A couple weeks ago, we considered How to Incorporate Prayer into Your Women’s Ministry. Last week, we focused on The Prayer Life of the Women’s Ministry Leader. Today, let’s continue our discussion on prayer by looking at several types of prayer groups that can enhance and uplift your women’s ministry.
1. Early Prayer Groups
An early prayer group can function as intercessors for the entire ministry. Each week before the women gather in small groups, intercessors can pray for the meetings. The leader of the early group compiles requests from the small-group leaders and from others’ requests. A quiet meeting place assures the group can pray undisturbed—quiet enough to hear from God and secluded enough not to hear anyone else! By the time women arrive, God will already be at work.
2. Prayer Chains
Prayer chains are effective in several ways. Each small group can have its own chain, or there can be volunteers from different small groups. Any combination is workable. The better acquainted you are with people for whom you are praying, the more likely you will pray faithfully. Whatever the group composition, these same suggestions apply:
- Require a time commitment. Encourage participants to commit for the duration of the group study. It is disheartening to be the caller either right before or after someone who has lost interest or dropped out.
- If participants hear a recorded message, encourage them to leave their name and number and then call the next person on the list. Do not leave sensitive and confidential requests on an answering machine.
- Share requests as given. Do not comment or express personal opinions.
- Share answers to prayers as soon as they become known.
- Plan for the last person on the list to call the first person on the list to verify that the request circulated through the chain.
3. Prayer Partners
Being prayer partners will bless those who choose to participate. Select partners by drawing names or asking persons to turn to the left or right and pray with the one sitting beside them. If you know your group well, consider assigning partners with a shared experience. Their meeting at designated intervals for a specific amount of time to pray for each other’s needs will build camaraderie. Encouragement and mentoring is a bonus result of this prayer ministry.
4. Bountiful Blessings
Bountiful blessings groups meet four to six weeks for a specific purpose. They can be great blessings for individuals experiencing major trials or crises. These groups might pray someone through chemotherapy, for someone anticipating a life-changing move, or for the mother of a rebellious child and the resulting circumstances. The group focuses prayers on the designated person. They may meet after worship services or before or after Bible study sessions. This group is very intense and has proven life-changing for those involved.
5. Mom’s Prayer Group
Encourage mothers to pray for their children based on their children’s age group, spiritual standing (unsaved, wayward), or specific needs (emotional or physical healing). A mom’s prayer group is a wonderful relationship-builder within the ministry as mothers unite to express love and concern for their children.
6. Lost Sheep Group
Many women grew up without the benefits provided in a loving Christian home. My heart is broken anew every year as I meet women who have been praying faithfully for years for their unsaved spouses, parents, and children. At the beginning of each year, I invite women to pray faithfully and persistently for those in our extended families who do not know the Lord. This invitation encourages everyone in the ministry to pray on their own for the lost, preferably at a designated time each week. If you implement this idea, you will have the joy of celebrating as individuals come to know the Lord.
7. Special Events Group
Every special event should have an actively involved prayer team. Prior to the event, conduct a mandatory prayer time for the entire committee. Consider prayerwalking through every room to be used. In each smaller room, pray that God will speak individually to each woman. In the large meeting room, pray that hearts will be knit together and turned toward the Father. Pray over every chair, instrument, and microphone! Consider personally signing each printed program while praying for its recipient. Invite prayer suggestions from each committee member. A godly perspective ensures a godly result.
We serve the God who is the great “I am” not the “I was.” He wants to do an incredible work in your life and in the life of your women’s ministry. I encourage you to involve yourself and your women in prayer. Prayer will inspire, empower, and totally change your women’s ministry as it changes the women involved.
This article is adapted from Transformed Lives: Taking Women’s Ministry to the Next Level, compiled by Chris Adams.
Johnnie Haines is a Christian motivational speaker who has spent more than 25 years encouraging and equipping women to be all God has called them to be. She has served as director of women’s ministries in both Texas and Mississippi.