Earlier this week I posted about developing a prayer ministry at our church. I want to continue to share some of the thought process for this ministry. God has gifted the whole body of Christ to be able to minister to each other. We as pastors can share the load of ministering to those around us by investing in a group of people who truly care about people. We can help them know how best to minister to others and give them tools to accomplish this. As we build this kind of ministry, we can allow God to work through the process in a way that only He can. Below are the guidelines and principles of this prayer ministry that we have at our church:
Guidelines and Principles
1. Realize the serious nature of what is happening when someone responds to an invitation.
2. Realize that the enemy and human flesh are interested in interfering with what the Holy Spirit is doing during an invitation
3. Always be spiritually prepared to minister.
a. You should be in unity with those in authority
b. You should be living a life honoring to God.
c. You should be meeting with God daily through personal devotions.
d. You should be available to be led by the Holy Spirit.
4. Be physically ready.
a. Breath mints may be a good idea.
b. Speak pleasantly and remember to smile as someone comes to you.
c. Don’t act “spooky” or “super spiritual”. People are looking for someone real to talk to.
d. Don’t be shocked by what you are told or what you see.
5. Always wear your “identification lanyard”. This is what will allow people to know that you have been authorized by the Church to minister to people.
6. Always treat each person with respect and love. Do not be overly “mushy”.
7. If at all possible, Men minister to men and Women minister to women. There may be exceptions as allowed by the Pastoral Staff.
8. You must know how to guide someone to accept Christ as Savior and how to help them rededicate their lives.
9. Allow people the freedom to pray alone in the altar if they desire to do so. (Note: if someone is praying in the altar for an extended amount of time, go to them and ask if there is any way you can pray for them. The Holy Spirit will prompt you and guide you through this.)
10.Always ask the person for permission to pray for them. (Is there a way I can pray with you today? Would it be ok if I prayed for you?)
11.You should never argue or debate with anyone in the altar area. In fact arguments and debates are seldom fruitful. Present the truth of God and pray for the person.
12.Remove people to the prayer room who need salvation, extended prayer or who are becoming a disturbance to the public service. (There will be times when you won’t be able to minister effectively due to the music at the altar and may need to go to the prayer room to minister.)
13.Give the person your undivided attention. Realize this is not a time for a life history to be given to you. Keep the conversational part only to the specifics of their need.
14.Without interrogating a person, ask questions to discover their need.
15.Don’t give advice or counsel outside spiritual areas. You are a prayer team member not a lawyer or professional counselor.
16.Don’t share your problems. This adds more weight to their burden and draws their attention to you instead of Jesus.
17.Don’t preach to them—pray with them!
18.You need to learn when “not” to pray for someone. (We don’t pray selfish prayers for people. We always pray God’s will to be done.)
19.You are to be the leader in the conversation. If a friend accompanies the person you are praying with, do not let them take over the situation. The person has come forward to be helped by the church—help them.
20.Obtain information that will be needed for follow-up.
21.Always seek the direction of those leading you if a situation arises with which you are not prepared to handle.
22.You should demonstrate respect for those leading your team and ministry. If asked to do something, know that your pastors have asked you to do it and there is a good reason.
23.Always point them to Jesus. He is the Savior, Healer, and Deliverer.
24.Your goal is prayer and ministry that will honor Jesus.
25.Remember: You will be blessed for allowing the Holy Spirit to use you.
These guidelines are useful in establishing a clear understanding of how God can use team members as they are open to Him. It also helps them know how to prepare to minister as well as worship God as they are His hands and feet. This ministry is still new to our church, but I look forward to seeing what God is going to do as a result of many being prepared to be used by Him.