A prayer team or ministry is one of the essential ministries of a church. They are often overlooked or even seen as less significant than other ministries, such as the music/worship ministry, ushering ministry, or technical ministry. Most of the time, their value is overlooked simply because their only job is to pray. However, that is precisely the point, and the reason a prayer team is so essential is because they pray! Prayer ministry is the backbone of a church. Just as prayers are essential in the life of a Christian, a prayer ministry is essential to a church. We are talking about a ministry that prays to God for many hours, interceding and making supplications to Him for the church and its congregation. If there are ministry initiatives that a church is about to begin, the prayer team is there to intercede for the ministry. If missionaries are being sent from your church, the prayer team regularly intercedes for the missionaries and the mission itself to be fruitful, the missionaries to be bold in their ministry and remain safe. The church’s prayer team is also praying for sick believers, covering the whole church and every area of concern as they intercede and pray for the congregation. They also celebrate with Christians and thank God for those who have had breakthroughs and their prayers answered. If it is dangerous to be a prayerless Christian, it is also detrimental to be in a church without a prayer team or ministry. If you are a volunteer in your church or a full-time staff member tasked with leading your church’s prayer team or ministry, this article is for you. We will discuss some tips that might help you as you lead your church’s prayer team. Just a quick note that the tips we’re about to discuss are not necessarily universal rules for leading a prayer team; some ways of doing things might work in a particular church context, while some may not. You can consider the tips shared here and see whether you can apply them or not. You can even consider some of the suggestions we share and modify their application to better suit your context.
1 Timothy 2:1
I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;
6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:17
Pray without ceasing.
And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.
How do you start a prayer team?
When starting a prayer team, the obvious thing to do is look for Christians who would like to volunteer for the prayer team. When looking for Christians to join the team, there are certain things you have to keep in mind and make clear to those who want to join. Namely, being in the prayer team requires being committed. Though the prayer team or ministry’s job is to pray for certain things and people in the church, it still requires commitment. Depending on the initiatives you will be implementing, there are certain times that commitment plays a key role. For example, let’s say that your prayer team decides that every Wednesday around 7 PM, all of you will take some time, whether it is 5min, 10min, or more, to pray for your church’s missionaries abroad. The expectation is for each member to do this at their respective homes, work, in the mall, etc. That requires commitment, not to pray later on, but to pray at the exact time you all committed to as a prayer team. There is not more power when you pray simultaneously, but what we are emphasizing here is the need for commitment. Commitment does not just mean praying at the agreed time. It is also needed when you as a prayer team decide to meet at a particular time of the week to gather together and pray for specific items or concerns. Commitment means making time for the agreed day and time where you gather as a team to pray. In other words, a prayer team is not just a ministry where anyone can join because they want to pray. While that is a good starting point, you must clarify that commitment is required from those who wish to participate. With that, you will be able to gather fellow team members who can commit.
Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business.
There are many ways for you to recruit volunteers to your prayer team. You can ask the church’s worship service coordinator or staff if you can announce that you are accepting volunteers for the prayer team during the announcement portion of the service. You can also utilize your church’s social media, if it has one, and post something about looking for volunteers for the church’s prayer team. There, you can also emphasize that joining is something that would require commitment. It is also important to note that when looking for volunteers, make it clear that the prayer ministry or intercession is not just for the “super Christians”. There is no such thing as a “super Christian”. Anyone can join the prayer team because, just like any Christian, they have the same access to God through Christ, their High Priest and mediator.
14 Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.
15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
How do you lead a prayer ministry?
There are many ways to lead a prayer team or ministry, and it will depend on the context of the church. However, if there is one irrefutable need when leading a prayer team or ministry, that is constantly updating the volunteers. The prayer team volunteers won’t know what to pray for unless you let them know about the prayer concerns they can and should commit to praying for. In other words, leading the prayer team or ministry means conveying information to the volunteers so that they can pray for it. Your responsibilities as you lead the prayer ministry are to gather information from the church staff or the congregation on what you can pray and intercede for them. As a prayer team, you won’t know what to pray for if you don’t know the things you can pray for. There are many ways to ask the congregation what to pray for them. You can use a dropbox where believers can write their prayer requests for the week, and then every week, you check the box and determine what you can pray for the congregation. You can also use social media by posting a social media graphic encouraging believers to message you their prayer requests.
Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.
You can also coordinate with the church staff. There is certain information that you can also learn from the church staff themselves so that you can pray for them—things like future church projects, ministry initiatives, additional church ministers, and more. It is essential that when you accept volunteers to the prayer team, they must be trustworthy individuals who won’t divulge any information they learn as they pray and intercede for others. From time to time, your prayer team will learn sensitive information about those for which you are interceding. In those cases, it is essential to remind the prayer team that whatever they learn about others as they pray, stays private.
A talebearer revealeth secrets: but he that is of a faithful spirit concealeth the matter.
How do you facilitate a prayer group?
Gathering together to pray as a group or team is one of the basic things you will be doing. To facilitate a prayer team or group, the first thing you should do is set a time and day where you will meet regularly to pray and intercede for the people and things you have to pray and intercede for. Note that the prayer ministry is a ministry and commitment. It is something that Christians do for God, not as a side hobby. In other words, setting a time does not necessarily have to be a time that is convenient for others. For example, if the only available time for everyone is early in the morning, then, by all means, set that time on a particular day to gather and pray together as a team, even if it is inconvenient for you or others. Prayer ministry is a ministry where the work that you do is for God. Therefore, it is only fitting that you must go out of your way to achieve it. Also, you should keep in mind when facilitating a prayer group to ensure that the prayer points are already established. You can write them down so you know what to tell the team to pray for when you facilitate the prayer group. How the prayer team will pray is entirely up to you. You can try different ways or stick with one. It also depends on the number of people available during the prayer meeting. If there are many people, you can try dividing the prayer team into smaller groups of 3 or 4, where each group will pray for the list of concerns you have prepared for the team. If fewer people are present, you can pray in a different manner. A person prays for one point, and then the next person follows as they pray for another point. Just remind your volunteers to be conscious of the time, unless you intend to pray for hours, which some prayer teams do. Facilitating a prayer team or group is not limited to when you gather to pray together as a team. You also lead or facilitate them by conveying the prayer points to be prayed. With today’s technology, most churches use group chats where the prayer team leader messages any updates or additional prayer points to pray for during the week through the group chat.
Father in heaven, You are the God who gives wisdom to those who ask. I pray that You will give me the grace and wisdom I need as I lead our church’s prayer team. Give me the discernment to pick the right volunteers for the prayer team. As I emphasize commitment to them, give me the grace to also show commitment and be an excellent example for them. I pray that I shall always have a righteous heart as I lead the prayer team, and that I shall lead knowing that I am serving You out of the desire to glorify You. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
As you lead your church’s prayer team, one good reminder is to always ask God for wisdom, discernment, and understanding. Wisdom is needed when it comes to leadership, and wisdom is rooted in the fear of the LORD. Also, you should be prayerful, just as you lead others to pray and intercede. You should always lead by example.