In our modern world people are so busy that it’s extremely hard to find a time and place to meet together frequently with a prayer team in order to effectively pray for our Pastors, churches and the needs of individuals. Our prayer team solved this problem by implementing a 6 AM weekday morning prayer line using a conference call service.
How to Do This Prayer Practice
1. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you find ways to overcome the challenges of your job as a prayer leader.
I am a Prayer Leader for my local church. I have been a member of the Prayer Ministry for nine years and have been the Prayer Leader going into my fourth year. The challenges of being a Prayer Leader are many. Despite the challenges, the most important thing I have learned is that the Holy Spirit is always in control. Commit to prayer regularly and don’t give up on what it looks like around you. The Holy Spirit has shown and taught our prayer team so many things about what it takes to remain strong in order to overcome the obstacles that every church faces in making Gods house a House of Prayer.
The main goal of our prayer ministry is to pray on behalf of our Pastors and their families, our Leaders, and the Body of Christ, and for the body of believers universal. Most importantly our goal is to find ways to teach and engage the entire Body of Believers to pray and to make prayer a lifestyle for every member. Because this is so challenging, the Holy Spirit led us to begin a weekday morning Prayer Line conference call that fulfills both of our missions.
2. Enlist your prayer team and start small.
When I rolled out the idea of a Monday – Friday Prayer Line from 6:00 am to 6:30 am to our prayer ministry team they were a little skeptical that it would work – and rightfully so. There is a lot of work and commitment involved. One person trying to do it all would eventually get drained easily and quickly. So I decided we would begin with a “test run” during the Lenten Season. We initially called it a “40 Days of Lent Prayer Line.” The prayer ministry members committed to help and once we got started they were very encouraged. After Easter we decided that we would continue the Prayer Line Monday through Friday from 6:00 A.M. to 6:30 A.M. for the remainder of the year
3. Set up a Free Conference call account.
This is very easy. There are many resources online to get you started with a free conference call number. We use Free Conference Pro and you can open up an account by logging on to their website: http://www.freeconferencepro.com/ or you can Google Search “Free Conference Call” and the search engine will return options for you to find what service will work best for you. Once you have registered with a Free Conference Service they will immediately assign to you a designated phone number, passcode, and host ID number.
4. Structure and Organize your prayer line call.
During the 40 days of Lenten Prayer Line we focused our prayer time using scriptures that were prepared by our Pastor for the entire congregation. These scriptures reminded us of what the Lenten Season was all about and helped us to focus on praying for repentance and humbling ourselves as we fasted and prayed.
When we decided to continue after Lent we made a Prayer Calendar with a particular focus for each month with scriptures relating to the prayer focus.
The structure of the calls is simple and basic.
Welcome and greetings. The leader of the call for that particular day opens up with greetings from the prayer ministry and welcomes everyone to the call. We especially welcome any first time callers and thank them for joining us and encourage them to join us again.
Scripture. After the welcome we remind the callers of the Prayer Calendar focus for the month and share in reading the scripture verses highlighted for the day from the calendar.
Call courtesy instructions. We provide further instructions about muting phones, and we ask that as we begin to pray that everyone would be mindful to keep their petitions to one to two minutes because we want everyone to have an opportunity to pray.
Prayer time. The leader opens up with a brief prayer to cover the call and participants. Then the call is open for the first 15 to 20 minutes just for persons to pray.
Request and praise time. The last 5 minutes we open the call for prayer request, praise reports, and testimonies.
Leader’s closing prayer. The leader then closes the call, praying over the prayer requests.
5. Assign leadership roles.
In the beginning each ministry member was assigned a week to lead the calls. After the Lenten season we voted to assign days of the week to each ministry member. We found this to be a lot more manageable. We even reached out to those who were faithfully calling in every day and enlisted their service to take a day of the week and lead the calls. This system is working out very well.
6. Get the word out to the congregation.
As I mentioned earlier, the responsibility of a Prayer Ministry is to find new and inventive ways to constantly engage the Body of Christ to pray. The Pastor and the Prayer Ministry cannot do this alone. The main purposes of the Prayer Line being started for our church was to encourage the congregation to call in and pray and to discipline ourselves to pray continuously as the scriptures tell us (1 Thessalonians 5:17).
The Monthly Prayer Calendar we use on the Prayer Line is prepared and set out in areas where the church members can easily access them. The Prayer Calendar has the call-in numbers and access code and time set for the call as well as the focus and scriptures. Also, announcements are posted in the bulletin and word of mouth also serves as a great tool for awareness about the Prayer Line.
7. Encourage all to pray.
We encourage everyone who calls in to pray! Pray, pray, pray!! There are many Prayer Lines that don’t do this. On other Prayer Lines callers are often automatically placed on mute while the Prayer Leaders pray and take control of the entire call. People become dependent on others praying for them and there is a great danger in that. We are all called to prayer and the fears and pre-conceptions that believers have about prayer are greater than some people realize. As Jesus taught the disciples that instead of just fishing for a living, they would become fishers of men, so we try to teach and encourage every person who calls in that God wants to hear from them and that it is through their own prayers and time spent with God that they will build a relationship with the Father and get to know Him for themselves. We have had people give testimony on the line that they were fearful to pray and that because of the Prayer Line they have broken the strongman of fear. To God be the Glory!
8. Listen for God’s encouragement if you don’t see a large number of participants at first.
The information I have provided are some simple guidelines for those who may want to give this a try and step out with something new. I pray it has been helpful! Sometimes it is discouraging when the numbers don’t add up to what you know it should be or want it to be. As I mentioned, the Holy Spirit is always in control. One of the ways we know that we are doing what God has called us to do in this season is that when we are most discouraged God will always send someone to tell us about how much the Prayer Line is a blessing to them! We know that this is Gods way of encouraging us to continue and that He is with us. Don’t get stuck on numbers, it may discourage you every time but the promises in Gods word that our Prayer Ministry stands on are Matthew 18:20 “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” And, Amos 3:3 “Can two walk together, except they are agreed? People use conference lines for everything else, why not use it to advance the kingdom of God!
9. Care for and encourage your prayer team.
As a Prayer Leader another of my responsibilities is to keep the ministry united. Although we do morning conference calls, we also meet together regularly face to face on Wednesday evenings to pray. When the Holy Spirit leads, we use that time to strengthen the ministry and to pray for each other. This keeps every ministry member accountable and units the ministry for the works it has been called to do. Often times we are so busy praying for everybody else’s needs that we become tired and drained. From time to time we have to stop and encourage one another and then we find strength to continue to effectively do what the Lord has called us to do. Because the enemy does not want us to pray we are often under attack. The enemy loves to isolate believers and try to weaken their effectiveness. This is especially true for Prayer Leaders and ministries that are set up to stand in the gap. Thankfully, according to Isaiah 40:31 “But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles, they will run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” This is not the time to give up but to press in and press on!
Copyright Sondra Green 2012 All rights reserved.