How God Raised Up Evangelism Prayer Warriors in our Church
By: Jonathan Hanson
A dozen casually dressed believers are seated on sofas, stools, and folding chairs in the living/dining area of a small apartment. Children, young people, and adults have their eyes closed and their hands in the air as they sing and worship God. The youngest of them is singing and praying with just as much boldness and fervency as the elder saint who is seated next to him.
A few minutes later, the deacon in charge of this group asks a teenager to read a quote about prayer from a small slip of paper he has been given. Others are then invited to make comments on the aspect of prayer that has been assigned to this evening’s meeting. The group leader strives to help group members open up and share their thoughts on the subject. The atmosphere is relaxed but expectant.
As the hour unfolds the group leader reads some passages of Scripture and gives some biblical pointers on a particular aspect of prayer. All of this serves to prepare everyone for a time of prayer in which they practice the kind of praying they have been discussing.
Before the evening is over, they have prayed for the sick, burdens have been shared, and intense periods of corporate prayer have transpired. This is their weekly cell group—with a twist. These people have gathered for an “hour of prayer and care” group. It is a weekly prayer clinic where they learn to become prayer warriors. Armed with better prayer skills, these people will be able to effectively minister to their family, friends, and neighbors through prayer.
These believers are in the heart of New England. They realize that a harvest in this area will be realized only when believers learn to have prayer meetings like the early Christians had in Acts 12; when their prayers effectively released Peter from prison. These Apostolics are taking their faith home as did the first-century Christians:
“And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved” (Acts 2:46-47).”
The leader of this group is a deacon who has been trained to facilitate prayer among an assigned group of believers from the local church as well as any guests who have agreed to conic for an hour of prayer, followed by thirty minutes of snacks and fellowship. The deacon uses a hand-sized spiral teacher’s manual that gives him a structure by which to conduct the prayer clinic. The meeting looks a lot like the cottage prayer meeting of the early 1900s, with just a tad more structure and accountability. Throughout the year this group of prayer warriors will not only pray together but also do outreach projects, clean the church building, participate in prayer walks, do street meetings, and sponsor neighborhood get-togethers dedicated to good clean fun and fellowship.
What are the results of prayer groups? In the past five years some individual groups have had over one hundred visitors. Many people have heard about the miracles that are taking place and call them with prayer requests. Not everyone who regularly attends the prayer group attends the sponsoring church, giving the church influence beyond its membership rolls.
Since these prayer groups have been established, the local church has seen better attendance at special events, and the number of people attending prayer groups is similar to the number of people attending Sunday morning services. All-church prayer meetings have been better attended and are more powerful now that people have learned to worship, wait on God, and pray prayers of petition and intercession. Many healings have taken place in people’s living rooms, and several guests have received the gift of the Holy Ghost in these prayer groups.
After just a few weeks in a prayer group, seasoned saints have made comments such as: “I’ve been in the church for twenty years, but I never realized you could pray like that.” Many of these long-term church members are now praying for people in the mall and at work, whereas before they were hesitant to take such steps of faith. Our church is praying with more authority and power than ever, and we have only just begun to pray!