Churches: Do You Have a Prayer Team for Weekly Services?

Country Church from Trey Ratcliff at www.stuckincustoms.com“It is written,” He said to them, “‘My house will be a house of prayer'” – Jesus (Lk 19:46, Is 56:7)

One of the most pivotal moments of the week in the life of your church is when your church body is hearing the truth of the Word.

Hebrews 4:12 tells us what occurs as we hear or read the Word of God:

For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

Spiritual activity occurs in people’s hearts and lives as they hear God’s Word. In hearing His Word, Father brings to the surface of His children’s hearts:

  • Places He wants to heal – Ps 146:7-8; 147:3
  • Areas He wants to deal with – 2 Timothy 3:16
  • Aspects of their relationship with Him that He wants them to grow in
  • Sins He wants to root out of their lives and set them free from – Psalm 66:18
  • In the heart of a seeking person, His desire to rescue them from the dominion of darkness and bring them into the kingdom of the Son He loves – Colossians 1:13-14

As churches, what are we doing with these opportunities to minister and come alongside the members of our body in these pivotal moments?

Moreover, how did Jesus handle the pivotal moments after He delivered truth to the crowds?

  • Did He tell them to write down their prayer requests and hand them in so He and His disciples could pray about them later in the week?
  • Did He say to those who came to Him with needs, “Yes, I’ll pray for you” and then walk away?
  • Did He just send them on their way, not even giving them an opportunity to respond?

No, He didn’t. Jesus ministered to them by laying His hands on them and praying for them in those pivotal moments following His teaching (Mt 4:24, 8:16, 15:30) . . . and we should seek to do them same for spiritual, physical and emotional needs of the members of our church body.

There is a place for written prayer requests, but a church who doesn’t have a prayer team for their weekly services is missing many significant opportunities to minister and to be the house of prayer Jesus has called our churches to be (Luke 19:46, Isaiah 56:7).

Few churches would let themselves be without a team of elders, deacons, deaconesses, ushers, greeters, and volunteers to teach in their children’s and adult groups and yet many churches don’t have a prayer team for their weekly services. Why is that? 

Possibly because in the functioning of our weekly services having a prayer team isn’t a logistical necessity. Yet it is a spiritual necessity. I talk more about the vital need for intercession in our churches in my book, Precious Stones of Intercession: Specific and Persistent Prayer on Behalf of Others.

There must be a place for the individual ministry of prayer at our weekly services, it is essential for the spiritual health and the maturing of our body.

In building a prayer team for your weekly services, look for these qualities which make the word STABLE:

SSpirit-Led – Galatians 5:17-25 – an excellent resource for study is Spirit Rising by Jim Cymbala with Jennifer Schuchmann
TTeachablethey don’t talk or act like they know it all, they are humble in their wisdom
AAccountable to both their prayer team and church leadership for living a life that is above reproach and striving in His strength to be continually growing in their walk with Christ
BBiblically-Based their prayers are based on Scripture and not their own thoughts or understanding. A helpful tool is Praying God’s Word by Beth Moore
LLeaders & Learners – both in their walk with Christ as well as in their prayer life
EEquipped to handle Spiritual Warfare – an excellent book for deeper study is The Invisible War by Chip Ingram

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5 Treasures to Keep You Going Through the Tough Times

Start of the RaceAt the beginning of the race, we are raring to go (def.), especially when we first come to know Christ or when we first become certain of the calling He has given us in the body of Christ.

It as time goes on and the . . .

  • race becomes harder
  • run becomes more grueling
  • our running partners begin to drop off
  • our enthusiasm begins to wane
  • criticism from the crowd starts to overpower the cheering from the sidelines
  • we start to wonder if it’s truly worth all the blood, sweat, and tears

In our race of faith, the point at which we are starting to grow weary and faint is exactly the point when we need to fortify our spirit and mind with these 5 treasures from God’s Word.

1. Don’t Give Up

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. – Gal 6:9

The Enemy seeks to try to get us to give up right before the harvest if not sooner. The more he is able to do so, the more he can get us to believe the lie that what we do for God really isn’t worth it. 1 Corinthians 15:58 is a vital truth to have in our mind’s arsenal for doubting times such as these.

With all this going for us, my dear, dear friends, stand your ground. And don’t hold back. Throw yourselves into the work of the Master, confident that nothing you do for him is a waste of time or effort.1 Cor. 15:58 MSG

2. Take Heart

 Because the Sovereign Lord helps me, I will not be disgraced. Therefore have I set my face like flint, and I know I will not be put to shame. – Is 50:7

Pastor Joseph Tan of The Living Way Church in Singapore does a phenomenal job of explaining how to tangibly do this in his message, “Set Your Face Like Flint” (video also at the end of post).

