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3 Key Elements of a Prayer Ministry

Great prayer ministries in a church do not happen by accident. They happen because of much prayer, careful planning and hard work. There are three main areas in a prayer ministry that are vital to give attention to. I call them “key elements”. They consist of the prayer leader, the purpose and the program.

  1. The Prayer Leader
  2. The Purpose
  3. The Program

1. The Prayer Leader (your roll)

The purpose of the prayer leader is to organize, encourage, facilitate, and enhance powerful and effective prayer.  Responsibilities are to organize, schedule, and provide general leadership to help integrate prayer activities into the total life of the church.

Develop your leadership skills.

    • The Law of the lid.  Your leadership is like a lid or a ceiling on your organization.   Your church or business will not rise beyond the level your leadership allows.
    • If you want your people to grow in prayer, then YOU  must grow in prayer.
    • It will be difficult to have a strong praying church if YOU aren’t a strong prayerful person.
    • The Law of Process.  Leadership is learned over time. Leaders are always learners. This law shows that what matters most is what you do over the long haul.  It requires continual perseverance and dedication to become a good leader.  Leadership develops daily, not in a day. For a prayer leader this law basically means that you are signing up to be a lifelong student of prayer. Each week, you must strive to learn more about the subject of prayer.  Read books, attend seminars, listen to sermons………do whatever you have to do, but learn more each day or week about prayer.  Have fresh information flowing in so fresh information can flow out.
    • The Law of Empowerment.  Secure leaders give power to others.
    • The Law of Reproduction.  It takes a leader to raise up a leader. Good leadersdevelop other people to be leaders.   “A leader is only as good as the person trained to step in and take their place.”

Develop a team.

  • In Matthew 9 & 10 Jesus:
    • called the disciples (chose his team)
    • shared His passion and vision
    • taught and instructed them – people will not do what they are not equipped to do.
    • empowered his team and sent them out – You cannot multiply your ministry unless you are willing to give others authority and permission to do ministry.
  • Building a team of different gifts and skills will help you raise the level of enthusiasm and effectiveness of your prayer ministry.
  • It will provide division of responsibility and a shared workload and drastically reduces the danger of burnout.
  • It will increase the ministry’s sphere of influence.
  • When choosing your team, try to recruit individuals who can contribute a complimentary mix of skills.  Look not only for those who currently possess the skills the team needs but also for those you can develop.


  • Continually work at developing your leadership skills so others will have room to grow.
  • Be a lifetime student of prayer constantly growing and learning.
  • Don’t try to do everything yourself.  If you want to have a successful prayer ministry, multiply yourself and let others help you, even if they don’t do exactly like you would.  The more they do it, the better they will get.
  • Develop, empower and then release those on your team like Jesus did.

Develop your teaching skills.

  • Being able to teach is very important because training is the key to mobilization in a prayer ministry.
  • In order for your people to grow in prayer, they must be educated. Many have a burden to pray but don’t know what to do with it. Your job is to not just motivate but to educate as well.
  • You must be able to:
    • Motivate people to pray – INSPIRE
    • Teach them what to do – EDUCATE
    • Provide a place for them to practice what they have learned – PRACTICAL APPLICATION


  • The prayer leader must be able to teach and impart knowledge.

Develop your own prayer life.

  • To lead a prayer ministry, you must have a consistent prayer life.
  • Statistics show that most people don’t pray at all, for those who do pray, the average time is less than five minutes each day.
  • If you want your people to pray, lead by example.

What will happen when they see your example?

Look at the life of Jesus.  He didn’t prod or push, he didn’t put people down because they didn’t pray with Him, He just prayed.  His example spoke louder than His words.  After watching Him, the disciples came to Him and asked, “Lord, teach us to pray.”  How interesting that they had been with Jesus and seen the miracles He performed, yet the one thing they wanted to learn was how to pray.

As a prayer leader you must develop your prayer life.

 Develop your relational skills

  • Prayer leaders need to build and maintain rapport with both the saints and the ministry leaders of your church. The prayer ministry will grow out of these connections.
  • As a prayer leader, people will often share personal needs with you. You must always handle people with care.  If someone shares their inner struggles or something of a personal nature, we need to always be sensitive to their vulnerability.
  • If you are striving to have prayer integrated in all ministries of the church, then you need to have rapport with other ministry leaders.
  • You are the full-time PR person for the prayer ministry. Constantly network to have others involved in the prayer ministry.
  • A good way to get leaders to come to prayer is by asking them to do something in the prayer meeting.


Learn to be a people person.  Develop your skills in this area.  Suggested Book: 25 Ways to Win With Peopleby John Maxwell & Les Parrott

Develop your spiritual skills.

  • As a prayer leader you must know how to hear the voice of God. It will help you know in which direction to go with what you are doing.
  • It will also help you be able to effectively follow the leading of the Spirit during a prayer meeting.

2. The Purpose (your goal)

Purpose Defined:  The object toward which one strives or for which something exists; an aim or a goal:

The purpose (or aim) of ALL prayer ministries should be to:

  • help your church become a “house of prayer” as instructed by Jesus
  • help each person to develop and deepen their prayer life
  • have a Kingdom focus
  • educate people on the mandate of prayer
    • To be successful, a prayer leader must answer the question “why do we pray?”
      • God commanded us to pray
      • Jesus modeled prayer
      • Scripture emphasizes the importance of prayer
      • Prayer is how we receive strength to endure trials
      • Prayer prevents us from falling into temptation
      • Prayer brings healing to nations
      • Prayer brings healing to people

If you want them to be faithful and dedicated to the cause of prayer, they must understand that prayer is not just a good idea, it is a mandate. 

Develop a clear purpose for YOUR prayer ministry.

