BCM Spotlight Blog

Learning to Pray for Others: Building an Effective Prayer Ministry

BCM Spotlight Banner BY JOY COLE |

Again I assure you that if two of you agree on earth about anything you ask, then my Father who is in heaven will do it for you. For where two or three are gathered in my name, I’m there with them.- Matthew 18: 19-20

Five years ago I started a monthly Prayer Meeting for my congregation, Unity Moravian Church. Several members joined me and we realized even though we believed in the power of prayer, none of us were very comfortable praying aloud.  We persevered until one Sunday our pastor used the beautiful General Prayer of Intercession, found on page 115 of our hymnal.  As I read it that day, I realized this was the perfect prayer for our Unity Prayer Partners!

Now, before praying, we start the meeting by naming those we are lifting up to the Lord: our pastor, the church staff, church boards, committees and their projects, the sick, shut-in, bereaved, caregivers and others with current problems, recent new members, our missionaries and then 8 – 10 church families from our church directory (in alphabetical order).  We work hard at NOT discussing details about anyone other than the brief reason for our prayers for them, as the Lord knows the needs of those we mention much better than we do!   Using the Prayer for Intercession, we then go into our time of prayer. The liturgy first covers our personal needs, then moves on to those we have previously mentioned, and goes one step further to lift up other issues that confront us all.  In that section, we mention our Moravian agencies, one by one, who are ministering to our Moravian members and also the less fortunate.

The conclusion of this liturgy fills our hearts with love and blessings as we pray: “Hear our prayers, God of justice, God of love……. We are filled with the love of Jesus Christ. We give thanks that we are blessed, and we commit ourselves to be a blessing to others.”

An email or card is sent out to the members we have prayed for each month, with us often receiving back a positive response saying “the timing was perfect”.  God has blessed us in this ministry and I pray that others would be moved to think about starting a prayer group for your church family.  We find this liturgical approach to our prayer meeting to be very spiritual in nature and it truly gives us a sense of the Lord’s blessing on us, where 2 or 3 or 5 are gathered together in His name.

During this unprecedented time of the coronavirus outbreak, we continue to pray monthly. These monthly prayer sessions take a different form but are just as powerful. Each member of the group finds a quiet corner in our own homes and we come together in Spirit at a specified time. We continue to pray for our pastor, our church family, our country and the world during these new and difficult times.

About the Author

Photo courtesy of Joy Cole.

Joy Cole spent over 40 years as a pastor’s wife, serving alongside her husband, the Rev. Hal Cole. She is a member of Unity Moravian Church and co-chair of the Aging Well Team of the Board of Cooperative Ministries. Joy is the proud grandma of Jessy, Matthew, Jared, Jake, Katie, and Kyron. She’s pictured here on the occasion of her grandson Jake’s college graduation.

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