The Purpose Of A Prayer Ministry

What the world could use most is prayer.  But for some reason most of us don’t understand the value of prayer.  We come up with all kinds of solutions to our problems, but we miss the most important one—prayer.  Prayer is the best solution because it brings us directly to God and gives us the power of God.

God is calling us to prayer.  He invites us to His throne, and He says to us, “Call on Me and I will answer you,” “Come to Me and I will give you rest.”  Moreover, He searches continually for the faithful, like Abraham, Moses, and Daniel who will sacrificially stand in the gap before Him (Ezek. 22:30).

But there are so few these days that are faithful in prayer.  And there are so few preachers who preach and teach and model prayer.  Peter Wagner, in his research, has found that 80% of the meaningful intercession in the average congregation is provided by only 5% of its people.

What is wrong?  Why don’t we see the need for prayer?  Why don’t our preachers preach on it more?

Well, one of the things we can do in our churches and fellowship groups to help people learn about prayer and how to pray is to provide a prayer ministry.

Two Purposes of a Prayer Ministry

A prayer ministry is simply a ministry having to do with prayer.  A prayer ministry I think has two purposes:

1.  It serves those who need prayer.  This is its primary purpose—to see that people are prayed for, as many as possible.

2.  It serves those who desire to pray.  To accomplish the first and primary purpose, a prayer ministry must service the needs of those who desire to pray.  This second objective I think is the main task of the prayer ministry—so that the primary purpose can be accomplished. 

The prayer ministry, then, as I see it, is a vehicle to help people pray: to teach them about prayer, and to motivate them to pray.  It may also provide for them people to pray with, people to pray for, a prayer atmosphere, and prayer tools.  Overall, a prayer ministry will help people to develop a desire for prayer, to feel the call of God to pray, and to gain a sense of responsibility to pray and intercede for others.

So, the prayer ministry covers a lot of ground.  It is a big service.  But we must be careful that we don’t get off track so that we lose our focus.  A prayer ministry should not be so focused on all the activities of its ministry, that it loses its focus on helping people pray.

I think this occupation with activities is what happens when leaders are more concerned with how the ministry looks then with people.  Leaders sometimes get so caught up with getting people to events to hear grand messages on prayer, and they get so enthused about their prayer breakfasts and prayer charts and prayer chains and prayer walks, etc., that they forget about how their people are doing, whether they are learning how to prayer or not.

The heart and focus of the prayer ministry is being involved with people, not events.  It exists to serve people—to counsel them and teach them and to help them grow in the Lord.  If all our prayer activities and prayer tools distract us from our focus then we must get rid of them.  They do us no good.  Likewise, if we as leaders spend most of our time at our desk making plans and writing sermons, etc., and very little time with our people, that is just wrong!  Jesus spent most of his time with His disciples.  They learned by being with Him.  They learned how to pray mainly by watching Him pray and by praying with Him.  Let us as prayer leaders seek to do the same as Jesus did. 

Source: My book, Prayer A to Z, pp. 293-294.

Plan to Pray Long

There are so many people with so many needs, which require us to spend much time in prayer.  But, as Wesley Duewel has said, “We will never have enough time for prayer unless we deliberately plan for it…The time we give to prayer by deliberately planning is the measure of our value of prayer.  It is the truest measure of our love for Jesus.”5

I urge you to follow our Lord’s example in praying at night and in the early morning.  If the Lord is calling you to get up early in the morning to pray, if you want to be powerfully used by God and if you want to really know Him, you must immediately get up when He wakes you.  As E. M. Bounds has said, “No man gets God who does not follow hard after Him.”6

So wake your lazy bones up and get going with God (I’m talking to myself)!   If you are prone to be lazy and want to sleep in, I urge you to instead follow the desire to pray.  That holy desire will provide for you a great blessing when you heed its call.  And when you have decided that you are going to rise early to pray, that decision, backed up with action, will break all your self-indulgent chains, giving you greater and greater strength and desire for God.

Besides morning and evening prayers, Sunday afternoon is a great time to spend an hour or two in prayer.  What better time to use for prayer than the Lord’s Day.

If you are planning to pray long, don’t be discouraged if the first few minutes are especially difficult.  It seems, at least for me, that after twenty minutes or so of struggling in prayer, the rest of the time is more enjoyable and less of a struggle.  That is because it often takes that long to enter into that heavenly realm where you are in awe of God. 

When you get to that place in your prayers, you will almost forget that you are on earth struggling in the flesh; you will be more conscious that you are with God in the heavenly places.  That is, you will be so taken up with God that you will forget all about your earthly affairs.  In that blissful time, your thoughts will be more with God’s thoughts; therefore, you won’t be concerned with all of your worries; you will be more concerned for the will of God.  During that sweet time of prayer, you won’t be thinking about what you could be doing or what you should be doing; rather, you will be so overcome with desire for God that all you will want to do is to drink and imbibe deeply of His love. 

I challenge you to extend your prayer time for longer than twenty minutes.  It will be less of a struggle from then on.  And the blessings that follow will be tremendous!


5 Wesley Duewel, Mighty Prevailing Prayer (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Francis Asbury Press, of Zondervan Publishing House, 1990), p. 160.

