our conversational prayer muscle is to use it!  Moms in Prayer groups gives all moms the opportunity to use it.
How do we pray in One Accord?  It’s time for the LAYER acronym!  After a “hot” winter it has been a bit chili these past few days.  And yet I know that any day a cold morning could turn into a hot afternoon.  Rather than commit to winter clothing, I have found myself having to LAYER.  What is that?  Well, a LAYER is one of several items of clothing worn one on top of the other.  That way I can adjust to how the day’s weather decides to play out.  In the morning chill I love the feeling of getting warm, LAYER by LAYER.
You know, it’s sort of like what we do at Moms in Prayer gathering when we pray in One Accord.  We warm our mommy hearts and spirits as we together, LAYER our prayer requests.  Let’s take a moment to really reflect on the gift it is when we LAYER.
LAYER acronym
L isten
A dd on
Y ield
E asy does it
R espect
Here is what makes it so special:
L: Listen!  Our moms listen and don’t gossip.  During our prayer time, moms can pray a concern they might have about one of their children or about the school their child attends, which is presenting a request to the group and to God in an attitude of prayer.  That gives the group a chance to really listen, also in an attitude of prayer, leaving no room for chit chat or gossip.  Right away hearts are praying along with the mom that is making the request.  When that prayer request is being made, the other moms stop and really hear the request.  100% listening as appose to half-way listening by thinking about the request they might have in their own head.  Moms truly absorb what is being said.  The “L” represents moms that are in the moment and listening.
A:  Add-on!  That is what LAYERing is all about.  Moms who have listened to a request can then add-on if they wish to, or said another way, agree like they would do in any good conversation.  “Yes and...”  When moms add-on they are praying a new perspective or a new angle in covering that request.  Let’s say that a prayer request represents the first layer... the undergarments.  Once the undergarments are on, no matter if they are granny panties or thongs, it’s time to move on to the next layer.  Some moms speak a request and have no idea what to cover it with.  We all know the “I have a closet full of clothes with nothing to wear” syndrome.  Another mom may have the perfect thing to wear.  It’s the burning in a mom’s stomach that might just be the Holly Spirit asking her to add-on her unique perspective to her friend’s prayer request.
Y: Yield!  This is not a one man act.  After adding on a unique perspective moms yield to each other allowing others to have the chance to add-on too, if they wish to.  One single mom is not the only one with a prayer closet full of spirit-led perspectives.  If one mom provides the cardigan, another provides the scarf.  There may be a mom that has many hats in her closet, she’s the one to add a hat as appose to the mom who does not even own one.  Not one mom at a Moms in Prayer group should ever feel the need to dominate the LAYERing.  Praying one angle or perspective and then yielding is what makes the time so unique and all together different than praying on our own or listening to someone else pray in front of a podium at Church.  LAYERed prayers are not monologue style prayers. They yield to traffic and yield to the Holy Spirit.  3-4 sentences is just fine.  If a moms has a perfect "skirt" prayer she will get a chance to share it because there are no solo fashion designers hopping in with a "shirt", "skirt" and "leggings" prayers all at the same time.  Moms that feel themselves praying more than one perspective in one breath will stop and yield.  Plus there is never any pressure to HAVE to talk at all.  The request is being covered with what is said out loud and with what is prayed silently.  Everyone is a part of the blessing of covering a prayer request by yielding.
E: Easy does it! Moms don’t let the request stay cold, shivering from lack of LAYERS.  At a Moms in Prayer group a mom can be assured that her concerns are not blinked away, but the group takes time to really cover each subject with maybe 3-5 LAYERS before moving on.  One accord prayers stay on-subject by not moving on to a new request too quickly.  Now only God knows how much layering each request needs and which garments from which closets will be best.  That is why the Holy Spirit guides the time.  We do watch the clock to honor the 1 hour, but there is no need to rush a request by letting it walk out the door with only one sock and no shoes.  Easy does it!  Moms in Prayer moms pause before moving on so that they can be sure that the request is nice and warm.
R: Respect!  Finally, Moms in Prayer moms respect each other.  This is not a fashion show.  Moms can jump right out of the prayer and into their own head if they judge the look of a request and/or the look of each LAYER.  Moms in Prayer moms are unified and supportive.  There are a variety of things that weigh heavy on moms hearts, this is a time to lay them at Jesus’ feet no matter how trivial they may seem.  Moms are all different and unique in their prayer styles as well, one style is not better than the other.  One likes to pray jeans while another might pray slacks.  They are both pants.  The jeans mom doesn’t need to cover the slacks up with jeans.  Moms respect the fact that we are all coming together with one purpose and one goal.  To pray for our children and their school.
LAYERing enhances conversational prayer.  It warms us up and keeps us warm.  Reflecting on how we come together as a group makes me so grateful that we have a space and time carved out each week that fulfills a part of our prayer life that we just can’t fulfill on our own.  Without this group I would never sit down on my own for one hour a week to pray for my children and their schools that would also somehow include unique perspectives beyond my own.  It’s just not possible.  There is no way I could dress up my concerns on my own as perfectly as our group of praying moms can while we LAYER.  
Would you like to strengthen One Accord muscles by LAYERing it up with a group of moms?  You can be the example!  You can help guide moms to LAYER request with prayer, one on top of the other.  Moms will follow your lead.  As an Area Coordinator for Moms in Prayer International many leaders come to me with these questions:  How do we guide our moms in one accord prayer?  How do we become a good example to the women who are very comfortable, talkative prayer warriors that may be pure in their desire but unaware that they are dominating the time?  How do we become a good example to the quite or shy prayer warriors who may not even know that they are a prayer worrier and can be easily intimidated?
The answer:  Share it and Practice it!
You can present the LAYER acronym to a group of praying moms.  Here is a link to a description of how to LAYER the Prayer:
Print it and pass it out, or forward the link in an email as a fun encouragement!  Say, “We are going to try to pray in One Accord this week.”
Remember, a four year old learns how to get dressed by the modeling and guided help from a mom.  A toddler can never dress them self if a mom tells them to get dressed, gives little to no step-by-step directions, steps back and watches them fail.  The LAYER acronym provides the step-by-step instructions that are needed.
Mom may know how to dress their toddler and can do it better and faster.  But a four-year-old never learns if their mom never lets them try.  Share One Accord prayer and also model it (which uses a one-hour prayer slot quite effectively).  Although many moms may have been dressing themselves in their prayer lives for years, many of them may need an example on how to LAYER as a member of a group that prays in One Accord.  Remember that One Accord praying is a different prayer muscle than the one we use in our individual prayer closets.  Modeling it gives others the chance to practice it too.
Here is Sally, Jane and Mary LAYERing Sally’s concern with short and sweet sentences:
     Sally:  Lord, I want to pray for my son who is having difficulties with a particular friend.  He has said something to a mutual friend that really hurt my son.
     Jane: I agree with Sally, and may he not be one to stir up strife but may he be a peace maker.  May he not go forward with a heart of revenge or hold bitterness in his heart. 
     Mary:  Yes and may this friend be able to take responsibility and because of this situation be able to experience true forgiveness.
And don’t “fear” if you don’t “hear”...  silent slots are OK during One Accord prayers.
As you feel the chill in the mornings and enjoy the feeling of warming up LAYER by LAYER, may that remind you of the warmth that only One Accord prayer can bring to a moms heart.  You never know when the “weather” might take a turn... we are not created to handle everything on our own.  Praying in One Accord by LAYERing is the way to go!

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