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.

How My Writing Adventure Began

At my desk. I generally always write everything out long hand first.

 My writing adventure began about 1992, while I was attending Majestic Oaks Community Church. At the beginning, I was immersing myself in many books on prayer for the purpose of prayer ministry for the church. And I was content to read just the books I had on my shelves which I had collected over the years. Later, when I was thinking about the possibility of writing a book on prayer and when I was trying to put an outline together, I found that I had to look elsewhere for more books. The place that I looked most was at the Bethel Seminary library. I wasn’t a student there, but when I told them that I needed books for a book I was writing, they agreed to get me a library card. 

I remember so well when the idea came to me about writing a book. I had recently moved into a place as a renter, and I remember lazily laying on my bed day dreaming of future possibilities of a book. I admit that my first thought was that maybe I could actually make some money on a book. But then, I also thought of just using a book to bring a good teaching to people on prayer. I concluded that I could kill two birds with one stone. Why not. So, I committed it to prayer and immediately began forming an outline. From the start of my reading on prayer, I had the desire to look at prayer from every possible angle, and to read especially from all the prayer experts and great scholars. So, I continued to go with that idea in developing my outline.

First, I scanned through all the books I had and jotted down all the possible prayer topics I could write on. I came up with over 70 topics. Too many. Then I had a great idea. If I could put them all in alphabetical order, I could entitle the book, Prayer A to Z. That would give me only 26 topics, but I could always have more than one topic under the same letter. Eventually, I managed to get all my topics in alphabetical order and also narrow the count down to just over 50. Then I got another idea. If I could come up with exactly 52 topics (chapters), that would give me a great year-long study of prayer, studying one chapter a week. I settled on that idea. It was all set. Now, all I needed to do was put it together—write the book.

I have heard from more than one Christian publishing company that authors should never brag about how their book was designed by God. And I can see their point. But just between you and me, I definitely got the impression in seeing how my book came together so easily, that God had a part in it. Yes, I do feel that God wanted me to write the book and that He definitely helped me put it together.

This is my first book, Prayer A to Z. It was published in 2013.

Prayer Ministry

Not long before we were divorced, we got a flier in the mail advertising Majestic Oaks Community Church. We decided that since it seemed like a very good church and was closer than where we were going, we would start going there. I really liked it, but she was skeptical. So, as soon as we were divorced, I stayed and she went back to where we were previously going.

Majestic Oaks was a very praying church, thanks to the pastor’s heart; and the church kept me in their prayers. I think it was just a few weeks into my divorce that I began to get a desire to do more in the area of prayer—like maybe organizing pray requests or something. One day, while helping the pastor build his house, I expressed my desire about a prayer ministry with him. And he immediately wanted me to take over and develop the church prayer ministry. So, I did.

I started by becoming a deacon. That helped me to bring my new ministry into view and to get the support of the church leaders.  I was encouraged to lead in all the activities that had to do with prayer. I led the pray meeting that met early Sunday morning before we started setting up for church. We were meeting in a theater and so we had to set up all the sound equipment, etc.

I was also encouraged by an elder to read a book by Wesley Duewel, Mighty Prevailing Prayer. It was just what I needed to really get me motivated in prayer. I also read all of E. M. Bounds’ little books, seven in all. I kept reading more and more books on prayer; I felt so encouraged that I decided that I would summarize and extrapolate what I read into a short teaching on prayer. And each Sunday I inserted that prayer teaching into the church bulletin. I think many of our people read it.

Soon I began holding a mid-week prayer meeting. We had singing with a guitar, a time of teaching on prayer, and, of course, a time of prayer and also a time of fellowship with treats. I loved it, and other did too.

We also had a prayer chain. My idea was to get people praying as soon as possible for each prayer concern that came up. I tried to encourage them to pray immediately and to pass the requests on immediately so that it would go all the way around the chain very quickly. Many didn’t like it and even suggested that it was a form of gossip; but I fought against it. We were not to talk about the prayer requests, just to pray over them.

The prayer ministry lasted as long as the church lasted—about six years after I got there. As I previously wrote, sin inflicted the pastor and his marriage and the church disbanded. But we don’t always know what happens in hearts and how God works. For those believers who love Him He will always work things out for good. That prayer ministry will, I’m sure, produce good fruit, as He intended. Sometimes we don’t know what we may have done or said to plant a seed in a heart. The war continues for all believers, good against evil. Some battles are won, some are lost; but in the end victory is won; and through it all we will discover that the incense of our prayers made a big difference.