How to Start a Prayer Ministry in Your Church

In order for us to minister to others through prayer, however, we have to prepare ourselves spiritually.

Tim Lale
How to Start a Prayer Ministry in Your Church

Prayer ministry is the bedrock spiritual foundation of your church. When you sense God’s call to take up this ministry, consider the following:

Prepare yourself. The Bible abounds with advice on approaching God, and He welcomes our turning toward Him at any time. In order for us to minister to others through prayer, however, we have to prepare ourselves spiritually. Spend time in prayer, confessing all your sins, and receive the forgiveness and renewal the Holy Spirit brings when you humble yourself before God.

Along with spiritual preparation, you can do some homework. Go through a guide to prayer ministry, such as the Prayer Ministries Coordinator Quick Start Guide from AdventSource.* Aim to expand your knowledge of prayer practices, and consider the variety of ways prayer can be a ministry.

Pray for wisdom. It’s worth taking time to pray for the Holy Spirit’s insight into your specific purposes. Among them may be to pray regularly for the strength and protection of your pastor(s) and other spiritual leaders; to ask for and receive guidance for your congregation’s ministries; to bring spiritual awakening and growth for fellow members and for yourself; to increase the quality and frequency of fellowship; to intercede before God in times of trial and catastrophe within and outside the church; and so on.

Meet with your pastor. Effective prayer ministry is always a goodwill partnership with the congregation’s leadership, especially the pastor. It’s best to approach the pastor with an attitude of receiving counsel as well as outlining a vision. Invite the pastor to be as involved as he or she can be. Aim to establish the basic outline of the ministry.

Start with prayer meeting. Few spiritual gatherings will bring more benefits than this one. If you haven’t been in the habit of meeting with church family members for an hour of prayer, you’ll marvel at the rich benefits and ministry opportunities it brings when you try it out. It’s the superfood of your spiritual diet.

Prayer meeting formats can vary, but the biggest aim is to keep the focus on prayer. While Bible study and discussion should be part of the meeting, watch for mission creep. As Adventists we love to study, and we love to talk, so be sure to reserve a set amount of time to pray (I recommend a 50-50 time split at minimum), and don’t allow other activities to crowd it out. Programs such as 40 Days of Prayer can guide you.

Teach prayer. Those who join you for prayer gatherings may not be familiar with the conventions and practices of prayer. To get the prayer ministry going, you might offer a seminar or vespers program, teaching both the spiritual foundations, the practices, and the benefits of taking time for community prayer. Revisit prayer instruction once in a while.

Expect miracles. Prayer ministry is not just talk. In fellowship with other believers, we pray to God knowing and expecting that He will reply and act. Miracles are the workings of God in our lives, and you will see His work and His wisdom in ways that you have never seen before.

* See, for example, for English language material. Your local conference or union will have material available in your own language.

Tim Lale