3. One Thing You Seek

One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple. – Ps 27:4

Determine in your heart that this truly is the one thing you desire in life. This is your one necessity. Your relationship with Father and your eternal destiny are the only things that cannot be taken from you in this earthly life (Rm 8:28-39).

4. One Thing You Do

Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. – Phil 3:13-14

It’s one of the hardest and yet the most freeing things we will do in life and ministry. Forget what is behind and strain toward what is ahead. Press on toward the prize God has awaiting you.

As long as you’re seeking the prize of people’s approval (Gal 1:10), accomplishment, and fame, this freeing truth will be far out of reach. It is only through true abandonment and surrender that you find the strength and humility to embrace Jesus as:

  • The One you are accountable to and who is in charge of your credibility – 1 Cor 4:5, Zech 4:6, 1 Cor 2:1-5
  • The Redeemer of circumstances and situations you have done everything you could to bring peace and resolution – Rm 12:18
  • The Blessed Controller who is at work in those people and places He has told you to let go of and continue on with the calling He has given you – 1 Tim 6:15

5. Run with Guts (aka perseverance)

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. – Heb 12:1-3

If you haven’t hidden these treasures in your heart, I encourage you to make it your goal to memorize and mediate on one verse a week for the next five weeks.

For more encouragement, listen to Pastor Joseph Tan’s message: Set Your Face Like Flint.

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Get Rid of Your Excuses

No Excuses signExcuses . . . we don’t like to have them said to us, but we all like to say them.

  • I can’t because . . .
  • It’s because of . . .
  • I’m sorry, but . . .
  • If you knew _____________, then you’d understand why I __________.
  • The reason why I ______________ is . . .

Our excuses will go on and on if we allow them too, much like how weeds multiply in an untended garden.

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As you read through the Bible, most of God’s children’s reasons for disobeying Him were rooted in excuses.

  • King Saul: “But I did obey the Lord” – 1 Samuel 15:20-26
  • Israelites: “If only we had died in Egypt! Or in this desert! Why is the Lord bringing us to this land only to let us fall by the sword?” – Numbers 14:1-4
  • Moses: But Moses said to the LORD, “If the Israelites will not listen to me, why would Pharaoh listen to me, since I speak with faltering lips?” – Exodus 6:10-12
  • Isaac: Lied to Abimelech king of the Philistines that his wife, Rebekah, was his sister, “Because I thought I might lose my life on account of her.” – Genesis 26:1-10
  • Jacob:  Used the excuse that because his mom, Rebekah, advised him to trick his dad, Isaac, it was ok to do so. Then deceitfully took his brother Esau’s blessing — a choice that affected the rest of his life. – Genesis 27:1-30

Sadly, our excuses lead to heartaches, regrets, and missing out on God’s best for us.

God offers us His best, but then He leaves us with a choice.

This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. – Dt 30:19-20

The choice is ours. Daily we choose between our excuses and God’s best for us. May we adamantly get rid of our excuses and choose God’s best for us.

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How Is Your Prayer Portfolio?

“It’s all too easy to admire from afar the power of prayer and understand the promises attached to it without ever experiencing its reality in our lives.” – Spirit Rising by Jim Cymbala with Jennifer Schuchmann

If you were to write down the answered prayers you’ve experienced in your life, how long would your list be?

  • Would the span of time between answers cover days or years?
  • Would the answered prayers primarily be about your needs, and your family and friends or would they also include answered prayers for your church, missionaries, ministries, and people in other countries?
  • Do you have enough faith to believe God works through your prayers whether or not you actually see or hear about the answers?

GemstonesIn Matthew 6:19-20, Jesus exhorts us:

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.”

Are you storing up for yourself treasures in heaven in the form of ongoing, fervent prayer and intercession for others?

The unfortunate truth is that if our prayers were like planted seeds, many of us would see the sum total of our prayers like the equivalent of a small backyard garden plot: for the most part, we faithfully prayed for our needs, family, and friends.

harvest fieldFew of us would see the equivalent of a harvest field.

Why?

James 5:16-17 makes it clear that the power of prayer is equally available to all believers:

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.

Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years.

