“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:
S – Spirit-Led – Galatians 5:17-25 – an excellent resource for study is Spirit Rising by Jim Cymbala with Jennifer Schuchmann
T – Teachable – they don’t talk or act like they know it all, they are humble in their wisdom
A – Accountable – 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
B – Biblically-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
L – Leaders & Learners – both in their walk with Christ as well as in their prayer life
E – Equipped to handle Spiritual Warfare – an excellent book for deeper study is The Invisible War by Chip Ingram