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Establishing an Effective Prayer Ministry - Part 2

May 19, 2008
The people who constitute the Church are very observant. If the pastors and leaders only give lip service to something as being important and don't actually get involved, the people pick up those cues and act accordingly. For the ministry of prayer to be effective, the leadership has to honor it, endorse it, and participate in it. "A congregation will follow the example of its praying leaders. Leaders strongly committed to prayer will convey more to their congregation about the power and reality of prayer then sermons, articles, or special speakers will. Regular and devoted prayer is one very specific way to carry out the elders' and deacons' mandate to set an example of godliness for the congregation." While it is easy to get overwhelmed with the business of the church today, effective leadership requires long times in prayer. The pastor needs to model an effective prayer life in front of the people under his care. If it's not important to the pastor, it won't be to the rest of the congregation either.

The pastor also needs to preach and teach regularly on the importance of prayer and present working models of prayer to the church. Keeping this powerful ministry in the forefront of the church is necessary for its success. While the pastor's involvement is a key issue in the effective prayer ministry, it is also a reality that the full scope and responsibility cannot rest entirely on the Pastor. With the tremendous workload most pastors already carry, adding another ministry, no matter how important is too much. This is where the appointing of a Prayer Coordinator becomes a critical factor in the process. The person(s) appointed to this position should possess the following qualities:

a strong personal prayer life

spiritual maturity

gifts to organize, encourage, and give leadership in prayer (the gifts of administration, communication, leadership)

a good reputation in the congregation and the confident approval of church leaders

enough time to attend key prayer events in the church and the community

In most churches, the candidate for this position is already there. As you pray for the Lord's leading ask Him to show you who the candidates are. Perhaps they will be semi-retired or at a place in their lives where they are not overwhelmed and will be able to invest the time required to coordinate this ministry. Depending on the size of the church it may be possible to budget a small salary for the prayer coordinator that grows along with the church and the prayer ministry. Seeing this position as one that requires a designated staff position will also add credibility to the ministry of prayer.

Another way of establishing the importance of the prayer ministry is by setting up a place designated for prayer. A designated prayer room is an essential ministry for any praying church. A Prayer Room should be set up and maintained in order to facilitate a wide variety of prayer activities. They need to be in a place that offers privacy. In our church we converted a classroom that was next to the sanctuary into our prayer room. It is important that the prayer room is comfortable and allows for not only sitting but also kneeling and even the opportunity to be prostrate on the floor. Prayer rooms also need to be set up to be inspirational and informative. Certain areas of the room can have different prayer focuses. It is possible to use bulletin boards and place different types of prayer needs on different boards. It can be helpful to provide some soft background piano or acoustic worship music as well. In order to give the prayer room an even greater world perspective computer terminals hooked to the Internet can be used to access web sites devoted to worldwide prayer.
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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