The function of a prayer ministry is its purpose; and its function will tell us what it does; it will give us the reasons why we should have it. In this post we will discuss five functions of a prayer ministry.
Five Functions of a Prayer Ministry
1. It provides for teaching on prayer. Every prayer ministry should do some-thing to teach its people what prayer is and how to pray. If your ministry is in a church, and you are the head pastor, you should see to it that sermons are preached on prayer and that prayer is taught in Sunday school classes and bible study groups. Wherever your ministry is located, I think it would be good if you had prayer retreats and prayer conferences, where speakers would teach on prayer and where workshops would be given to learn about prayer. Moreover, you should encourage your people to read books on prayer. I suggest you have good books and pamphlets on display and available for your people.
2. It exists to encourage and motivate people to pray. When your teachers and conference speakers teach on prayer they should always teach in such a way that prayer is encouraged. In other words, they should be excited about prayer and should seek to motivate their listeners to pray more and with more earnestness. It would also be helpful if leaders would send out a regular letter or memo just to encourage people to pray.
3. It provides a structure to gather and distribute prayer requests. The gathering and distribution of prayer requests is vital for a prayer ministry. Everybody has prayer requests, but for one reason or another most of us don’t always share them. The prayer ministry should provide the atmosphere and the tools to share and record prayer requests so that people can pray over them.
One thing we always do in my church Sunday school class is have a time when the leader asks for prayer requests; and he records them on the dry erase board. Then we all break up into groups and pray over them. I think this is one of the best ways to pray for needs. I always look forward to that time.
Other things can be done too. Prayer chains are very helpful, especially for urgent needs. The way it works is when someone has an urgent need he would call a designated leader and share his request with him. That leader would then call all the other chain leaders. Those leaders would make just one more call to the first person on their chain. Each person that is called will have the responsibility to call another person and pray over the request until everyone on the chain is called. This method won’t work of course unless every person on the chain is faithful to call and pray. If just one forgets to call all the rest won’t get called and therefore they won’t get the opportunity to pray. However, if you have some faithful dedicated people, the prayer chain is a very good tool and I have seen it bring some speedy answers to prayer.
Leaders should also instruct their people to get in the habit of making lists of requests so they can pray over them later. Every time I meet with people in a group and prayer requests are shared I write them down so I can take them home and periodically pray over them.
All sorts of things can be done to gather prayer requests. I suggest that if there are mission minded people in your ministry they could gather requests from missionaries around the world. If there are people more interested in world event or in politics they could gather those types of requests. Also, requests could be gathered from various ministry groups in your church. All the different types of requests could be distributed to prayer groups and to faithful intercessors. Those who are faithful at prayer will be delighted to receive the requests because they love to pray.
4. It provides a structure to gather people for prayer. It would be great if people would just naturally meet together for prayer on their own, but it just doesn’t work. People have to be reminded to pray together. They have to be given opportunities, and meeting places; and they have to be given the proper motivation to pray. The prayer ministry can provide these things as its members volunteer to open up their homes as meeting places and to lead prayer groups. They can also volunteer to call and remind people to come to prayer meetings.
5. It gives people the opportunity to lead and serve. The larger you make your prayer ministry the more positions of service will open. When you begin to plan your ministry, design it well and let people know of all the opportunities to serve.