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Establishing an Effective Prayer Ministry - Part 3

May 19, 2008
In every church there are people who are gifted for intercession. It is important to identify who these people are and begin to equip and encourage them to take their place in the prayer ministry. Intercessors are able to press through in prayer in situations where many will just give up. They are instrumental in under girding the ministry of prayer as well as in imparting their understanding of prevailing in prayer to those just discovering prayer in their own lives.

It may be helpful to encourage the entire congregation to take part in a Spiritual Assessment Inventory. There are many of these tools available for churches now. These simple tests can help people determine what their primary spiritual gifts are. It will also help point out those who are already moving in the area of intercession. The training and cultivation of intercessors will be near the top of the Prayer Coordinator's duties. The Spiritual Gifts inventories will also be helpful in identifying people to plug into other prayer ministry areas.

An excellent starting point for many people will be a willingness to take and pray over a prayer card. These cards can be easily produced on a computer and are distributed weekly or monthly. They can be given out to everyone in the church or to those who have signed up specifically for the "prayer card ministry". The possibilities for prayer focus cards are endless. Cards can be developed for use throughout the year on topics such as:

How to pray for your pastor
How to pray for your church
How to pray for your children
How to pray for your spouse
How to pray for political leaders
How to pray for missionaries
How to bray for business owners
How to pray for persecuted Christians

People who find it difficult to pray for more than five or ten minutes without getting sidetracked will find prayer cards a very effective prayer tool.

It is also important to have a system in place that will allow urgent prayer needs to be addressed in a timely fashion. "Prayer, like almost everything else, has gone 'high-tech.' The Internet provides a fast and reliable way to exchange prayer requests and prayer needs with other intercessors." This type of prayer can be easily set-up by asking for all those interested to write down their e-mail addresses and then they can be stored on a mailing list. When a need is brought to the attention of the church, one e-mail can be sent to all those on the list at the same time.

A telephone prayer chain can also be fairly easily implemented into the church by organizing the people who are willing to receive and then forward on phone call prayer requests to those down the line on their chain. This allows for prayer requests to reach a lot of people with a minimum of effort. "The word 'chain' suggests one person linked to another, who is linked to another, and so on. This structure is often used in churches, though it is susceptible to the problem of weak links. The proverb 'A chain is only as strong as its weakest link' is often true here. To avoid the problem of weak links, some prayer chains are actually structures more like inverted pyramids, with a smaller number of committed people making many of the calls."
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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