Starting Points for a Unique Prayer Strategy
I believe that each church’s prayer strategy will be different. Mistakes are often made with prayer ministry, when we simply try to copy something another church did that works. If we do not have a clear direction from the Holy Spirit to do so, that practice can be a big flop. But developing a unique prayer strategy can be a daunting task. As I help churches strategize, I offer two practical “jumping off points” to develop strategy around.
1. Use your church vision/mission statement as a guide. If your church has a mission statement, it was probably prayed over significantly, and word-smithed carefully. It is supposed to be what your church is all about. So use it to plan your prayer strategies. Make sure every aspect of that statement has prayer woven into the fabric. For example, most statements can be broken down into three areas: Win (evangelism), Train (discipleship), Send (missions). Your starting point with prayer ministry is to make sure each of those areas sees prayer develop within it.
- Develop strategies for prayer evangelism—prayerwalking your neighborhoods, a planned effort to pray for specific lost people, etc.
- Develop strategies to disciple in prayer—through Sunday school classes and small groups with electives, curricula, etc.
- Develop strategies that focus prayer outside the walls of your church and community—into the world. Plan creative ways for people to pray for your church’s missionaries. If you are denominational, get missions prayer guides from your headquarters to use.
2. Focus first with a successful or unique ministry. What’s the ministry that seems to have the most touches to the outside world, that seems to be an effective point of contact for the church and unbelievers? Develop solid prayer for that ministry. For example, what if you had dozens of unbelievers start to come to your M.O.P.S. program? The starting point for this church would be to cover those women in prayer, to have prayer teams in place at the church while the program was going on.
One other thing I challenge churches to do: If you are struggling for a starting point, here it is. First develop an ongoing effort to pray for your pastors. Nothing is more crucial to the spiritual health of a church, than the spiritual health of its pastor. Satan wants to destroy pastors. Make sure you have significant prayer covering and support for them. Many churches have seen dramatic changes in the spiritual atmosphere when a pastor’s prayer team was established.
--Jonathan Graf (C) 2015 Church Prayer Leaders Network.