  • Meet with the pastor and get his vision for the prayer ministry
  • Define your personal vision for the prayer ministry
    • Vision is a picture of how an organization will look, act, and minister at some point in the future.
    • If you don’t know where you are going, you can not devise a plan and strategy for getting there.
    • A vision must be clear so it can be communicated easily
  • Write a mission statement
    • Example: “New Life’s prayer ministry exists to transform lives and empower believers in the area of prayer.”

What do you want the prayer ministry to do? Be specific.

Develop a clear plan for achieving your purpose.

  • Make long-term goals
  • Make short-term goals

3. The Program (the practical side)

Define the structure.

Here are a few areas prayer ministry can include:

  1. Pastor’s Prayer Force
  2. Children’s prayer
  3. Emergency prayer requests
  4. Ladies prayer
  5. Men’s prayer (Gatekeepers)
  6. Ladies Prayer International
  7. Prayer chain
  8. Weekly prayer meeting
  9. Social media

Pastor’s Prayer Force
A group dedicated to praying for the pastor each day.  Pastors experience the same difficulties in life as everyone else and have the incredibly demanding job of leading a church.  They are on-call 24-hours a day, have to live up to unrealistic expectations and are often plagued by criticism.

Focus on the Family has estimated that 1,500 pastors leave their assignments each month due to moral failure, spiritual burnout, or contention within their local congregation.  Satan knows if he can strike the shepherd, the sheep will scatter and the impact of the church will be diminished.  Cover your pastor with prayer.

A Pastor’s Prayer Force can include the following groups:

     Inner Circle: trusted group close to the pastor that he can share personal requests with

     Outer Circle: chosen group to share general requests with that are on a schedule each month to pray and fast a
day for the pastor

      Congregation: even though they are not on the “pastor’s prayer force, they still need to have a daily discipline of
praying for their shepherd

     Crisis Intercessors: people who are called on in a time of need


Children’s prayer

  • The body is not complete until the children are in their rightful place
  • Make place for them
  • Develop youth and children’s prayer initiatives
  • Work with staff to develop and promote prayer initiatives
  • Provide support material and resources to the Children’s and Youth ministry staff.

Emergency prayer chain
A plan needs to be put in place to be able to distribute emergency prayer needs. Needs can be distributed by email, phone tree or social media.

Ladies Prayer Group

  • A special group that meets at a different time that the mixed congregation prayer meeting.
  • Ladies need an outlet where they can come together and be with other ladies.

Men’s Prayer Group

Many men’s prayer groups meet once a month to pray and then go to a local restaurant to eat together.

Gatekeepers are men that meet on Sunday morning early and walk through the church and pray.They pray thought the sanctuary, Sunday school rooms, foyer, etc.  They end in the pastor’s office and pray with the pastor before the service starts. Men are protectors by nature. This is a good way to plug them into a very natural calling.

Ladies Prayer International

  • Ladies meeting together the first Monday of each month to pray for the children of the church.
  • It is also a great outreach to your community. You can invite mothers to come and pray for their children.

Prayer Chain

  • Assign the entire church congregation to four teams.
  • Assign each week to a different team to cover the church in prayer.

The Prayer Meeting

  • Keep it to an hour or under. Most people can pray longer than an hour.
  • Educate people on the purpose of corporate prayer.
    • The power is in agreement.
    • No praying on their own
  • View the Prayer Meeting as an Encounter with God
    We need to view the prayer meeting primarily as a time for people to experience a genuine, encounter with God rather than an event.
  • Promote the Prayer Meeting as a Top Priority
    Until congregations fully grasp the importance of corporate intercession, they will continue to view prayer meetings as optional or unimportant.

    • Promote the prayer meeting
    • Announcements from the pulpit
    • Church bulletin
    • Church bulletin boards
    • Endorsed by the pastor
    • overhead
  • Prayerfully Plan the Prayer Meeting
    Churches reveal their real priorities by what they seriously plan, organize and promote. It takes work and preparation if you want people to take the prayer meeting seriously. (be sure to leave room for the spontaneous response of God’s people – there has to be balance between planning and following the lead of the Spirit
  • Use the Prayer Meeting to Grow Your People in prayer
    The weekly prayer meeting is the ideal setting in which to teach your congregation how to pray. The prayer meeting is also the time to give your people detailed prayer lists for key issues. In this way, believers move toward an outward Kingdom focus rather than one that is inward and temporal.
  • Pray more than you talk.
    People usually spend so much time talking about prayer requests that they spend almost no time in prayer. Regardless of the length of the prayer meeting, the guiding principle is to schedule most of your time for actual prayer.

    • Focus Prayer More on Eternal than Temporal Issues
      When prayer is focused almost entirely on physical needs, the prayer focus is inward and temporal rather than outward and eternal. The Father’s heart is broken and what a disservice we are doing to the Kingdom when we endlessly major on temporal concerns to the exclusion of His larger purposes.  With a little planning, your church can achieve a healthy balance between eternal and temporal prayer concerns.
    • Schedule Additional Prayer Meetings with Serious Intercessors
      Serious Intercessors don’t need a prayer list or a PowerPoint, but they do need an outlet.
      For your more serious intercessors, it is crucial to offer additional prayer meetings of greater intensity and length.
      Although fewer attend this meeting, it is characterized by great power and phenomenal results.
  • Promote the Meeting as a Time of Joy and Life-Changing Power

Nothing fills people with joy and prepares them to pray like hearing recent answers from God. If churches promote prayer meetings as exciting, life-changing events, far more people will attend.


Social Media

Social Media outlets like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are great ways to promote prayer.  It is also a great way to send out prayer requests and urgent needs.

Lisa Marshall
Strategic Prayer Coordinator
World Network of Prayer