Prayer Partner Ministry

Part Three
Friendship Prayer Partners

Friendship Prayer Partners Ministry is the outreach of both the Pastoral Prayer Partners and Personal Prayer Partners ministries. It has always been God's plan for His chosen people to reach out to those in need. Each prayer partner should pray for the gifts of compassion and discernment to recognize the needs of the church congregation and the communities around him. Personal prayer partners should surround the needy with prayer, both praying for them and with them, encouraging them to become active prayer partners.

The work of the friendship prayer ministry cannot be outlined or assigned by the church or prayer leaders. It is achieved only by having a listening heart turned toward the Holy Spirit and a caring heart toward others. However there are ways the prayer coordinator can encourage prayer partners in developing these qualities.

Some suggestions:

  1. In the spirit of love include singles, people of minority groups, those with physical handicaps, and shut-ins, in prayer partner groups and prayer chains.
  2. Suggest that those among your prayer partners who feel that they would be comfortable opening up their homes for prayer ministry, begin small Sabbath hospitality dinners (perhaps once a month) , inviting families who do not seem to have friends in the church, single parent families, singles, minorities, physically handicapped. Let prayer be a visible part of the hospitality. Then follow up the dinner with a telephone call the next week to individually pray for any special needs they might have. The names of these people may then be added to the prayer partner's prayer list.
  3. Plan a quarterly prayer breakfast or brunch at the church for the entire congregation but give personal invitations to new members and those who seldom attend church activities. Sing praise songs and have prayer testimonies given by some of your active prayer partners. Then open it up for anyone who wants to praise God or tell of an answer to prayer. You may choose to divide into small groups for the closing prayer.
  4. Encourage leaders in the children's divisions to plan a project about prayer, teaching the children how to pray for each other. Have them choose prayer partner's among their peers, praying together each Sabbath for each other's needs.
  5. As you walk or drive in your neighborhood pray for the people who live there whether you know them or not. Ask God to bring you opportunities to meet them and pray with them. Consider the possibility of opening up your home to be a house of prayer in the neighborhood one night a week.
  6. One of the most interesting and practical ways to reach out into the neighborhood around the church in preparation for evangelistic meetings, Vacation Bible School, or other special meetings, is to go out in groups of 2 or 3 people prayerwalking throughout the community.

A Short Course in Prayerwalking

(The following is excerpted by permission from the book, Prayerwalking, by Steve Hawthorne and Graham Kendrick [Creation House, 1993])

In hundreds of cities across the globe, ordinary believers are prayerwalking through the streets of their communities. They pray while walking, with eyes open for the spiritual awakening God is bringing.

We define prayerwalking as “praying on-site with insight.” There is no set pattern or proven formula. Prayerwalkers have set out with every imaginable style. There's nothing magic at all in the footsteps. God's Spirit is simply helping us to pray with persistent spontaneity in the midst of the very settings in which we expect Him to answer our prayers. We instinctively draw near to those for whom we pray.

Getting up close to the community focuses our prayer. We sharpen our prayers by concentrating on specific homes and families. But we enlarge our praying as well, crying out for entire communities to know God's healing presence.

Quiet prayerwalks complement more high-profile praise marches and prayer rallies. Worship and warfare blend with intercession that Christ would be welcomed as Lord by many throughout the entire city.

Prayerwalks give us a simple way to continually fill our streets with prayer. Many are praying city-size prayers while ranging throughout their towns with disciplined regularity in small bands of two or three. Thus prayerwalkers keep near their neighbors in order to touch our cities as God changes the city day by day and house by house.

How to Get Started Prayerwalking

**Join with other believers. Join your faith with others to help prayer flow in an engaging conversational style. Large groups sometimes fail to give everyone a chance to participate. Pairs and triplets work best.

**Set aside time. Allowing one or two full hours gives prayerwalkers a good chance to manage preliminaries and follow-up discussions, although much can be done in less time.

**Choose an area. Ask God to guide you. It's best by far to learn the joys of prayerwalking in unfamiliar neighborhoods. You'll return quickly to your own neighborhood with fresh vision. Centers of commerce and religion are fascinating, but there's nothing like touching families, schools and churches in residential areas. Use elevated points to pray over a panorama. Linger at specific sites which seem to be key.

**Pray with insight. Pray for the people you see. As you do, you might find the Spirit of God recalibrating your heart with His own sensitivities. Enhance these responsive insights with research done beforehand. Use knowledge of past events and current trends to enrich intercession. Above all, pray scripture. If you have no clear place to begin praying, select just about any of the biblical prayers, and you will find that they almost pray themselves.

