Connecting with God Through Interactive Prayer

 
   
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FAQ: Personal prayer power

1. What is the Personal Prayer Power series?

Personal Prayer Power was created to help you connect more powerfully with God through interactive prayer. The series uses professionally produced DVDs that last 15-17 minutes, hands-on individual experiences using activities in the Action Guide and group discussion. You compare the true life stories and ideas shared by author Karen Barber in the DVDs with your own life. Next you try out new prayer ideas at home to see what works in your own unique life situations using activities from the Action Guide. Then you gather strength and encouragement from others by sharing in lively, thought-provoking group discussions outlined in the Leader's Guide in the back of the Action Guide.

2. Who is PPP designed for?

PPP is designed for you if you're interested in developing more dynamic private prayer times. It doesn't matter if you're new to prayer or if you've been praying for many years. Because the Action Guide focuses on your unique life experiences, there aren't any right or wrong answers. Everyone can enjoy a personalized experience on his or her own level. PPP is for you if you fit into any of these categories:

3. What setting is best for PPP?

PPP is appropriate for Bible study groups, home groups, prayer groups, neighborhood groups, fellowship groups and men and women's groups.

The best PPP setting is a small discussion group that meets for one-and-a-half hours and runs 6 to 12 weeks. Since sessions center on discussion, in groups larger than 12-15 it's recommended that you break into smaller discussion groups so that everyone will have a chance to share their ideas and questions.

A 6 week study would use Disc 1 and a 12 week study would use Discs 1 & 2.
Both 6 week and 12 week studies use the same participant Action Guide.

For information on adapting the PPP series to Sunday School classes, please click on the Resources bar and look under the Series Leader Tips page.

The PPP videos can also be viewed by individuals. If you do choose to view them individually, we stress the importance of doing the prayer activities in the Action Guide just as you would if you were in a group study so that the concepts can be actively used in your own life.

4. What topics are covered each week in the PPP series?

Disc 1 "Finding God's Answer to Every Prayer."
Lessons 1-6

1. Interactive Prayer
2. Presence Answers
3. Word Answers
4. How Prayer Shapes the Future Part 1: Divine Intervention
5. How Prayer Shapes the Future Part 2: Choice and Limits
6. Crisis Praying

Disc 2 "Changing Your Life Through Interactive Prayer"

7. Prayer and Healing
8. How Prayer Changes Attitudes
9. Pathway Praying (The prayer trend of the 21st Century of praying on the go.)
10. Stillness Praying
11. How Prayer Creates Joy (Also includes prayer and depression)

For a description of the content of each session, please click the The Series bar and look under Video Series Chapters page.

Note: It is highly recommended that groups do Disc 1 first if doing both discs because Disc 1 explains the basics of interactive prayer and the three main categories of prayer answers.

During session #12 of a 12 week series the homework results from lesson 11 are discussed but no new video is shown.

5. Is PPP based on the Bible?

Yes, everything shared in PPP is scripturally based. The personal experience stories shared by Karen Barber in each video segment are backed by numerous scriptures which are shown on screen and written in the "Main Ideas from the Video" section of the Action Guide. Many daily activities include a Bible verse. On Day 5 the activity called "Scripture Signposts" centers completely on the Bible and lists a variety of scriptures for you to read and meditate on to discover new ideas from God.

6. How can I order PPP materials or other works by Karen Barber?

To order Karen Barber's works click on the Purchase bar on this website. Items available include the PPP discs, the Action Guide which includes the leader's guide and her books Surprised by Prayer and Ready Set…Wait.

7. Does every participant need his or her own Action Guide or can they be shared?

Since the Action Guides are used daily in personal, private prayer and spaces are provided for writing your unique results and ideas, you'll need your own copy of the Action Guide. The Action Guide is meant to be used as a daily journal/workbook, not simply as supplemental reading material.

8. How important is it to do the daily activities and how much time will they take?

Doing the daily activities is the heart and soul of the series. PPP isn't meant to give you facts and knowledge about prayer. The goal is to make this a living, action based experience where things happen between God and you that will energize your whole life.

Since the activities focus on thinking through your experiences or trying a new prayer idea and then recording what happens, the amount of time spent is up to the individual. Most people can easily do the activities in about 10 minutes as part of their usual daily devotional time.

9. If I miss a group meeting will it be hard to keep up?

Because each PPP session covers a single topic such as Word Answers to prayer or Prayer and Healing, you can miss sessions and still be able to pick up when you return. The Action Guides includes brief outlines of the contents of the videos and there is a resource section that recaps the personal stories shared by Karen Barber in the videos for sessions you miss.

