Many churches make the mistake of appointing a prayer leader and then leaving them to figure out their next steps.
First of all, one leader is inadequate. In the absence of a prayer leadership team, your prayer ministry will take on the ‘narrow’ focus on your singular prayer leader – intercession, warfare prayer, managing prayer requests, healing prayer, etc. This process is focused on the development of a four-dimensional model for prayer ministries, which will require a team.
Start the process of discovering what it means to be a praying church. Learn together. Pray together. Go explore together. Grow the prayer effort slowly and deliberately – a goal of 20% of your congregation involved in consistent prayer efforts will eventually change the culture of your entire congregation.
Find a group of people interested in exploring what prayer ministry might look like in your church – and let the leaders bubble up! Let them demonstrate their commitment to building a board prayer ministry, and especially to learning. Before you begin to build your prayer ministry, your team has a lot of learning to do! Believe me! Putting people in charge, who know too little without knowing how little they know about prayer and prayer ministry and who also possess a minimal appetite to explore the exploding prayer movement around the world before drawing plans, will set your process back by years!
Begin by calling an envisioning evening for the launch of a new level of prayer ministries in your church!
- Share the stories of what God is doing through prayer.
- Show one of the shorter transformation videos.
- Talk about the need for prayer and the joy of prayer.
- Describe your vision for prayer ministries in the church.
- Spend a good share of the time praying – pray individually, pray into the vision for prayer!
SAY: We announced an evening to talk about prayer ministries, and I am delighted that you came. What brought you here? Let’s pray that to God! “God when I heard about this meeting … my heart leaped … I knew you were calling me to this …”
SAY: What do you envision happening in our church by prayer? Let’s pray that to God! “God, the desire of my heart is to learn to pray … so many of us want a closer walk with you … Lord, would you teach us to pray?”
You could ask these questions and get shared responses. But when the people pray their responses, the effect is different – dramatically different.
The Initial Envisioning Evening Schedule
7:00 p.m. – Welcome. Begin with expressions of thanksgiving and praise
7:10 p.m. – Share stories of what is happening in other congregations that have become intentional in developing a prayer ministry.
7:25 p.m. – Show one of the shorter Transformation Videos. I use Transformations II (the Preview Clip). It is about 17 minutes.
7:45 p.m. – Share your vision, as pastor, for prayer ministries in the church
8:00 p.m. – Pray … Sharing is great! But you want to hear those present pray!
Use the verbiage outlined previously.
Gently remind everyone, “Don’t share it … pray it!” Keep everyone vertical. It may be uncomfortable at first, but the dynamic of praying something is different, than sharing the same thing. Listen not only for content, focus also for heart.
8:30 p.m. – Break into small groups (4-7). Ask each member to share – “What is your passion for prayer and prayer ministries?”
Organize everyone in at least these four groups:
- Church-wide prayer. Prayer meetings. Prayer groups. Pastoral prayer support. Personal Intercessory Teams for church department leaders, staff members, mission endeavors, etc. How do we make our church a house of prayer?
- At-Home Prayer. Daily Prayer. Personal and family devotions. The power of praying with and for our children. The restoration of the family altar.
- Intercessors and Intercessory prayer. Priestly and prophetic intercession. Mobilizing and teaming intercessors, directing and debriefing intercessors, etc.
- Prayer-Evangelism. Prayer for the lost. An external focus on prayer. A mission near and far. Prayer for the city. Prayer walks and prayer missions. Prayer ambassador teams.
- Additional groups might form around – youth and children’s prayer, developing a prayer room/center, praying training, prayer events, etc.
After a few minutes, refocus the group – ask them this question – “What is God saying to us about prayer in our church and community?”
8:45 p.m. – General Sharing. Wrap up and summary by the leader.