**Focus on God. Make God's promises rather than Satan's schemes the highlight of your prayer. Your discernment of evil powers may at times exceed God's specific guidance to engage them in direct combat. Consider the simplicity of first making direct appeal to the throne of God before attempting to pick street fights with demonic powers. Seek a restraining order from heaven upon evil so that God's empowered people may bring forth God's intended blessing on the city.

**Regather and report. Share what you have experienced and prayed. Expressing something of your insights and faith will encourage others–as well as yourself. Set plans for further prayerwalking.

**Coordinate efforts. Enlist other praying people to join with friends to cover special areas. Give leadership by forming and mixing prayer bands. Seek to collect written notes recording which areas have been covered and what kinds of prayers have been prayed. Pool your insights to ascertain whether God is prompting a repeated focus on particular areas. Eventually aim to cover your entire town or city, unless God guides otherwise.

Themes for Prayerwalking

Attempt to keep every prayer pertinent to the specific community you pass through. As you do, you will find prayers naturally progress to the nation and to the world.

Use a theme passage of Scripture. Unless God guides you to use another, try 1 Timothy 2:1-8. Many have found it to be a useful launching point for prayerwalking. Verse 8 speaks of the important territorial dimension to prayer connected with God's desire that all people be saved. I want the men in every place to pray. (italics added).

Copy this and other passages in a format easy to read aloud several times during your walk. Each of the following prayer points emerges from this passage.

**Concerning Christ: proclaim Him afresh to be the one Mediator and the ransom for all. Name Him Lord of the neighborhood and of the lives you see.

**Concerning leaders: Pray for people responsible in any position of authority–for teachers, police, administrators and parents.

**Concerning peace: Cry out for the godliness and holiness of God's people to increase into substantial peace. Pray for new churches to be established.

**Concerning truth: Declare openly the bedrock reality that there is one God. Celebrate the faithful revelation of His truth to all peoples through ordinary people (1 Tim. 2:8). Pray that the eyes of minds would cease to be blinded by Satan so that they could come to a knowledge of the truth.

**Concerning the gospel: Praise God for His heart's desire that all people be saved. Ask that heaven would designate this year as a “proper time” for the testimony of Christ to be given afresh with simple power (1 Tim. 2:6). Name specific people.

**Concerning the blessing of God: Thanksgivings are to be made on behalf of all people. Give God the explicit thanks He deserves for the goodness He constantly bestows on the homes you pass by. Ask to see the city with His eyes, that you might sense what is good and pleasing in His sight as well as what things grieve Him deeply. Ask God to bring forth an enduring spiritual awakening.

**Concerning the church: Ask for healing in relationships, that there be no wrath or dissension among God's people. Ask that God would make His people, men and women alike, expressive in worship with the substance of radiant, relational holiness. Ask that our worship would be adorned with the confirming power of saints doing good in our communities.

Prayer Tree

Friendship Prayer Partners Ministry should include at least one prayer chain among the intercessors of the church which is readily available to the church members and the community for prayer requests and urgent needs. Note: The following is meant to be a guide for churches that do not already have a prayer chain operating, or those that desire a separate telephone chain dedicated to the Prayer Partners Ministry.

The prayer tree begins with a telephone call from anyone in need of prayer to one of the prayer ministries leaders in your church. The telephone numbers of three prayer ministries leaders should be listed in the church directory and in the bulletin so that at least one will always be available to start the prayer tree.

A telephone tree is set up in levels. The designated coordinator receives the request and then calls the people on the first level (usually 2 to 5 persons, depending upon the size of the telephone tree), relaying the information. The people on the first level then each call the same number of people on the second level, and so on until the information has covered the entire telephone tree–hopefully in less than an hour.

The prayer tree should be treated with the same respect you would treat a prayer (in fact, each call is a prayer). The prayer request should be given to one of the prayer ministries leaders who will then:

  1. Write down the prayer request and the date received in a special prayer notebook.
  2. Immediately call the people on the first level of the prayer tree. If one of them does not answer, call the people that person would have called on the second level of the tree in order to keep the prayer tree intact.
  3. Briefly pass on the exact information you have received. Treat this information confidentially and with sensitivity.
  4. Pray fervently with the person on the phone about this prayer request, asking that God's will be done. (James 5:16b)

The above numbers 2, 3, and 4 are applicable to each person on the prayer chain as he passes the information on to the people he is responsible to call. This is holy work and should be treated as such. The accumulation of the prayers of the saints as the prayer tree progresses are added to the prayers of our High Priest, Jesus, and pass up as sweet incense before the Father in heaven. (See Rev. 5:8.)

When an answer is received the prayer ministries leader should be called again so that the dated answer can be recorded in the prayer notebook and praise be given to God. The answer should then be passed on to the entire prayer tree so that many hearts can join in rejoicing.

Next: Part Four: Evangelism Prayer Partners