10. What materials are needed for the PPP series?

You will need PPP Disc 1 and/or Disc 2, an Action Guide for each participant, a T.V. with a DVD player and a Bible. The Action Guide is divided into two parts that correspond to the videos in Disc 1 and 2, making it adaptable for both a 6 week class and a 12 week class. The Leader's Guide is located in the back of each Action Guide to facilitate sharing of leadership within a group.

11. What is the role of the Leader in the PPP series?

Leaders in PPP are facilitators who organize the class and lead group discussions. You'll be glad to know that you won't be in a teaching role where you stand behind a podium and give a lecture and you won't go over homework to make sure everyone has the right answer. Instead you'll be a discussion leader. Here are the some of the highlights of your role: The preparation time involved for the leader consists of personally doing all of the daily activities in the Action Guide along with the participants. There are five different days, and this personal reflection and praying can be done in about 10 minutes each day. After you've done the participant activities, actually preparing to lead a PPP session shouldn't take more than 15-20 minutes.

12. Can any of the PPP materials be used alone, such as Action Guides only or videos only?

PPP materials are meant to be used together. Please don't attempt to lead a group without showing the videos because the videos cover material that will help explain what you'll be doing at home during the week.

It's possible to use the videos without the Action Guide, however it will dramatically decrease the interactive component of the series and will turn the class into a place where ideas are dispensed instead of a place where things happen between God and yourself. We can't emphasize enough the importance of going home and trying the suggested prayer activities. This is core power source of the series. Doing the activities allows the Holy Spirit to use the material of your life to help you form a deeper relationship and partnership with God.

13. Are you expected to pray out loud at PPP group meetings?

No, you aren't expected to pray out loud. Studies show that the great majority of us don't feel comfortable praying out loud in groups. PPP emphasizes personal, private prayer. PPP is not a prayer group where it's the main objective to pray for the needs of others. We hope that all leaders will follow our suggestion to limit praying out loud to those who volunteer to say an opening or closing prayer. Our goal is to help everyone enjoy the wonderful freedom of private prayer where God understands what's in your heart even if you can't put it all into words.

14. How can you learn to find an answer to each and every prayer?

The word answer has three different meanings that all have bearing on the way God answers your prayers. The first meaning of answer is a solution or resolution. This is what you typically think of as an answer to prayer because you're praying that your situation will change for the better. You're hoping that God will act and fix your problems. These types of answers are in the category of action answers. However Action Answers aren't the only way God answers. Action Answers are only one of the three main categories of prayer answers.

Experience tells you that when you pray, circumstances don't always change for the better right away. Sometimes things don't ever get better. In fact, Hebrews says of some of the giants of faith, "They did not receive the things promised; the only saw them and welcomed them from a distance." (Hebrews 11:13 NIV)

Therefore, there must be other answers that come when you pray. A second meaning to the word answer is a response. Often God responds by being there with you and letting you know that He cares. This is the category of Presence Answers.

A third meaning of the word answer is a reply. When you pray, God often answers by saying something to you in return. This is the third main category of prayer answers: Word Answers.

In the PPP series you'll learn how to find answers in all of these categories. You'll also learn how God answers in these different categories when you pray about your future, when you're praying during a crisis and when you're praying for healing.

15. How was the idea of the three main categories of prayer answers developed?

When Karen Barber wrote her book Surprised by Prayer she collected true answers to prayer from people all over the country. When she organized the stories she included a chapter entitled "Surprised by Presence" and "Surprised by a Word." In these chapters she analyzed the life experiences, compared them to Scripture and explored the idea of how both Presence and Word answers are powerful yet often overlooked ways God responds when we pray.

While writing the book Karen also decided to try an experiment to find and record 100 personal answers to prayer. The idea of the three main categories of prayer answers – Action, Presence and Word – helped her succeed in her recording 100 answers in 51 days.

During the experiment she numbered prayer answers in her journal and assigned each answer to one of these three categories. She kept on numbering after she reached 100 and over a six year period she recorded over 1,300 different answers to prayer. Through a wide variety of life situations she saw that all answers fit into these three categories. She also found that becoming familiar with the categories helped her discover more answers and made her prayer life more interactive because she was seeing answers daily and hourly instead of waiting weeks and months to see how things eventually turned out.

16. What is interactive personal prayer?

Often prayer is the place where you present requests to God. The idea of interactive prayer is to make prayer "the place where things happen between God and me." That simply means that you pray with the expectation that something new will come to you, whether it be a new idea, an answering thought or a reassurance of God's love and nearness.

