The Prayer Guide

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Prayer Ministry

Many churches offer those attending their services the chance to seek prayer for a need for themselves, to pray through a concern they have for others, or simply to share in giving thanks for God's blessings to them.

It is important that people who take part in prayer ministry during public worship, when the church is responsible for the ministry are trained, accountable and follow the church's policy on prayer ministry.  An outline policy is given below, which is intended as a basis from which to work - it is likely that this will need tailoring to suit the individual policies and practices of different churches.


"This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us - whatever we ask - we know that we have what we asked of him." 1 John 5: 14 - 15.

The purpose of the prayer ministry team is to actively encourage and promote prayer within the life of the church. By being open and responsive to the working of the Holy Spirit, we pray that God's love, guidance and healing power would be released for the benefit of His people and to His glory.

2.1 What the Church can expect of the team members :
* That each member of the team will be authorised by, and accountable to the leadership team.
* Members will be aware of and adhere to the principles set out in these guidelines.
* Membership will be a response to a desire to pray with people.
* That we will seek to be open and responsive to the Holy Spirit in prayer.
* That team members will be available to pray at the end of services on a rota basis. (or if specifically asked by a church member).
* Prayer Ministry Team members will be identified by a photograph on a board at the entrance to the church.
* Members will have a commitment to participate in appropriate training.
* That members may be asked to step down for a time of personal renewal.

2.2 What Team members can expect from the church.
* Prayer support will be provided for the team by the church.
* The team will have access to the leadership for advice, guidance, support and encouragement.
* Training will be provided as available and appropriate.
* There will be periodic reviews of the prayer ministry.
* The church will understand that personal circumstances change and members may wish or need to step down.

Prayer with people after the service should normally be done in 2's, but not 2 men praying for a woman.
If you don't know the person you are praying with, start by introducing yourselves, and ask for a brief outline of the prayer need. If appropriate, explain what will happen, i.e. that you are there to pray for them. If the need is a personal one, encourage them to be quiet and receive; although if they are bringing a concern for another person, offer them the opportunity to join in the prayer if they so wish (although they may prefer to leave that to you!)

Normally prayer would be done sitting down, with one member of the prayer ministry team sitting on either side. However, if there is a particular need for healing then it may be appropriate to adopt some other posture.

Its often good to start by thanking God for the person, or for some element of the situation - even that we have this opportunity to bring the problem before God.

Prayer Ministry team

You should expect the Spirit to guide your prayers, perhaps with words of wisdom, knowledge or comfort. You may need to wait a while in quiet to understand where the Spirit is leading you. You will need sensitivity and humility to find out if what you think you have been given has any significance for the person you are praying with. It is better to ask a question e.g. "I feel God has given me X - does this mean anything to you?" rather than telling them that God has told you that their problem is X! If you receive words or pictures, you should be wary of interpreting them for the person as you may put your own interpretation or slant upon them.

You do not need to share everything you receive in prayer at the time - you may want to share it with your co-team member afterwards to check it out. If it still feels appropriate then it can be shared with the person later.

When praying, you don't have to close your eyes all the time - look to see what God is doing through His Spirit. If the Spirit is not visibly doing anything, this is not an indication that nothing is happening. Neither does it mean they have a "blockage" caused by sin or demonic possession!!!!!!! You may want to lightly rest a hand on the person's head or shoulder, or to hold their hand. Be careful not to be too heavy on them, or let them feel under pressure.

For some, it may be the first time that they have experienced the power of the Holy Spirit, and they may need a little explanation that what they are experiencing is both normal, and from God. They do not need to rationalise what is happening, try to keep them focused on God.

After the prayer is over, it may feel appropriate to ask them if they would like prayer for the need to be continued. There are a couple of choices :
* If you are willing, you may offer to continue to pray for them during the coming week.
* You can offer the opportunity of using a prayer chain to ensure that the need gets much greater prayer support. However, this will lose much of the confidentiality as others in the church will be involved.
* You may want to offer a further occasion to meet with them for prayer - see also sections 4 & 6, and if appropriate involve the leaders in this.

These guidelines apply both to ministering to people and to those seeking intercession on behalf of others. As a church we would like to encourage people to feel free to come for prayer for themselves, and for others they are concerned about.

Occasionally a team member may feel they have discerned a need for deliverance ministry. Since sensitivity is of utmost importance, you must verify your feelings with the leadership before sharing your thoughts with the person concerned.

If this arises it would not usually be appropriate for immediate action on the Sunday morning. It may be helpful to explain to the person you are praying with that they may benefit from additional prayer and that you would like, with their permission, to discuss the matter with the leadership and to arrange further prayer time with them. Any necessary deliverance ministry will only be done under the leadership of one of the church leaders.

Since lay people do not have the same standing as priests, issues relating to confidentiality require special consideration to ensure the church retains confidence in the team.

In most instances people coming for prayer can expect strict confidentiality. There may be times when total confidentiality cannot be given. This would include disclosure of serious criminal activities such as abuse. For example; if an adult woman disclosed she was being abused by her partner it would not be appropriate to breach confidentiality but, if the same woman disclosed her belief that her partner was abusing a child, confidentiality cannot be maintained.  If something of this magnitude were disclosed you must discuss it with the leadership so that appropriate action can be taken.

If someone raises the need for confidentiality, e.g. "This will be heard in confidence, wont it ? " you may find it helpful to respond along the lines of " On the whole yes but there are, occasionally, serious matters that people want to share that I am obliged to take to the leadership." Reassurance can be given to the person that what they discuss will not be subject to gossip.

There may be other issues where you feel guidance from, or the involvement of the leadership would be helpful. On these occasions it is essential to obtain the agreement of the person you are praying with before you identify them.

You may feel it helpful to offer one or two further opportunities for prayer but it is important to remember that this is not in-depth prayer counselling. You may wish to make arrangements to discuss the need for this with the leadership. Praying with others is also a good opportunity to encourage people in their own prayer life. It may be helpful to recommend books and courses as well as offering to introduce them to prayer triplets, etc.

"Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need." Hebrews 4:16.