Precious Stones of IntercessionIn my book, Precious Stones of Intercession: Specific and Persistent Prayer on Behalf of Others, I ask:

Are we a people who consistently intercede for substantial lengths of time on the behalf of our churches which need cleansing, our marriages which need strengthening, and our ministries that need the wind of the Holy Spirit’s fresh empowering?

My invitation to each person reading this book is not to just pray for your needs, requests, family, and friends—but to specifically and persistently intercede for our church bodies, neighborhoods, communities, government, and for other countries.

How is your prayer portfolio?

Is it the equivalent of a backyard garden plot or is it an expanding harvest field?

How would you like it to be?

Brothers and sisters, may we be willing to stand in the gap for our families, brothers, sisters, church families and those who have yet to be rescued from the dominion of darkness (Col 1:13-14). May eternity reveal the precious stones of intercession that were quarried because we prayed earnestly. Precious Stones

photo credit: Collin Key via photo pin cc

What’s a Prophetic Intercessor?

Angela Intercedes

It’s the kind of question people don’t ask – they’re afraid the answer could open a can of worms. But it’s on their minds: What is a prophetic intercessor?

A great book definition of it:

Prophetic Intercessor – seems to hear from God almost as much as they speak to God.  Exhortation, faith, wisdom, words of knowledge and discernment flow from the prophetic intercessor.

With those who are “eyes” and “ears” (prophetic intercessors), God often shares the secrets of His heart and the strategies of His work.  God reveals His plans to them.  At times He reveals the plans of the enemy, as well. (Jeremiah 33:3, 1 Thessalonians 5:19-21) – Beyond the Veil by Alice Smith

Your burning question may still be, “But what does a prophetic intercessor do beyond pray lots?”

Father has a job description to fit His unique and specific calling on the life of a prophetic intercessor. Yet there are also similarities amongst the differences. Below is what living out Father’s calling on my life looks like:

Ministry Leaders and Friends

Connect with and Encourage Ministry Leaders

Over the years, Father has had me encourage and connect with ministry leaders all over the world. Some connections become a long-term partnering, some are for just a season of ministry, and some are for the length of a phone or email conversation.Through these relationships and connections, Father has me live out the heart of Hebrews 10:24 to His Beloved shepherds and leaders.

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.

Onsite Intercession

Teach and Train

I teach about intercessory prayer and spiritual warfare at churches or small group gatherings.

I train short-term mission teams through a training called Luke 10 Training to prepare the teams to effectively intercede for the people and the country they are traveling to as well as how to knowledgeably battle the spiritual warfare they will face there.

Sometimes, I lead mission teams in intercessory prayer on-site on the mission trip.

ministry leaders of today and tomorrow

Come Alongside Churches, Ministries, and Individuals

 . . . in dealing with long-term, ongoing, and debilitating spiritual warfare in their church body, ministry, or in their personal lives.

I have given you authority . . . to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.

Long-term, ongoing, and debilitating spiritual warfare is an opportunity to join Father in believing His promise to us in Psalm 20:6-8 and countless other verses.

Precious Stones of IntercessionNow I know that the Lord saves his anointed; He answers him from his holy heaven with the saving power of His right hand. Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.

They are brought to their knees and fall, but we rise up and stand firm.

I detail more stories of churches, ministries, and individuals experiencing freedom from bondage and from long-term, ongoing, and debilitating spiritual warfare in my book Precious Stones of Intercession: Specific and Persistent Prayer on Behalf of Others.

Speak and Write

Angela Speaking

Our churches, ministries, families, and world are in desperate need for us as believers to daily walk in the power and authority we have been given and to actively and boldly fight against the spiritual warfare that attacks us on all fronts.

My mission in speaking and writing is to help build up the body with practical strategies to make the above a functional reality in their church, ministry, and family life.

Even I Have Asked the Question

As a prophetic intercessor, I have the honor and the privilege to intercede, and to strengthen, encourage and comfort the body of Christ through Father’s words (1 Cor 14:3).

It is a calling I never thought of having. It’s a calling I and others have questioned. It’s a calling that invites both the curiosity and critique of others. It is a calling I wouldn’t have chosen for myself.

And yet, in submitting to Father’s plan and living for an audience of One, I increasingly find that there is no greater honor and no greater privilege than to be who He has called you to be and to do what He has called you to do (Eph 2:10).

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Find Your Biblical Example

shepherd for the Shepherd

Father took away what I loved the most, what I did the best — teaching children; and gave me a gift I didn’t ask for that I am to use primarily to minister to His grown-up kids, as one of His prophetic intercessors (1 Cor 14:3).

