How to Develop a Prayer Team
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
• Pray 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
For more information about how to start a prayer ministry team in your church, see The Praying Church Sourcebook, published by Church Development Resources, 2850 Kalamazoo Ave., S.E., Grand Rapids, MI 49560. To order, call 1-800-333-8300. (See review of this resource in this issue.) Pray! Magazine, Issue 1 May/June 1997
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 be 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.”
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.
*A Prayer Guide is available to help pray for your pastor, pastor’s spouse, pastor’s family, local church, church ministries, leadership and revival. To order, visit here. Pray! Magazine Issue 7 Jul/Aug 1998
Prayer Rooms 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
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 He 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 Him and the Spirit opens the line.
This gives us great joy because nothing can block our prayers from reaching His ears. Too often we see 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 He 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. Pray! Magazine Issue 29 Mar/Apr 2002
15 Guidelines for Participants in Corporate Intercession
1. Come prepared to pray by stirring up your faith.
2. Sit together.
3. Speak up! Others cannot agree with what they cannot hear.
4. Avoid “preachy” praying and ministerial tones. Pray simply and conversationally.
5. Keep prayers concise, clear, and to the point.
6. Don’t read long passages of Scripture.
7. Don’t pray as you would in your private devotionals or pray through your personal prayer list.
8. Ask God; don’t explain things to Him.
9. Avoid addressing others in the room under the pretense of prayer.
10. Once you have prayed, wait for other people to pray before praying again.
11. When in doubt about what to pray, ask for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit on your church and city. All other requests are fulfilled when that occurs.
12. Try not to pray too big or too small. Pray for things the group can “get its faith around.”
13. Don’t be afraid of silence. It’s sometimes golden.
14. Listen to, agree with, and affirm each prayer.
15. Submit to pastoral guidance.
Pray! Magazine Issue 10 Jan/Feb 1999
Establishing Monthly All Night Prayer Meetings
My local church in Lewes, Delaware, has found a way to both develop pray-ers and effectively undergird the ministries and concerns of the church through monthly prayer vigils.
Each month, a theme is selected to be the focus of 24 hours of prayer. Some of the more recent themes have been evangelism prayer (before Easter), vacation Bible school, healing for the ill within the congregation, and violence in schools. We put together a prayer guide for each theme, which offers specific things to pray, appropriate scriptures, songs for meditation, and space so that pray-ers can write down what God might be saying to them or burdening them with on the subject. The guide is also made available on the church’s website.
Each prayer vigil is divided into 30-minute increments. Individuals can sign up for one or more slots. The goal is to pray around the clock during the vigil. Pray-ers are encouraged to pray with a prayer partner or spouse. Others are encouraged to pray even if they have not signed up for a slot (we have to print about 20 percent more guides than it has slots for pray-ers!). Pray! Magazine Issue 12 May/June 1999
A Corporate Day-of-Prayer Retreat
Alvin J. Vander Griend with Edith L. Bajema
A day-of-prayer retreat, an entire day spent with others in prayer, is one way of focusing your energy and attention on prayer and giving it the priority it merits. Your day of prayer may take different forms, but it should include the following basic elements.
1. Prayers of Praise and Thanks
Even before you spend time sharing with your group, it is important to focus on God and praise Him. Begin with songs of praise, directing your thoughts as a group to the person and work of God.
2. Sharing Your Lives
Getting to know each other is an important part of a retreat. Ask each person to give a three-minute personal biography that includes a testimony of faith and a brief sketch of his or her journey into the discipline of prayer.
3. Prayers of Repentance and Recommitment
This is a cleansing experience that prepares you as a group for the work of prayer that lies ahead. Form prayer triplets, and spend time confessing before God the sins that stand in the way. Then rejoin the larger group, and sing songs that emphasize God’s grace, mercy, and forgiveness.
4. Prayers of Intercession
Use this time to pray as one group (if you have more than 15 people, you should form two or more groups). Focus your intercession on the health and mission of the church and on the personal ministries of each person present.
5. Reflection and Sharing Time
Ask participants to write a brief journal entry addressing what they would say to God about themselves, their ministries, and their futures based on this prayer experience. Then have them write down what they sense God is saying to them. Gather the entire group, and ask each person to briefly read a portion of what he or she has written.
6. Future Commitment
As you come to the close of an intense day of fellowship in prayer, prayerfully consider making commitments to each other that extend into the future—praying for one another, meeting in a prayer support group, etc.
Give your closing moments together a sense of liturgy, a flow between yourselves and God, perhaps using Jude 24-25 as a word to God and 1 Thess. 5:16-19,21-24 as God’s word to you.
