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How to Refresh Your Church Prayer Ministry

Aside from my position at the World Network of Prayer, I recently accepted the position of prayer leader again at my local church. I served in this position many years, but due to growing responsibilities at work I resigned a few years ago. When asked by my pastor to pray about the position, I not only prayed, but took some time to take a close look at prayer ministry in general. I studied what was popular, what was unpopular, I made a list of what I enjoyed and studied that, I made a list of what I didn’t enjoy and studied that, I read material from people who had been a prayer leader for a long time and I read material on the newest and latest trends.  I also spent a considerable amount of time studying and talking to people who faithfully attended a weekly prayer meeting.

And it was very enlightening……ALL OF IT.


  1. I learned there were tried and true methods that worked.
  2. I learned that unless a person was an intercessor, they typically could not effectively pray for an hour straight.
  3. I learned that the volume that accompanied times of prayer that were “led” versus “get in your own corner and pray” was substantial.
  4. I learned that for a prayer ministry to be organized it took a lot of work.
  5. I discovered that the reason many did not attend prayer meeting was because they felt it was boring or they didn’t know how to pray (or both).
  6. I learned the purpose of a corporate prayer meeting was to pray in agreement, so I could never understand why we were all in our separate corners praying.
  7. I learned that most people spent their entire time at prayer meeting praying for personal needs.
  8. I learned that most people spent their entire time PERIOD praying for personal needs.
  9. I learned that a big ship doesn’t turn quickly–to make changes would take time.
  10. I learned the biggest enemy of a prayer ministry is monotony.
  11. I learned that motivation is never lacking in Apostolic churches–but education on how to effectively pray often is.
  12. I learned I still had a lot to learn.

So if your prayer ministry is not as vibrant as you would like for it to be, I want to share some ideas with you to help refresh things.

Let me start by saying:

  1. All churches are different, so you will have to figure out what works for you.
  2. The Word says, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” You CAN make a change!
  3. Work under the leadership of your pastor. Make sure your pastor is on board with what you are doing.


  1. Refresh yourself.
    • Pray and seek God for direction for the prayer ministry.
    • Read books on prayer.
    • Read books on prayer ministry structure.
    • Browse through this website to find free material and helps on prayer.
    • Talk to other prayer leaders.
    • Educate yourself on current events. With all going on in this day and time, prayer is a desperate need.
    • Start a journey to rekindle your personal passion for prayer. When you get excited, you will do a better job.
    • Make a plan. I’m an advocate of putting goals down on paper.
    • Build a team. Don’t try to do it alone.  Your prayer ministry should never be about your ideas only.
  1. Relaunch the Prayer Ministry
    • Make it a big deal: use church announcements, church bulletin, social media, and tell everyone you know.
    • People want to be a part of something “new.”
    • Let the church know, “We are revamping the church prayer meeting, you don’t want to miss it!”
    • Market it as the new and improved prayer meeting.
    • Build expectation and create excitement.
  1. Get the Pastor’s endorsement.
    • The most influential person in the church is usually the pastor. If you can get him on board with helping you re-launch the prayer ministry of your church, it will go a long way.
    • Have a focus on prayer.
    • Have the Pastor endorse and promote the prayer ministry from the pulpit.
    • Perhaps the pastor could do a series on prayer or have the small groups focus on prayer.
  1. Branch into New Areas
    • Stop calling it, “Prayer Ministry” and start calling it, “Prayer Saturation”
    • Your church should be a prayer saturated church – all areas should be saturated in prayer
    • Build prayer into everything you do.
    • Prayer should partner with every department
      • Youth
      • Sunday school
      • Outreach
      • Music
      • Children
      • Ask each department head, “How can the prayer ministry help your ministry?”
    • Some ideas:
      • Youth Prayer
      • Kids Prayer
      • Ladies Prayer
      • Men Prayer
      • Emergency Prayer Chain
      • Pastor’s Prayer Force (Armed Forces)
      • Pastor’s Wife’s Prayer Team
      • Prayer Walks
      • Social Media Prayer Pages
      • Ladies of Prayer International (Praying for children)
      • Prayer meeting for intercessors.


