A friend of a two-year old girl struggling with cancer requests prayer over the Internet.
Thirty-eight men attend a “Walk to Emmaus” weekend while hundreds more pray.
At 6:00 every morning a bell rings calling members of one family to devotions and prayer.
Prayer was described as a unique opportunity to be in relationship with God: One that can make an authentic difference in your life and the life of anyone who comes in contact with you. But this is only the first step towards an exhilarating prayer ministry. Like a stone hitting still water, prayer ministry begins with one ripple then spreads outward in ever-wider circles.
“At 6:00 AM, Mom rings the bell to summon us to the prayer room. At 6:15 we better be there,” laughs one of the children. “We’ve been gathering every morning for over ten years. I used to hate it getting up so early but now morning prayer time is a regular habit. Our family held together through good times and bad and what I cherish the most is our morning prayers.”
The first circle begins with family: Prayer can start with grace at mealtime. We learn to pray with our spouse or a close friend. Parents should pray regularly with their children. “Listen to my voice in the morning, Lord. Each morning I bring my requests to you and wait expectantly.” (Psalm 5:3) Prayer can be the glue which holds a family together amongst a world falling apart.
“Every Sunday morning at 7:30 our group meets at church to offer encouragement and prayers. It’s the only time all of us can make it. We’ve helped each other through marriage problems, deaths and serious illness. Each week, we challenge ourselves to be a better Christian witness than the week before. It hasn’t always been easy but this group made me a better person.”
The second circle involves a small group: Two key features of this ministry are accountability and encouragement. Accountability represents the desire to improve while warm, loving encouragement keeps you going when accountability is impossible. “Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart.” (Col. 4:2) Prayer sustains and challenges us.
“During worship I asked for prayer on behalf of a man in another state facing surgery. A candle was lit reminding us to pray and a card of encouragement was mailed the next day. He called me later in tears. That prayer card was the first thing he saw when he woke up in the recovery room.”
The third prayer circle is your local church: Prayer should be a regular part of worship, but there could also be regular prayer gatherings and occasional healing services. Many churches post lists where someone can pray at any hour of every day. There are prayer chains so more urgent prayers are passed on quickly. “They devoted themselves to prayer.” (Acts 2:42)
Thirty-eight men recently attended a “Walk to Emmaus” weekend while others worked behind the scenes and hundreds more prayed: Some prayed at a certain hour for the success of the weekend, while others prayed for an individual. When the ‘walk’ was over, thirty-eight men spoke of life-changing experiences. Why? There were many reasons but underneath it all was prayer.”
The fourth prayer circle is a wider community: After September 11, communities gathered to pray for the victims and for solutions to society’s plaque of violence. “I urge you first of all, to pray for all people.” (1 Tim. 2:1) A wider community of prayer can be expanded to include your neighborhood and even the entire world.
A two-year old girl named Becky is struggling with cancer and a family friend goes home to her computer and begins searching the Internet for prayer groups. To each group, she sends an urgent email message asking them to pray for Becky. Within hours, thousands of people around the world are praying and sending emails offering love and encouragement.
Prayer begins as an opportunity for relationship with God. Prayer is also a ministry that begins with you and spreads outward in ever-wider circles.
The possibilities are endless and the potential is awe-inspiring.