6 E. M. Bounds, Power through Prayer, (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House), 1979, p. 58.

My Update (10/3/2020): Cleaning, Publishing, Prayer, Work

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Its been a couple of weeks since I’ve given you an update. I’m not a diary person; I find that this personal blog kind of fulfills that purpose—and more. Anyway, I will start with my apartment…

Cleaning the apartment. I have been in my apartment for just over 20 years and now we have a new management company; and they are stricter. They recently came in—while I was gone—and did an inspection. They said I needed to clean my fridge and bathtub and bathroom floor; and they are coming back in a month to check it.  Well, I’m feeling kind of upset over it, but now that I’m getting busy cleaning, I think it’s a good thing for me—God’s will.

Publishing my book. I’m a self-publisher and I’m now in that process with my last book. Editing is easy, just reading it through and checking things. But yesterday I spent about three hours trying to delete the header info from a blank page! I finely figured it out. It helps to click on “help” on my MS word. They gave me a five-point answer, and it worked! Next, I will check it over one last time and then put it in a pdf form and send it to Lulu (a printing co.) to be printed and bound. Oh, and I also have to send them my designed cover page. Lulu does a good job at making the books, but they don’t do much to sell it for you. I’m gonna half to think of ways to sell my books myself. I just have to do it—even though it really isn’t my gift.

Trump and Country. I have a blog with that name, but I quit on it a few months ago. It was too stressful for me. But though I don’t blog on politics much anymore, I do keep up with watching the Fox videos and also some reading. More and more these days I have been feeling a strong burden to pray for President Trump and this country—in that order. Every morning when I pray, he is the first item on my list: for his health, strength, and wisdom. I also pray that just judgment would be done on all those evil forces (evil people) coming against him and this country. Please pray with me. Christians, please pray. It is your most important duty. Nothing but prayer will work to come against the darkness; only God is strong enough to come against it. And He chooses to work mostly through our prayers.

My healthy and work. I want to keep working in my painting business, but I am retired and I’m slowing down. In some respects, my work is good to give me exercise. But if I overdo it, which I always tend to do, my arthritis flares up and my muscles get really sore for a few days. The key is to find the right balance between work and rest. It’s kind of nice to not be bothered by work for a few days, because I like to just sit and read and do my writing. I hope and pray that my writing will be a benefit to others, that it won’t be a meaningless or just a self-fulfilling exercise.  I’ll be praying about it, and then commit it to Him—and wait for His peace.

God bless you my fellow bloggers and followers. Keep up your good work and encouraging words. Prayer to you always.

Stephen

A History of Prayer Posture

Prayer A to Z

Through both Old and New Testament times, standing for prayer seemed to be the norm for public prayer.  Such positions as sitting and kneeling were almost never practiced in public prayer, but were more often practiced in private prayers.

Shortly after the advent of Christ, however, kneeling began to be practiced more often, especially in public worship.  In fact, according to an article written by a Markus Bochmuel, the first entire half of the service was practiced while kneeling, followed by the rest of the service in which the congregation stood.  I presume that this new movement of kneeling in the service (during which a liturgy was said) began by the insistent teaching of the church fathers that kneeling was “a necessary expression of humility and submission.”  No doubt, all these holy minded church fathers had a clear and lasting picture of what they knew and heard about Jesus and…

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Planting Seeds of the Gospel

In my reading today I was struck by the passage in Mark 4:26-28.

And He was saying, “The kingdom of God is like a man who casts seed upon the soil;  27 and he goes to bed at night and gets up by day, and the seed sprouts and grows — how, he himself does not know.  28 “The soil produces crops by itself; first the blade, then the head, then the mature grain in the head.

My observation here is that God calls us to plant the seeds of the gospel. I think for a Christian that is his primary task. And that task is very simple; just plant the seed and leave it alone. God will do the rest. He will cause it to grow. Too often I think we are too concerned that we will do something wrong or not enough. So, we do nothing out of fear.

The passage says that the farmer planted the seeds in a field and then he left the field and goes about doing whatever he does: he goes to bed and gets up. I grew up on a farm and that is basically what you do. You put the seeds in a planter, then you drive the tractor back and forth over the field planting the seed, until the whole field is planted. Then you go home, put your tractor and planter away, go have supper, and eventually go to bed. There is no more that the farmer needs to do with that field. There is no more that he can do. He trusts that rain will come and water the seeds and that the seeds will grow. And that is exactly what happens—every time!

Now in the meantime, as he waits for the seeds to grow, he continues to work. Perhaps he will plant seeds in another field, or he will cultivate a field that he had previously planted, where the corn seeds had grown. The point is that he will not worry about the seeds growing; he will keep working doing whatever God calls him to do—trusting that the seed will grow as it always does without the farmers help.

I will say again that I think many of us, including myself, are not always doing what we are called to do: we are not planting seeds of the gospel. We do all kinds of Christian things, but we are not planting seeds. We are not sharing our faith: in a conversation, in a blog or tweet or text.  It doesn’t take much: a bible verse, a thought from the word, a lesson learned. Any small truth as small as a mustard seed can grow into a very large plant—which represents something very substantial that we may contribute to the kingdom of God.

