Effective Prayer Ministry:
Outgrowth of Relationship, Requires the Right Purposes
If you are going to have an effective prayer ministry, whether it be personal, with a prayer partner(s), or corporately in the church, you need the following:
When you understand and practice the above elements in prayer, then you are ready to:
It is then that you will begin to see an increase in participation and the development of a passion within others to meet with God through prayer resulting in praise to our Lord.
Effectiveness in Prayer Requires Personal Relationship
If prayer is going to be real and meaningful to people, then you must help them understand that prayer is . . . .
more than attending a meeting.
-- It is connecting with their heavenly Father.
more than a programmed event or activity.
-- It is coming into the presence of the almighty God.
more than a Christian discipline.
-- It is communicating with a living and personal God.
Remember in Luke 11:1-4 when one of the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray, He said to them, "When you pray, say: 'Our Father ...'." Jesus was teaching the personal and intimate nature of prayer.
Make your prayer meetings or prayer efforts about relationship, not merely praying requests. Words are shallow and meaningless when there is no sense of connection. When God Himself is the main attraction, you won't need gimmicks or arm-twisting to keep people coming.
In developing a prayer ministry you need to ask what you are hoping to accomplish through it. Maybe you are hoping to see God take care of a list of requests. You possibly want to see Him do great and mighty things in your midst or to bring revival. Perhaps you simply want to be obedient to His command to pray. Or, you may be trying to emulate the early church of the New Testament of whom it was said that they devoted themselves to prayer (Acts 2:42).
While all that and much more can happen as people meet together to pray, you will undoubtedly find a greater level of effectiveness when your purposes are centered more on God than on you. When prayer is about Him and not you, you tend to come to Him with the right heart attitudes. Your role, though important, isn't primary.
Emphasize the following purposes and watch the difference it makes in your prayer ministry:
- 1) Use prayer as a means of keeping focused on God.
- Heart Attitude: You come to Him from a position of impotence realizing that your prayers are not the power source but rather God is.
Why is it that prayers we think have lined up with how they should be don't always 'appear' to get answered? The way prayer works is one of those things that isn't always easy to figure out for a reason. We humans, Christian humans, can get more hung up on the activity of prayer than on God Himself. We think, if we just pray hard enough, or effectively enough, or long enough, or persistently enough, then things will happen. Our prayers don't bring revival. God does. Our prayers don't change things. God does. Prayer is not a way to arm-twist God into doing what we think He should do, regardless of the form of that prayer.
- Your Role: What about the need to have faith when we pray? ..... sure, faith in GOD, not in your prayers
- 2) Use prayer as a means of acknowledging His grace in your life.
- Heart Attitude: You come to Him from a position of dependence realizing that if anything is going to happen, it has to be because of His grace.
God doesn't owe us a thing!!!! Our prayers should acknowledge this. If our good deeds were good enough to move Him, Jesus wouldn't have had to die for us. We approach the throne of grace solely on the basis of what Jesus has done for us. Therein is our confidence.
- Your Role: Isn't a pure life important? ..... sure, but even that is because of God's grace so it still doesn't give us the edge in praying (See Titus 2:11-12.)
- 3) Use prayer as a means of keeping His sovereignty in place in your life.
- Heart Attitude: You come to Him from a position of humility and submission realizing it needs to be His will and not your will that must be done.
How easy it is to get disappointed when our prayers don't get answered the way we think they should. We somehow forget that His ways are higher than our ways (Isa. 55:9).
- Your Role: Doesn't God promise to answer when we pray in His will? ..... sure, but let Him be the judge of what is His will
- 4) Use prayer as a means of maintaining your relationship with Him.
- Heart Attitude: Come to Him from a position of sonship realizing that He greatly delights in the fact that you've come to Him.
We should come to Him in prayer not primarily because we have an agenda to take up with Him but because we want to be with Him, to be in His presence. Let's tell Him how wonderful He is. Let's talk things over with Him. Let's listen to what He has to say as well.
- Your Role: Isn't it important to have the right motivations when praying? .... sure, and like Paul, put "knowing Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings" on the top of the list