These are general guidelines for our leaders as you lead others in prayer. Please follow these principles as your lead prayer
1. Pray the Father’s Heart
Prayer team members who focus on praying the Father’s heart will avoid ministering out of their own strength, opinion, or experience. When we pray the Father’s heart for people, we keep the focus on God.
Example: Man requests prayer. “I need a financial breakthrough.”
Does not focus on God: “Lord, please help this man to work harder so that he can make more money.”
**Focus is on God: “Thank you, Lord, that you are the source of this man’s provision. You are faithful and good.”
Why do we focus on God?
This is how we CARE FOR PEOPLE and GLORIFY GOD
1. Hurting people need to connect with God. The people coming for prayer may feel scared, desperate, and/or lost. Life’s problems often keep people distracted or blind from God’s presence, His love, and His blessing. Our goal is to help people connect with God so that they can freely receive His restoration and hope.
2. God is the source of everything a person needs. The biggest obstacle to ministry is ME. We are often tempted to think that people need to receive from our personal experience, spiritual knowledge, or ministry ability. When we submit to God in true humility, He can more fully minister to His people.
2. RESPECT & PROTECT the person receiving ministry.
In a loving environment, we create a safe place for vulnerability by offering the utmost respect to the person receiving care.
A. Respect & Protect Principle #1: Maintain HEALTHY BOUNDARIES
Exercise: Draw a picture of a house.
- Now draw a picture of yourself standing OUTSIDE the house.
- Above the image of you, write your name.
- Above the image of the house, write the word “Others”
See the person you are ministering to as a house. When people come to you for prayer, they are inviting you into their personal space: family, finances, fears & failures. Leave your shoes at the door and walk into the house when invited. The ministry is on their terms. This image will help you maintain healthy boundaries.
Example of a respectful perspective: The person receiving ministry is inviting me (prayer team member) into their hurt, wound, or trauma. God, give me the grace to be compassionate and sensitive as I intercede for this person.
When we stand at the front of the church it feels like a spotlight. We are visible to all. We MUST turn our attention away from self and honor the person who is coming to us for prayer.
B. Respect & Protect Principle #2: ALWAYS PRAY, NEVER COUNSEL
Always Pray, Never Counsel: People have different levels of comfort. They will address you at their particular comfort level. God will work through you to meet a person’s need – it is not necessary to know intimate details.
- Ask questions when you need clarity to understand the person’s request.
- Do not ask questions about a story’s details. It is not necessary.
- Do not transition into counseling or giving an opinion.
Bottom Line: Pray the Father’s Heart! When we give our opinions or counsel people, let it serve as a warning sign that we have moved away from praying the Father’s Heart.
Can I guard myself from the temptation to move into giving counsel or advice?
Always ASSUME THE BEST in others
Human nature assumes about other people’s problems based on our own experiences, theological persuasion, etc. These assumptions are typically motivated to address the ‘why’ question. We instinctively ask ourselves, “Why is this person in this predicament?” The root cause of a problem is an exploration reserved for a setting more intimate than the after service/experience Prayer Ministry.
Exercise: Woman requests prayer. “I need a physical healing.”
List 3 reasons people might assume she’s ill:
Exercise: Man requests prayer. “My marriage is on the rocks.”
List 3 reasons people might assume his marriage is in trouble:
Exercise: Draw a giant ‘X’ through the reasons you listed above.
Learn to cancel out your assumptions about people’s problems! Life is too complex for generalities. When we minister from our assumptions, we will begin to counsel. Counseling based on our assumptions has the ability to hurt people.
Bottom Line: Pray the Father’s Heart! Challenge yourself to reject your assumptions about people and their problems.
C. Respect & Protect Principle #3: HELP OTHERS BE RESPONSIBLE FOR THEIR RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD.
Hurting people gain hope when they believe that they too can hear God. Prayer Ministry is a wonderful time to encourage people to experience God’s presence.
Encourage people to Hear God: Ask “What is God saying to you?”
Discerning prayer team members may easily identify areas of a person’s life in need of ministry. Learn to be patient with each person’s spiritual growth process. Rather than attempting to meet every perceived need, ask the person, “What is God saying to you?” See the following example;
Petitioner: Please pray for my marriage. We’re separated, but I want to get back together. She’s angry and stubborn. It gets me all upset. I’m dating a woman at work, so at least I have someone to talk to about these things. That’s temporary, though, I really want to get back with my wife.
Prayer Team Member: What is God saying to you about your relationship with this woman at work? Before we pray, let’s ask Him what He wants to say to you about your marriage?
How does the prayer team member’s response place responsibility on the man?
When people hear God, agree with them in prayer. TRUE STORY:
A woman asked for a financial breakthrough. She described her situation in detail. At one point, she briefly said, “I feel like God is telling me that I’m enduring a trial.”
The prayer team member prayed, “Lord, please help this woman learn how to manage her resources. Help her to learn skills for being a better financial steward.”
The second Team Member then prayed, “Lord, Your Word says that when we go through tough times, you will build in us the character and nature of Christ. Please help this woman become more like You.”
When the second team member finished praying, the woman was in tears. She testified, “When you prayed, I had a vision of my heart. It burst open with a piercing light and Jesus was standing there. I know that He is with me.”
How does this story illustrate ways you can encourage people to experience God?
Bottom Line: Pray the Father’s Heart! People hear God. Let them answer the question, “What is God’s heart in this situation?” He might already be speaking to them.