My Update: 5 things

Okay, I’ll get right to it…

My work. I’m a retired painter—not a lot going on. Tomorrow or the next day I will wash a deck and paint it. I do this particular deck every 3 or 4 years. The next two jobs are doors—to repaint a few doors—easy. After that I have a bedroom to paint. So, what I have lined up is easy, a little boring, but just enough to keep me out of trouble.

Bible reading. I always manage to keep myself busy, but for some reason I feel that I have sadly neglected my time in the word. Yesterday I decided that I would spend two half-hour periods reading the bible—where I am at in Exodus. I liked it. It did me good. I’m gonna try to keep doing that. I have sort of prided myself for being faithful to a morning quiet time. But recently I feel the need for more and something less structured. My goal is to fill my mind with the word of God; to meditate more on it.

My book writing. I’m sort of at a lull in my writing. I had two different books going, but I finished them. Now I’m going through them one at a time, editing them; so I am basically just checking grammar and spelling and to make sure everything is said right.

Photography and walking. For me those things go together. Without my camera walking would be too much of a chore. But walking with my camera is like hunting and an adventure. I’m always hunting with my eyes for the perfect shot. Yesterday while walking I was quite disappointed by all the overgrown weeds and grass, but I did spot two beautiful purple Morning Glories (pictured). My walk was worth it just to see them. And the way the light reflected out of the middle of the trumpet bell is gorgeous!

The Coronavirus and globalism. I am getting so turned off by all the hype and news that the pandemic is getting. I really don’t think that it is as serious as the media is telling us. But the globalists are ecstatic about it. Finally, something came along that will help unite the world. Now all they need is one vaccine for the whole world. The only disappointment they have is the US, Israel, and the Christians.

They are so angry at Donald Trump and his nationalist views. If only they could somehow get Biden to win the November election. We will see what happens. But I have a feeling that they will be in for a constant fight until the Rapture. But after the Rapture everything will change. The Rapture itself will be the driving force for globalism. It will propel all the world leaders to come together to strategize their global agenda. I think, instead of being horrified at all the disappearances the devil will cause them to be gleeful at the new global prospects.

My Nature walk along the River

Every couple weeks or so I like to walk along the Mississippi River on this trail. In this photo I am looking back from where I just walked.

Usually the trail is rugged, but here the way is flat and easier walking. But as you can see, you have to watch where you are going or you will tumble into the river. I walked along this path for a while, and then when the trail ended I took a sharp right up to another broader trail.

Here we are on the broader trail, or it is more like a road. In fact, I often see workers drive on this road.

Looking to the left, you see the river again through this jungle of trees.

Here is a rare sight this early in the spring. So lovely! All of these beautiful sights are God’s special gifts for me to enjoy.

Here the trail winds around these trees; and though the way is darker, I know that God is still with me. “Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for He is with me.”

Here the path is quite narrow. “Narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.”

The path suddenly turns green. It’s beautiful here. “He maketh me to lie down in green pastures.”


Up the path and to the left I viewed this red-winged black bird in the swamp.

I have often wondered why this clump of grass always grows taller in this area. Perhaps there is something or somebody buried there that makes the ground more fertile. This reminds me of where we used to live in Delano, Minnesota. We had this corn field and there were places where the corn would grow almost twice as tall as the other corn. One fall day my dad decided that before plowing he would burn the field because he had let it get so overgrown with weeds. Well, it happened that after the weeds had burned off, the ground just kept burning and burning. We discovered that the earth was full of peat soil, and peat burns. So all you farmers, before you decide to burn your field make sure you don’t have peat or you will have a mess, and the good peat will be burned up and good for nothing,

Look at the Birds of the Air

For some reason I really like this photo. I have often past by this small tree next to that old telephone pole with the old spikes, and I usually always see little birds like these resting on the branches—without a care in the world. Oh, look at the birds. They have no worries. I wish I were as worry free as the birds.

Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Matthew 6:26.

Crooked and Straight Trees

Crooked Tree

As you can see, this is a very crooked tree. And notice that it is in the swamp.

A leaning tree.

This tree is not so raggedy, but it is bent over. It is also in a low area next to the swamp.

A very crooked tree.

This tree is a mess! And it is totally in the swamp. A swamp tree.

A very tall and straight group of trees.

Now here is a very lovely group of tree. Very majestic looking. And they are no where near a swamp.

Tall trees.

Notice that these tall trees are nowhere near a swamp. They were planted above the swamp.

Crooked and tall trees

In this picture, notice that the trees on the left are on lower ground and they are crooked and bent over. But the rest of the tree are on higher ground and they are straight and strong.

I was wondering if we can learn something from these trees. The Psalmist in Psalm 1:3 tells us that the righteous man will be like a tree that is firmly planted by streams of water. But it doesn’t say that he is planted in the water, but by the water. Those who are planted in the water get too much water. Are there some Christians that get too much water? I think a Christian that spends all of his time reading the bible and going to church, but has no ministry, he may end up like a crooked tree. He is getting too much nourishment–more than his body can handle. Just a thought.