—Adapted with permission from The Praying Church Sourcebook, by Alvin J. Vander Griend with Edith L. Bajema. © 1990 Church Development Resources, 2850 Kalamazoo Avenue SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49560. To order, call (800) 333-8300.
Pray! Magazine, Issue 14 Sep/Oct 1999
A Church That Prays vs. A Church Devoted to Prayer
Fred A. Hartley III
A CHURCH THAT PRAYS:
1. Prays about what it does.
2. Fits prayer in.
3. Prays when there are problems.
4. Announces a special time of prayer—some in the church show up.
5. Asks God to bless what it is doing.
6. Is frustrated by financial shortfall—backs down from projects.
7. Is tired, weary, stressed out.
8. Does things within its means.
9. Sees its members as its parish.
10. Is involved in the work of man.
A CHURCH DEVOTED TO PRAYER:
1. Does things by prayer.
2. Gives prayer priority.
3. Prays when there are opportunities.
4. Announces a special time of prayer—the church shows up.
5. Asks God to enable it to do what He is blessing.
6. Is challenged by financial short-fall—calls for fasting, prayer, and faith.
7. Mounts up with wings like eagles, runs and doesn’t grow weary, walks and does not faint.
8. Does things beyond its means.
9. Sees the world as its parish.
10. Is involved in the work of God.
Pray! Magazine, Issue 23 Mar/Apr 2001
How to Spend a Day with the Lord
Katherine J. Kehler
Usually our days are filled with the demands of life crying for our attention; that’s why we need to plan personal retreat time to be with the Lord – four, eight, or twelve hours with nothing on our agenda except to bask in His love, to thank and worship Him, to listen to Him, to intercede for others, to lay your life and activities before Him and let Him give directions.
The Bible promises us in James 4:8, “Come near to God and He will come near to you.” He is waiting for you!
Don’t rush. The objective is to spend relaxed, uninterrupted time with God, not to go through a format. These are mere guidelines. Let God be your guide.
* Find a place where you can be alone and free from distractions.
* Bring your Bible, a notebook and pen, and worship music.
Begin with thanksgiving. Psalm 100:4 tells us, “Enter into His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise.”
* Thank Him for His patience and forgiveness.
* Thank Him for the privilege of coming into His presence.
* Thank Him for what He has done in and through your life in the last year.
* Take time to list what God has done for you. Be specific. Think through every area of your life.
Ask God to search your heart. Psalm 139: 23, 24
* Confess any sins the Holy Spirit reveals. Psalm 19:12
* Remember the certainty of forgiveness. 1 John 1:9
* Make certain you are walking and praying in the Spirit. Ephesians 5:15-20
Become still before the Lord. Psalm 46:10
* Consider who God is. Psalm 103
* Praise Him for His attributes. Psalm 145
* Rejoice in your fellowship with Him and that He delights in you. Proverbs 15:8
* Read passages of Scripture and pray them back to God. Psalms 146 – 150
* Sing to the Lord.
Pray your way around the world with unhurried, detailed intercession for others. Ask God to reveal the world to you from His point of view as you read Psalm 33.
* Begin with your non-Christians, friends, relatives, neighbors and others the Lord puts on your heart.
* Pray that the people who have never heard about Jesus would have an opportunity to hear and understand the gospel. 2 Peter 3:9
* Pray for those in authority – federal/national, provincial/state and municipal/county government leaders. 1 Timothy 2:1,2
* Pray for Christians ,using Paul’s prayers in Philippians 1:9-11, Colossians 1:9-12, Ephesians 1 :16-19.
“By intercessory prayer we can hold off Satan from other lives and give the Holy Ghost a chance with them. No wonder Jesus put such tremendous emphasis on prayer!” – Oswald Chambers
Personal Life Evaluation
Ask for understanding as you read an entire book of the Bible.
* Record insights God gives you.
* Ask God what He thinks of your life. Wait. Listen for His answer.
* Evaluate the use of the time, talent, treasure, education and experience God has entrusted to you. Are they glorifying to God? Do you need to change what you are doing?
* Discuss with the Lord your joys, your sorrows and decisions you are facing. Find promises and directives in the Bible which you can record.
“The greatest answer to prayer is that I am brought into a perfect understanding with God, and that alters my view of actual things.” – Oswald Chambers
Concluding Your Day with God
* Praise and thank God for the fellowship you had today.
* Schedule the next “Day with the Lord” in your appointment book.
Share with someone about your day.
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