Occasionally, I recommend Prayer Ministry to readers who are struggling. Today I share some thoughts that may assist if you are considering receiving prayer, or setting up Prayer Ministry in your church.
What is Prayer Ministry and when is it Beneficial?
Ministering to someone through prayer can take place in any arena of church life—including evangelism.
However, ‘Prayer Ministry’ is where a deeper level of prayer for individuals is provided in a safe, supervised setting.
The main focus of this kind of Prayer Ministry is to listen to what God is saying about an individual’s situation, as well as to apply Biblical principles to help him or her gain personal freedom (known as deliverance).
This may be helpful:
- When a person’s need requires a longer time to pray than is possible in a church service
- As a supplement to counselling or pastoral care, especially for those who are ‘stuck’ in an area of their life
- If there is an addictive or demonic issue at work
- If the issue requiring prayer is confidential
4 Criteria for Safe and Effective Prayer Ministry
Over the years, I have had positive experiences of Prayer Ministry that resulted in help and breakthrough.
However, I also had some negative—even harmful, experiences whilst receiving prayer for deliverance. I now realise these could have been avoided if some simple guidelines had been in place.
Recently, as a prayer department leader, I was involved in establishing Prayer Ministry in our church. Following are some criteria that team members and I decided were important as we launched our own Prayer Ministry department :
Accountability may include:
- Prayer Ministry team members are appointed and under oversight. If the Prayer Ministry is not local church-based, the team members are there with the knowledge and recommendation of leadership in their own church.
- The Prayer Ministry itself has oversight in the form of church leadership or a God-honouring Board.
Why this is important:
It provides a safe environment for the prayer team as well as those being prayed for. Accountability and leadership is a Biblical concept—and spiritual authority is released through being under authority (Matt 8:5-13)
2. Application Process
An application process provides a means in which the person receiving prayer must disclose any:
- Relevant medical history
- Medications being taken
- Counselling or ministry currently being undertaken, and
- The name of the faith community (church) he or she is attending.
Why this is important:
This is necessary when the Prayer Ministry is caring for new people whose background is unknown. It highlights any potential difficulties or reasons why prayer ministry should not be undertaken. It helps provide the best level of care for both givers and receivers of prayer.
3. A Referral System
This referral may be incoming or outgoing, and can also be formal or informal.
Referral can take place to or from:
- Pastoral care in the church
- Christian counselling
- Medical assistance.
Why this is important:
Prayer ministry is effective, but it is important to remember that it is just one tool to help bring us freedom in Christ.
Two dangers that a healthy referral process helps avoid are:
- The Prayer Ministry becoming an isolated ministry
- An unhealthy dependence on prayer ministry by individuals
4. Prayer Team Members are Appointed and Trained
Prayer ministers are screened, trained and appointed, ensuring that they have not only the appropriate spiritual gifts, but also the knowledge, experience and Biblical tools to minister freedom to people.
Why this is important:
Prayer Ministry can be like open-heart surgery—someone comes in with a need, makes confession and opens their heart to receive ministry from the Holy Spirit. That is a very vulnerable position—and it is vital that prayer team members have the gifts, skills and character to minister well. This may include specialist training.
Remember, Jesus selected His disciples; He then mentored them and showed them how He ministered before sending them out. They then reported back to Him.
Ideas for the Process of Prayer Ministry
Following are some things that can take place in a Prayer Ministry session:
- The prayer team (consisting of two trained prayer ministers) listens to the client express the need, and prays for him or her.
- The prayer team may operate in gifts of the Holy Spirit such as discernment, or word of knowledge as they listen to what God is saying about the person’s need.
- They may lead the person through a Biblical response to God such as forgiveness, repentance or a prayer of commitment.
- On occasion, freedom prayer (such as deliverance ministry) may be used.
- The prayer team always checks that the person is agreeable—i.e. obtain the consent of the person who is receiving ministry—before proceeding with any of the above.
- Optional: some Prayer Ministry includes the ministry of intercessors praying in a separate room or location (with the client remaining anonymous). They may provide feedback on what God has spoken to them.
Never assume that because a ministry is called ‘Prayer Ministry’ or ‘Deliverance Ministry’ that it operates in the exact way that I have outlined above.
- What takes place in an individual Prayer Ministry session will vary according to the need expressed.
- Also, every Prayer Ministry team will also have its own particular style, methods and values.
Whether you are seeking prayer yourself, or referring another person, you have a right to ask about the philosophy, style and methods of the Prayer Ministry.
 Following are some other safety guidelines we incorporated into our own Prayer Ministry process:
For our own ministry, we decided not to retain notes, apart from the signed intake form.
- Pastoral Care:
Being a church-based ministry, we advised people to notify their Pastoral Care leaders of their participation in Prayer Ministry.
- Safety for All Parties
We communicated that those ministering or those receiving prayer could stop the session at any time if they felt uncomfortable.
We also provided clients with the name of a Prayer Ministry supervisor or [in the case of our church] the Pastoral Care Pastor for people who had questions or concerns.
Other Posts on Prayer:
Do you have any ideas or insights to share about Prayer Ministry, its process or guidelines? Leave a comment in the comments box. If it is not visible, click on this link and scroll down.
© Helen Calder Enliven Blog – Prophetic Teaching
On team with David McCracken Ministries: Prophetic Ministry That Empowers The Church
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