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Establishing an Effective Prayer Ministry - Part 4

May 19, 2008
One of the most significant ministries that can be developed is that of a prayer shield or Pastors Intercessory Team (P.I.T. Crew). This ministry is developed to encourage the congregation to begin to intercede on a daily basis for their pastor and other leaders in the church. C. Peter Wagner speaks of three basic levels of intercessors for leaders:

"Level Three intercessors have a distant relationship with the leader. In some cases, these intercessors have never met the person(s) they are praying for. For example, many people have prayed for Billy Graham on a daily basis and yet have never met him; many others pray for missionaries they have never met.

Level Two intercessors have a casual relationship with the leader. There is some regular two-way contact, although it may not be one-on-one, intensive, or sustained over any length of time. This may include, for example, Sunday morning worship attendees who pray for their Pastor.

Level One intercessors have a very close relationship with the person they are praying for, which allows them to pray for items that are personal and possibly confidential. These people have personal contact on a regular basis."

All the people who participate in this ministry need to have a love for their pastor, a desire to be used by God, and either have a passion for or the gift of intercession.

There is also a tremendous need for a team of intercessors to gather in the prayer room and intercede while the service is going on. Charles Spurgeon had large groups of intercessors praying in a basement room under his pulpit in each service while he preached. He called it his divine 'furnace room. This type of prayer allows for a deeper impact of the message on those who are listening. The intercessors pray for people to be open to hear and receive, for people to respond to the message and come to Christ, and to come against any activities of the evil one during the service.

The prayer ministry team consists of men and women who are available to pray for people who come forward for prayer at each service. This type of ministry is as important as the time devoted to worship and the time in the Word. This team is set up so that the main team, which consists of eight to fourteen people, is set up in teams of two. Each team should consist of a man and a woman in order to be sensitive to the feelings of people being prayed for. Ministry team members need to have strong personal prayer lives, spiritual maturity, and a love for people. There is also a need for training for prayer team members who will be dealing with a wide variety of situations and problems. This training needs to be provided by the pastor so that all those praying are on the same page during prayer times. John Wimber in his book "Power Healing" provides an excellent model for training called the Five Step Healing Model. This model helps the ministry team members discern what and how to pray and provides for post prayer instruction.

This plan has been a work in progress in my own church. We have been using these thoughts and ideas as our blueprint for establishing a prayer ministry. The results to date have been exciting and encouraging for the entire congregation. My hope is to continue to seek after the Lord for vision and insight and to continue to implement new prayer ideas and ministries as the Lord leads. It is our hearts desire to truly become a House of Prayer and continue to experience real church growth.
About the Author
Stephen Lawes is a Pastor who also offers Church Growth Consulting to Pastors and Ministry Leaders in order to promote Church Growth.
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