Since I was young there is one thing I wanted to do in life: teach children. Adults were fine in my book as long as I didn’t need to spend a lot of time interacting with them.

Over and over in a span of many years, in various places and roles, many people have affirmed my gift for teaching and interacting with children. Teaching children is my sweet spot and my love in life. And yet, Father called me away from doing it in a full-time capacity.

Has Father called you away from something you loved and were good at and given you a different calling?

As you live out that calling Father has given you, it is imperative to find who your biblical example is:

  • Who do you identify with in the Bible?
  • Who has Father drawn you to in the reading of His Word?
  • How can you learn from their pitfalls, weaknesses, and victories?

I identify with Amos. Amos was a shepherd who God called to be a prophet.

Amos answered Amaziah, “I was neither a prophet nor a prophet’s son, but I was a shepherd, and I also took care of sycamore-fig trees. But the Lord took me from tending the flock and said to me, ‘Go, prophesy to my people Israel.’ – Amos 7:14-15

Amos knew how to shepherd sheep and care for trees. Yet, God called him to be a prophet.

Over the 14 years since I graduated with a teaching degree, Father has again and again asked me through circumstances, situations, closed doors, and choices, “What will you choose?” As the years have gone on, my heart more and more quickly responds, often with weeping or tear-filled eyes, “I choose You Father, I choose You.”

In redefining our life and calling, Father’s ultimate goal is to bring us to that very point of surrender — that above everything else, we choose Him without any qualifications.

I was blessed to have a pastoral friend and mentor journey with me through my struggle to embrace and live out the calling Father has given me. One day he challenged me with a truth I continue to be challenged by, “Life is a series of surrenders for those who seek to serve the King.”

After much discussion, prayer, and reflection, I wrote the following declaration:

I am content and blessed in just accepting who I am and what Father has given me to do. They are His messages and His children and if my part involves being on the fringes and praying on the periphery and through the night and being looked at a little funny and only partially understood — there is no greater honor and no greater privilege.

I pray that even with the continued pains of loss and the streams of tears that come with “the series of surrenders that are required of those who seek to serve the King” that my heart will always answer each role, each task, each sacrifice with . . .

Father I accept my portion and my cup (Ps 16:5).
There is no greater honor. There is no greater privilege.

  1. What is your story?
  2. Where are you in your journey?
  3. Have you accepted the portion and cup Father has given to you?
  4. Who is your biblical example?
  5. Has your heart come to that point of surrender where you can wholeheartedly say, “I choose you Father, I choose You.”

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Living a Life Worthy of Your Calling

the ultimate question

As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. – Ephesians 4:1

It was He who gave

  • some to be apostles
  • some to be prophets
  • some to be evangelists
  • and some to be pastors and teachers

to prepare God’s people for works of service,
so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. – Eph 4:11-13

When it’s all said and done, when you kneel before His throne of grace and behold Jesus’ face, what will your answer be to the ultimate question for believers?

Did you live a life worthy of the calling that you received?

Paul thought it vitally important to remind Timothy to:

. . .fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. – 2 Timothy 1:6-7

Has Father given you a calling as one of His apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, or teachers?

If so, think back to the when, where, how of your beginning.

Then ask yourself where are you now?

Below is part of my story of my beginnings as one of Father’s prophetic intercessors (1 Cor 14:3):

I was standing in the lobby of the church I worked at as a Children’s Ministry Associate on the Sunday after Easter. A mission leader in Asia who knew me as a participant from a mission trip earlier that year, was talking with me.

During that trip Father had given me the directive to intercede over the ministry this mission leader led and over his country. In the months since that trip, both our ministry stateside and their ministry had witnessed great fruit as a direct result of the spiritual strongholds that were broken through intercession before, during, and after that trip.

This man of great wisdom, humility, and maturity, intently looked at me and quietly spoke prophetic words which forever altered my life and ministry:

“God has given you a gift. Tell us when God speaks to you about us.”

From that point forward, I have lived with a vivid daily choice to use or to hide away from a gift that is often misunderstood and guarded against by the body of Christ.

Living a life worthy of the calling you have received is an intentional daily choice.

If you have never put into writing the calling Father has given to you and the fulcrum of it, I encourage you to do so and to review it regularly.

Will Davis Jr., pastor of Austin Christian Fellowship posts his ministry calling on his blog on the anniversary of his call to ministry. As he explains, “I republish it every January 19, if for no other reason than to refresh my sense of calling and passion.”

Are you living a life worthy of the calling you have received?

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