  1. Kill what has been killing the church prayer meeting
    • If it is boring, liven it up.
    • Start with music and have a brief time of worship
    • Use various people with different personalities to lead the prayer meeting.
    • If someone is a “drain”, it may be time to try to silence them. (do it in kindness, and use wisdom)
    • Switch to a focused, led prayer meeting.
  2. Use the first 10 minutes of your prayer meeting as a method of education and growing your prayer members.
    • Prayer meetings should be more prayer than “talk.” People can only go as high as their leader. Grow yourself, then grow others. (“Law of the Lid”-John Maxwell)
    • People should leave your prayer meetings knowing more than when they arrived.
    • In just a few minutes, you can leave them a nugget that will help them in their prayer life.
    • Most people grasp knowledge small chunks at a time. (I would rather give them a small nugget they will remember than to try to tell them everything I know and them not remember any of it.)
    • In these few minutes, raise their vision of prayer. Help deepen their burden.
  3. Set a Kingdom tone for the prayer meeting.
    • If there are personal needs, share them at the very end.
    • Focus on eternal not temporal things for the majority of your service.
    • You have a big God, so pray big prayers.
    • See ye FIRST the Kingdom.
    • For 90% of people, you will have to re-educate them.
  4. Always Start the Prayer Meeting on a Positive
    • Don’t ever start with needs.
    • Start with a Scripture.
      • “God, you are able to do exceeding, abundantly above all we are able to ask or think.”
      • “If God be for us, then who can be against us?”
      • Put things in perspective from the start
    • Start with a testimony.
    • Start with a song.
    • Start reminding the people of how big God is.
  5. Affect people’s hearts . . . and they will pray.
    • When people’s emotions are affected, they will pray more fervently.
    • Don’t misunderstand, the prayer meeting should not be emotional manipulation, but when people see a legitimate need, they will pray.
    • I can say, “Pray for John who needs salvation,” and some will pray. Or I can say, “Pray for John. He is a pastor’s son who was spiritually hurt, looked for answers in the world,  and left the safety of the church.”
    • Use photos and videos. Multi-media can paint a clear picture.
    • What happens when you affect their heart?
      • They pray.
      • They do something about it.
    • There is no shortage for heart-wrenching things to pray about today:
      • Ask them to hold up their Bible. Then tell them the Bible, this precious book, is outlawed in 52 countries.  “Can we pray for those who aren’t privileged like us to have this book?”
      • 200 million people are persecuted each year because of their faith in Christ. More than any other time in history…
      • There are 205 million unemployed people in the U.S.
      • There are 110 million homeless people in the world.
      • 842 million suffer from hunger or malnutrition.
      • Every three seconds, someone dies of starvation.
      • 783 million don’t have clean water to drink.
      • 2,000 die each day of complications from not having clean water.
      • There are 153 million orphans worldwide.
      • Five billion people in the world don’t own a pair of shoes.In our life of luxury and blessings, sometimes we forget that there are those who so desperately need prayer. When you can show needs and touch hearts, people will pray.
  6. Shake it Up
    • Get people’s bodies involved in the prayer meeting:
      • Stand up
      • Take the person’s hand next to you
      • Get out in the aisle
      • Go up in the balcony and pray
      • Prayer walk through the church
      • Put the large group in smaller groups to pray
        • They can pray for each other
        • They can pray through the newspaper
        • They can pray for missionaries
        • They can pray for whatever the Lord would guide them to pray for
  7. Keep prayer in front of the church congregation
    • If there are any praise reports, share them with the congregation.
    • If good things happen, share it with the church.
    • The more the prayer meeting can be mentioned in the church service, the more likely people will want to come be a part.
    • Every thing good that happens in prayer meeting should be shared with the church.
    • People don’t want to miss out, so if they feel prayer is the happening place to be, they will come.
    • Prayer leaders need to be a PR person for the prayer ministry.
  8. Break up the Hour
    • Have ten minutes of worship
    • Three minutes of teaching
    • Two minutes to set the focus
    • 35 minutes of led prayer
    • Five minutes of worship and thanksgiving
    • Five minutes of personal requests and prayer
  9. Enlist Ministry Leaders of Your Church to help Lead a Prayer Meeting. (Your goal is total church involvement)
    • Use them even if they aren’t faithful to prayer.
    • Using them will broaden your influence if they come and get their people to come.
    • They may start being faithful, if they lead once.
    • Have focused prayer for a different ministry each prayer meeting. Then they will have to come.
  10. Wrap any important event in the life of the church in prayer.
    • For example, your Easter drama.
    • Christmas program
    • Friend’s Day
  11. Make prayer fun and exciting for all ages.
    • Show parents how to teach their young children how to pray and listen for God’s voice.
    • Run a children’s prayer workshop so kids can learn to have fun praying together.
    • Consider prayer as part of your teen lock in.
    • How about an all-night prayer session for the youth where they pray on a particular topic for ten minutes, then sing a few songs before breaking into smaller groups?
    • Make sure the kids are included in regular prayer gatherings and are encouraged to pray and participate.
  12. If at all possible, send your people home with something that will help them remember to pray. 
    • Handout
    • Object
    • Prayer guide


Lisa Marshall
WNOP, Strategic Prayer Coordinator