The How To's of Prayer Ministry
Initially starting a prayer ministry or prayer letter are worthy ends in themselves. However, as we have said earlier, prayer and action are always intertwined. Concerted prayer leads to greater wisdom, the experience of fellowship and unity, and a shared vision. When prayer begins to intertwine itself into the fibre of church life, a passion for growth and outreach into the community soon follows. A lone campus prayer ministry will find itself impassioning people outside its local confines. The vision becomes extended to pastors, prayer gatherings, city wide intercessor's workshops, prayer summits and even conferences. The vision to infuse a vision of prayer to other local church bodies is embraced. Prayer pastors will find themselves helping others who are entering into prayer mobilization for the first time. As leaders begin to truly trust one another and acknowledge each other as integral parts in the plan of God for their area, this is the ground swell for community or even city transformation. Creative ideas emerge as prayer ministries and prayer pastors begin to join forces. Sudden realization to the possibilities generated by a true corporate area prayer vision. For too long the church has fought its battles in a disjointed manner many times directed toward one-another. The independence, isolation, and non-cooperation of the local church is akin to an army sending out small units into different areas of the battlefield with no central strategy or way to effectively communicate or come to each other's aid in a fire-fight. Without a central strategy and intense cooperation, very few armies can attain a victory in a war.
As pray leaders come together and grow close in personal relationships, God can begin to remove fears, a competitive spirit, and insecurities created by comparisons between churches. Instead of looking at their own churches as competing to create better and more effective programs to reach people in the same community that the other churches are striving to reach, the church undergoes a paradigm shift, seeing corporate ownership. Senior pastors may fear that cooperation will lead to loss of membership and a downturn in giving. Some may fear that closer exposure to other churches will highlight what they perceive to be the weaknesses in their own ministry. Others may not be willing to allow their associate pastors' job descriptions to be rewritten to include joint planning with other churches. Some may hide behind doctrinal shields, or take refuge in church traditions. From a human perspective, what is being proposed here is not possible. But with a new spirit of prayer and an outpouring of God's Spirit the impossible can become possible! We contend that if churches in a given city take the risk to develop a strategic plan that will involve true cooperation at the "Macro" and "Micro" level, ministry results and effectiveness will multiply exponentially, and all of the churches involved will experience growth. For this vision to become a reality many courageous pastors and prayer leaders must put their reputations on the line and go forward boldly, making new and unprecedented decisions within their own congregations and with their sister churches. "Micro" level cooperation in a city can make the church universal in that city, concretely visible.
The Responsibilities of the Strategic Prayer Coordinator or Prayer Outreach Coordinator
Directing the overall development of a strategic prayer plan for growth
both in the local church and for citywide prayer strategies, discussion
and planning can and should take place as gatherings of prayer ministries
and leaders arise in cooperation. Other planning times will become necessary
as the vision expands. Ideally, the strategic prayer coordinator should
recruit a team to assist in the planning process, which may need to meet
separately to first mobilize a task force. Just as secular city governments
create "planning commissions" to oversee the overall development
in the city, so the churches should have a [task force] team that is thinking
strategically about how best to reach their city.
As part of an effort to create a prayer strategy in a given city, churches may find it helpful to work together in some of the above activities. For example, afternoon prayer-walks are events that several churches can do together. Days of fasting during times of key need can become a citywide event. A prayer school taught with the cooperation of different churches by prayer leadership or pastors. Public prayer rallies at selected sites can be held periodically. As lay people in various churches have the experience of praying together whether it be a prayer-walk or other event, relationships will develop that will assist in the breaking down of barriers between churches and bringing the Spirit of God into a city to bring blessing and salvation to it's people.
Task Force Ideas: