It’s happened to nearly all of us. You open your car door. You sit in the driver’s seat. You fasten your seatbelt. You insert the key into the ignition. You turn the key, and…nothing happens. You turn the key again, and…still nothing happens. You turn the key again, hoping that the third time is the charm. Still nothing happens. You then realize the likely culprit. You have a dead battery and you need a jumpstart.
We’ve all been there, and some of us multiple times!
During the pandemic, many ministries in your church have lied dormant, and most have not yet returned. When they do, many may require a jumpstart to get them going again.
As you consider which ministries to bring back, I believe there is one essential ministry for most churches that needs to be jumpstarted immediately, and that is your church’s prayer ministry. Here are three reasons why:
- Our problems require God-sized solutions. Just think about all of the problems facing our churches, our communities, and our nation. A global pandemic. Escalating racial tensions. The upcoming election. The secularization of our nation. Redefinition of marriage. Penalties for conducting in-person worship services. The social isolation of vulnerable populations. Denominational controversies. The lack of evangelistic fervor. These are all God-sized problems and they require God-sized solutions. We can’t solve these problems on our own. Therefore, churches of all sizes need to cry out to the Lord and seek His face for wisdom and direction.
- Every great movement of God in church history has begun with prayer. Our churches are in need of revival, and our nation is in desperate need of another spiritual awakening. D.L. Moody once explained how that can happen: “Every great movement of God can be traced to a kneeling figure.” Church historians have regularly made this observation, and it has been confirmed many times over. If we want to see another great movement of the Lord in these difficult days, it will be because we faithfully and fervently cry out to the Lord for it.
- Every church member can be involved. Many church members have not yet returned to in-person gatherings for a number of reasons. Many of these precious saints were some of the most dedicated individuals in the church. They were involved in many different ministries, and they may feel lost because they are unable to serve the Lord as they once did. However, prayer does not require them to be present to participate. You can pray anywhere and at any time. So, the good news is that everyone can be involved!
If your church is like most churches, your prayer ministry may need a little work to reach its full potential. In fact, it may need a full jumpstart. Here are 6 simple suggestions to develop a powerful prayer ministry in these difficult days:
- Enlist a prayer ministry leader. If your church already has a prayer ministry leader, that’s fantastic. If not, start here. Find someone who is passionate about prayer but also has the administrative skills to coordinate the ministry.
- Engage prayer warriors. Develop a vision for what you want the prayer ministry to become. Then, get the word out and invite folks to participate. Again, every church member can be involved, so try to get as many folks to participate as possible.
- Develop a process for collecting prayer requests. Many churches have traditionally included prayer cards in the backs of pews. However, during the pandemic, most of these items have been removed for safety reasons. Therefore, your church will need to collect prayer requests in other ways. For example, you could create an email address specifically designed to receive prayer requests. Perhaps you solicit them through your church’s social media pages. Maybe you could allow folks to submit them through your church website or by calling the church office. Whatever process you choose, make sure that your church members know how to submit a request.
- Develop a process for communicating prayer requests. Most churches provide a written weekly prayer list on Wednesday nights. For those who are unable to attend, you can send the list through a weekly email. Other options include a prayer phone chain, and those can certainly still be utilized. Many churches use technologies that allow prerecorded messages to be sent out to all church members. You can also communicate non-confidential prayer requests on your church’s social media pages. Some churches may even choose to communicate different prayer requests on a daily basis. Again, choose what’s best for your church, but make sure you have a plan.
- Celebrate answered prayers. Whenever the Lord answers prayer, make sure that you communicate it with your prayer warriors so that everyone can celebrate and rejoice together! There’s nothing that motivates me to pray more than when I witness the effectiveness of prayer. I’m guessing I’m not alone!
- Publicize inside and outside the church. If you want to take your prayer ministry to another level, ask for prayer requests from those inside and outside your church. Contact local schools and businesses and ask for specific ways you can pray for them. Advertise on the local radio station or in the local newspaper. Set up a prayer hotline so that folks can call in to pray with a member of your church. The possibilities are endless!
Prayer is one of the most powerful weapons at your church’s disposal. If your church’s prayer ministry needs a jumpstart, I pray that these suggestions will help!