17. Is PPP affiliated with any particular denomination?

No, PPP is nondenominational. We respect all traditional Christian prayer practices that you as an individual find personally meaningful in your private prayer times. Please click the About bar and look under the PPP Mission and Vision page to learn more about our core values.

18. What kind of personal experiences does Karen Barber share in the videos?

As a long time contributing editor to Guideposts magazine, Karen's specialty is telling personal experience stories that point out spiritual truths. In PPP Karen honestly shares her career disappointments that were later used by God to show her a new direction and about how God guided her to find the right person to marry.

Karen speaks honestly about being overwhelmed by crisis periods such as the serious illness and death of her elderly father and the complete destruction of her sister Susan's house in a fire.

Karen shares 78 year's worth of different healing answers in her mother's life which included battles with asthma, depression, cancer and stroke. Karen talks about her own struggles to forgive a nurse in a nursing home and how prayer helped her handle her desperate feelings that she wanted to fix the world for her son Chris who sick and facing college midterms.

In addition to the personal experience stories shared in the videos, the Action Guides contain a reading section called "Postcards from the Scenic Route" that tell the true stories of some the amazing people Karen has met who have inspired her and helped her learn about how to prayerfully handle life.

19. How was the PPP material evaluated before production and publication?

The PPP materials underwent the following evaluation process:

The Test of Personal Experience. Karen began by examining her own life by reviewing over 6,000 pages of her journals written over a 25 year period. She asked what problems you encounter with personal prayer including the problem of what seems like unanswered prayer, the old mental picture of how prayer works and how it might be broken, how to find more time to pray in a busy world and how to pray during a crisis when your mental and physical energy is gone. She then set out to see what practical strategies might work to overcome these problems and experimented with a number of ideas and remedies in her own life.

The Test of Biblical Soundness. After gathering ideas and trying new things, Karen studied the Scriptures to make sure that the ideas agreed with the Bible. No material was used that couldn't be backed by Scriptures.

The Focus Group Test. As Karen wrote the scripts she sent them off for evaluation to a group of 6 Christian writers and 3 of their spouses. These included writers from different regions of the country as well as from diverse denominational traditions. This group included: Marion Bond West Acuff and her husband, Dr. Gene Acuff, Marilyn Strube and her husband Joe Strube, Roberta Messner, RN, PhD., Karen Orfitelli, Julie Garmon, Pat Butler Dyson and her husband Jeff Dyson.

This group helped evaluate the scripts for clarity, content, Biblical soundness, interdenominational harmony and whether it rang true when compared to their own life experiences.

The Pilot Program Test. When the initial videos and workbooks were completed, the program was tried out by about 350 members of various adult Sunday School classes at Karen's church. These classes contained a wide array of age groups, professional backgrounds and class formats. The study ran for three months and afterwards participants filled out evaluations that helped identify what concepts worked and which ones didn't.

An outgrowth of this pilot program was the "Postcards from the Scenic Route" section in the Action Guide. This optional reading material came from questions and issues that came up in response to the weekly videos. The "Postcards" tell stories, describe role models and share scriptures that help those wondering about these topics. For instance, the "Postcard" from Session 1 poses this question, "Have you ever compared your prayer life with others who seem to be ‘way up there' and felt like you'd never be able to get up to such a high spiritual level?"

20. Can PPP be used by Sunday School classes?

When PPP was tested out in the Sunday school format most classes found that they wanted more time for discussion than a one hour format allowed. Therefore, the minimum suggested time period is 1.5 hours to allow ample time for discussion and viewing of the video.

However many classes were very successful in using the PPP materials in a Sunday School class setting. These classes used their time wisely and most were already comfortable using a sharing/discussion class format. Please click the Resources bar and look under the Series Leaders Tips page for detailed information on adapting the PPP series to Sunday School classes.

21. Can PPP be used on retreats and weekend settings?

The PPP series topics lend themselves to retreat settings in the following theme groupings:

Finding Answers to Every Prayer: Lessons 1, 2, 3.

Praying About Your Future: Lessons 4, 5.

Becoming Closer to God During Life Problems: Lessons 6, 7.

Developing Dynamic and Practical Personal Prayer Times: Lessons 9, 10.

Specific lesson plans for retreats are currently under development.

22. What is Teen Prayer Power?

Teen Prayer Power is part of the PPP vision of reaching all age levels with appropriate activities, videos and workbooks on how to find an answer to every prayer and how to develop an interactive prayer life.

