How to Develop a Prayer Team
By Carl Fultz
In many churches throughout the world God is using prayer ministry teams to revive and renew His church.
A prayer ministry team is a group of two to six people committed to praying with hurting people both churched and unchurched. The members, men and women who have strong personal prayer lives and a love for people, work in groups of two or three.
What does a prayer ministry team do?
* Go out and pray with sick and shut-ins
* fray with those who come forward for prayer during or after worship
* Be available for prayer with individuals at specified times during the week
* Be present at healing services or prayer services to pray with individuals
Churches can expect to reap rich spiritual benefits from the work of prayer ministry teams, including:
* Answered prayer
* Freedom from sin
* Increased use of the spiritual gifts, especially the gifts of intercession, faith, and encouragement
* A great openness to the ministry of the Holy Spirit
* A uniting experience of love in the community of Christ
Guidelines for Small-Group Prayer
A while back, I was filled with an intense desire to start a small-group prayer ministry in my church. But when I approached my pastor, I could tell he was less than thrilled. I was puzzled by his response. Shouldn’t a pastor he excited about people praying?
Then I realized that his lack of enthusiasm might have stemmed from negative experiences with “prayer” (also known as gossip) groups in the past.
In order to dispel his fears, I devised a set of guidelines to govern the proposed prayer group. After I submitted the following guidelines to him in writing, he immediately gave me the go-ahead. The guidelines might help you and your own pastor as you propose a church prayer ministry.
What a Small-Group Prayer Ministry Is:
1. A time to pray that the vision God has given our pastor for the church will be accomplished. (Note: If you don’t know your pastor’s vision for the church, ask!)
2. Prayer for the pastor and any needs he has expressed.
3. Prayer for the Sunday service.
4. Prayer for the different ministries and workers within the church.
5. Prayer for needs you’re aware of within the congregation.
6. Prayer for other things God lays on your heart during the prayer time.
What a Small-Group Prayer Ministry Is Not:
1. An attempt to control or manipulate the pastor or any aspect of the church.
2. A time for expressing opinions, thoughts, or feelings regarding the pastor, his family, others within the church, or the church itself.
3. A gripe session or an opportunity to change things in the church we don’t like—either through discussion or “prayer.”
4. A place to develop a spiritual `”clique.”
5. Having these guidelines typed up and ready to distribute to people interested in joining the prayer group will help eliminate problems before they have a chance to develop.
Prayer rooms are important because if used right, they can unite people in prayer. Following are a few examples that may help you plan for a prayer room no matter how much space you have. Why bother with a prayer room? Think of all the “rooms” in your church for office space, classrooms, youth room. music room, maintenance room…they all have equipment or things needed for that particular ministry. Why not a room that facilitates making your church a “house of prayer?”
Corporate Quiet Time
By Wanda G. Schwandt
Last year, a church in Telford. Pennsylvania, decided to try something different for its weekly services. The pastor and elders worked with a writer in the congregation to come up with five one-hour “quiet” prayer sessions for the sanctuary.
Quotes, Scripture, meditations, and questions to stimulate introspection were put together on various prayer-related themes and printed in bulletin form for parishioners to use during the established hour each week. The themes included Quietness, Worship, Humility, Intercession, and Abiding.
Instrumental music played softly in the background as members sat in quiet contemplation, followed the prayer guide, and prayed with an elder if desired.
“Our church is very fellowship oriented,” reports one elder. “We seldom have a quiet sanctuary. This gave me the opportunity to take my personal quiet time into the formal church setting. It felt like the prayers and compassion of worshipers who have prayed there before gave strength to my own.”
Another member commented, “At first I thought, why do I want to come out for prayer when I can pray at home? But I found that praying alongside others was different and heartwarming. Through the quietness, I was very aware of God filling the sanctuary.”
Due to the success of this program, the elders and worship committee are already planning next year’s corporate quiet times.
Prayer without Words
Words help us verbalize what we are feeling, help us process the illusive ideas floating around our brain, and solidify our compassion when interceding for others. We don’t always know what to say or how to pray. We become speechless with intense joy or tremendous sorrow. Can we communicate with God when we struggle to express our innermost thoughts and desires.
We usually pray verbally, both in church and at home. Sometimes we pray out loud: other times we mentally form the sentences within. Words help us verbalize what we are feeling, help us process the illusive ideas floating around our brain, and solidify our compassion when interceding for others. We don’t always know what to say or how to pray. We become speechless in times of intense joy and gratefulness. Then there are times when words don’t seem to be enough, like in time of grief and sorrow. Can we communicate with God on a deeper level when we struggle to express our innermost thoughts and desires?
Words are not always necessary when communicating with our Creator. Prayer is more an attitude of the heart than an exercise of language. The Apostle Paul said, “The Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts know what the mind of the Spirit is, because Ile interceded for the saints according to the will of God.” (Romans 8:26-27 NAS) God’s Spirit searches our hearts and minds and directly connects them to the heart and mind of God. All we need is the desire to communicate with Ilim and the Spirit opens the line.
This gives us great joy because nothing can block our prayers from reaching His ears. Too often we sec God as “out there” while we are bound here to earth. We need to realize that, as Christians, the Spirit of God dwells within us. We do not need to be concerned when we feel our prayers hitting the ceiling. Go within. Concentrate on the presence of God in your heart.
That is how Contemplative Prayer “works.” It is a quiet intimate connection requiring no effort other than the realization that you are already enveloped in God’s presence, grace and love and that Ile is aware of everything that concerns you.
Prayer is two-way communication. Often God speaks to us without words as well. We “hear” impressions and are convicted of sin. Our paths are illuminated, our hearts quieted, our countenance becomes peaceful.
Offer Him your entire being when entering the presence of God and don’t worry about what you will say when you get there.
This article “How To Develop A Prayer Team” by Carl Fultz was excerpted from Prayer! Magazine.