We Have Decided to Start a Prayer Ministry – Now What?
By Lisa Marshall
You have gotten the burden, realized the importance, and now you are ready to launch full-force into a thriving prayer ministry. You go to www.helpmestartaprayerministry.com and nothing is there! Where exactly do you go from here?
The first thing is to pray! The proper way to begin anything in the church is with prayer, and the prayer ministry is no exception. Seek God for direction for this ministry.
Choose a leader. The most common mistake made in this area is appointing the church’s most fervent prayer warrior to this position. In most cases, this is a mistake. True intercessors usually do not make good leaders. Prayer Lesson 101: All are called to intercede at times, but not all are called intercessors. Intercessors can pray for hours. They do not need a prayer list, how-to helps, or a missionary list. All they need is for you to leave them alone and let them pray.
Your prayer leader does not need to be the best pray-er in the church: he needs to be gifted in administration. Why? Have you ever tried to get a group together to pray for an hour? After fifteen minutes, most are starting to repeat what they have already prayed for. For the majority of people, a theme, a focus, or some type of prayer guide is needed to pray for extended periods of time. Thus, enter the administrator—someone to plan and organize the prayer meeting, copy the prayer list or focus for the week, do the research and instruct the people how to pray. The leader should have a broad understanding and pick up on things that need to be prayed for. He should make sure the lights are on, the keyboard is ready and someone to lead worship is on cue. He can evaluate where the group is as a whole and put a plan in place to reach specific goals.
Set Goals. What do you want to accomplish in this ministry? Do you want to get your people to pray more consistently? More effectively? More for the kingdom? Do you want them to pray less self-centered prayers? Come up with goals and put the necessary plan in place to see this accomplished. For example, perhaps your church prays consistently, but the majority of the prayers are for personal things. Your goal would be to help them pray less for self and more for the kingdom.
Each week pray with an agenda for the month. Here is an example: Week 1: Pray for missionaries. Week 2: Pray for nations. Did you know that one out of every three people on the earth live in either India or China? How incredible it would be if revival began to sweep through these countries! Week 3: Pray for finances for the kingdom’s work to be done. Week 4: Pray for an outpouring upon all flesh. It is okay to pray for your local church, but pray for the big picture first. By doing this, God will take care of needs on a personal level.
Teach Prayer. The pastor could do a series of sermons or Bible studies on prayer. It could be a focus for the adult, youth, and children’s Sunday school classes. Each week send everyone home with a “nugget” of information. The World Network of Prayer’s Web site, www.wnop.org has plenty of free material to assist you. Search the Internet; there is a wealth of information available. Most people do not know how to communicate with God. Your job is to educate them.
Do not start too many things at once. Go slowly. People get overwhelmed by too many changes. It is better to start one new thing at a time.
Report what you are doing. Out of sight, out of mind. People do not get excited about what they do not know about. Use whatever means possible to keep what is happening in front of the church. The church bulletin board or weekly bulletin is great place to put updates or prayer events. When God answers prayer, ask that the praise report be read in service. It will build faith and pique interest. People want to be involved where good things are happening.
Finally, do not just talk about prayer – pray! Do not organize God out of your prayer ministry. You can spend all day talking, teaching, and discussing prayer, but make sure that you do not talk and teach more than you pray. You can know everything there is to know about prayer, but if you do not pray, you are not affecting the kingdom.
Jesus said, “My house shall be called a house of prayer.” It seems to me He was clear in the fact that He wants His church to be a praying church.
“We Have Decided to start a Prayer Ministry – Now What?”. By Lisa Marshall.
“This article may not be written by an Apostolic author, but it contains many excellent principles and concepts that can be adapted to most churches. As the old saying goes, “Eat the meat. Throw away the bones.”