Teen Prayer Power was used in the pilot program and is currently undergoing further development. It will eventually include videos designed for teens with true stories of answered prayer told by teens as well as teen oriented Action Guides and Leader's Guides.

23. What is Kid's Prayer Power?

Kids Prayer Power is part of the PPP vision of reaching children with the same basic concepts taught to adults in PPP. Kids Prayer Power was tested in the pilot program and is currently undergoing further development. It uses activity/coloring pages and classroom activities to help children use their curiosity and imagination to learn lifelong skills of interacting with God.

24. What is a Prayer Power Church?

The concept of the Prayer Power Church is part of the PPP vision to use the materials on the adult, teen and children's level at the same time to have high impact on families and the entire church. This concept was used in the pilot program and is currently undergoing further development.

25. What is a 100 Answered Prayer Challenge?

A 100 Answered Prayer Challenge is an optional activity for individuals or groups who would like to enjoy seeing God's hand at work as they collect prayer answers by using the three main categories of prayer answers. Each week group members are encouraged to contribute at least one answer to prayer they've personally discovered during the past week. For information on how to do a 100 Answered Prayer Challenge as an individual or as a group, click the Resources bar and then click on the 100 Prayer Experiment page heading.

26. Where was the PPP filmed and who was the cinematographer?

PPP was filmed in Karen Barber's home in keeping with the theme of personal prayer.

The series was directed, filmed, edited and produced by Don Arnold of Cinema Productions. Crew members included Bob Shuford, lighting, Wesley Arnold, sound, Eason and Julie Duncan, teleprompter, Ed Barfield and Jeri Arnold, cutaway shots, Mary Jane Norris, Sherrie Blasiak, Charlene Stamper, Jane Lawrence and Carol Gray, script supervisors, Karen Hughes, wardrobe consultant, John Barber, slate, Gordon Barber, production assistant and Alison Byrnes, caterer.

27. Does Karen Barber accept speaking engagements?

Yes, Karen accepts speaking engagements. Click onto the Contact Us link to inquire. Please be sure to include the dates, location, type of group and the approximate number of participants.

28. What is militaryprayers.org?

When Karen's son Chris was in the Army in Iraq he asked her to send him prayers or devotional thoughts he could use when he prayed with his soldiers before missions. Karen created www.militaryprayers.org so that anyone can submit appropriate prayers, inspiring thoughts and scriptures for those facing dangerous missions. We encourage you to share this website with those you know in the military so they can log on and find a prayer that will help guide and protect them in their daily work.

29. What are Daily Guideposts and Guidepost Magazine and how do I order them?

Daily Guideposts is a yearly daily devotional book with a readership of 750,000 that contains contributions from numerous Christian authors including Karen Barber.

Guideposts Magazine was founded by the late Dr. Norman Vincent Peale and is "America's Source for Inspiration" with millions of monthly readers. It tells true stories of how faith and positive attitudes help people from all walks of life. As a contributing editor, Karen Barber most frequently assists others in telling their stories.

To find out more about Daily Guideposts or Guideposts Magazine, visit www.guideposts.com Daily Guideposts is also available in bookstores and Guideposts Magazine is available via subscription or on select newsstands.

30. How do I get a copy of Marion Bond West's book Praying for My Life mentioned in video # 9 on Pathway praying?

The edition shown on camera may be purchased at www.idealsbooks.com under the inspirational category. The Guideposts edition can be ordered at www.guidepostsbooks.com

In Praying for My Life Marion Bond West Acuff writes with honesty, humor and hope about life experiences that became so overwhelming that her faith was severely tested. Marion recalls the moments in her life such as the death of her husband, facing raising four children alone, learning to say no to an addicted child, and dealing with grown sons with bipolar disorders and life threatening illnesses. In all of these situations she prays the prayer of Habakkuk and finds God powerfully present.

31. In several of the videos Karen refers to her father's emergency surgery and difficult recovery. What was the nature of his illness?

Before his illness, Bob Brown was a vigorous 82 year old who maintained his own home, gardened, cooked his own meals, volunteered at church and drove his own car. When Bob came down with a stomach virus his esophagus became entangled and emergency surgery was performed to save his life. During the surgery, part of Bob's stomach was removed and the esophagus was drastically shortened. The name for this condition is an incarcerated esophagus. After the surgery Bob's ability to eat normally was severely reduced and he was only able to eat small amounts at a time. Several weeks in ICU left him in need of long term physical therapy to regain enough strength and balance to walk again.

Although Bob was never able to return to his normal active life after the surgery, he maintained his sense of humor, his friendly interest in others and his faith.