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.