We minister to others out of the fullness of our relationship with God, and within the limits of our personal level of spiritual-emotional wellness:
- Please maintain personal intimacy with the Father.
- Please pursue spiritual-emotional health and wellness.
- When needed, please seek help from a pastor, mentor, or friend.
- Dress modestly and well-groomed. Invest in breath mints!
- Avoid unnatural public behavior (spitting, screaming, blowing on people).
- Maintain an open and accepting posture.
Pray with Your Eyes Open
- Be alert to signals that the Holy Spirit is moving upon a person. While concentrating on the individual, also be aware of your surroundings.
Remain Conservative with Touch
- Ensure that you are not distracting or intrusive:
- Ask permission before laying hands on someone.
- Hold hands or lay hands gently on the shoulder or head: Do not push.
- Keep your hand still: Avoid rubbing or patting people.
- Use a Comforting Tone. Those who receive prayer need nurture and comfort. Maintain a calm, steady voice. Be aware that an aggressive tone may make a person feel nervous and unreceptive. Allow God’s Spirit to flow through you in a natural, calming way.
Maintain Strict Confidentiality
- Confidentiality builds trust. Personal information shared during Prayer Ministry must be handled with discretion. Please do not share this information with others.
- See section on Emergency & Crisis Situations for how to deal with these challenges.
Prioritize Follow-up & Referral:
- Be aware of the potential need for people to receive on-going pastoral nurture and Christian community. Remain faithful to completing the tools that help with Pastoral Care follow-up.
When Jesus commands, ‘You must be born again,’ He is referring to our response to God’s redemptive plan to give us a new nature in Christ. We receive this new birth by believing in Jesus Christ and surrendering our will to Him.
- Ask people if they have a relationship with Jesus Christ.
- Pray with the person to receive Christ.
- Let your ministry leader know by writing their information down for the purpose of follow-up care.
HOLY SPIRIT BAPTISM:
In Prayer Ministry, we guard against any prayer that would coerce or manipulate an individual in their experience of the Holy Spirit’s presence. We DO freely welcome and encourage the Holy Spirit Baptism:
- Ensure that the person has received salvation. This is a requirement before receiving the Holy Spirit Baptism.
- Clarify the person’s expectations & assumptions regarding baptism. Dialogue with the individual if there is need for further understanding.
- Luke 11:13 reads, “How much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!” Instruct the person to ask the Father for the Holy Spirit Baptism. Explain that you will agree with them while they pray.
- Ask the person for feedback on what they experienced during the prayer.
- Together, ask the Lord, “Is there anything else you want to do for me?” and “Is there anything else you want to do for this person?”
- Respond to God’s direction through prayer.
- Invite the person to attend the Holy Spirit class
Prayers to Receive Holy Spirit Prayer Language: When praying with people to receive their prayer language, be sure to refrain from the appearance of manipulation or control. Simply pray for the person to receive their prayer language, or agree with them while they pray. Do not instruct people with “repeat after me.” You may, however, ask them to join you while you pray in your prayer language. Be sure to invite the person to attend a class on the Holy Spirit.
ANOINTING WITH OIL:
Anointing oil is most commonly used for healing ministry and Holy Spirit baptism; however you may anoint with oil as led by the Holy Spirit.
- Ask permission before using anointing oil. Explain the use of oil.
- Put a drop of oil on your finger. Touch the person’s forehead or hands.
- Do not touch a person’s clothes after you have placed oil on your hands.
EMERGENCY & CRISIS SITUATIONS:
An emergency or crisis situation is one in which there is a threat of harm to self or another: 1. Threat of Suicide
- Spousal Abuse
- Child Abuse
- Elderly Abuse
- Sexual Assault
- Physical Assault
- Criminal Activity
If you encounter any of these areas, or another area indicating a threat of harm to self or other, IMMEDIATELY CONTACT A PASTOR OR TEAM LEADER. While acting immediately, please use a calm demeanor and maintain discretion. Pastors and team leaders are trained to handle these situations.
REFERRAL & FOLLOW-UP PROCEDURES
Always let a pastor know about encounters of salvation and Holy Spirit Baptism.
Utilize the ‘Connection Card’ for helping those in need of further ministry. When needed, encourage people to contact a pastor regarding their personal situation.
For your safety and well-being, please adhere to the following with people you are praying for who do not attend your group.
- Never take a person’s personal information home with you.
- Never give a person your personal information.
EXAMPLES OF PRAYER
PRAYERS OF CONFESSION & REPENTANCE:
The Holy Spirit may convict people to repent of a specific or general sin. When God convicts people, He does so lovingly and with great compassion. If people confess a sin, please show great compassion as you lead them in prayers of repentance and renewal.
If you believe that you have a prophetic prayer for someone, please remember that prophecy is intended to exhort and encourage. In Prayer Ministry, we do not use prophetic ministry as a means for counseling or giving directive advice for the future. The following guidelines will help:
Avoid the following phrases:
- “Thus saith the Lord”
- “God says”
- “The Lord wants you to know”
- “I believe the Lord wants you to …”
Practice the following phrases:
- “I feel impressed to tell you …”
- “I sense that God is saying…”
- “It seems like …”
- “I believe you are about to …”
Prayer for healing is a prayer of faith and trust in God’s good character and nature. Assume the following when praying for healing:
- Assume the pain or sickness is NOT a result of sin. NEVER address the situation as such, as well there is no need to investigate further.
- Assume that healing will occur in God’s perfect timing. If the results are not immediate, encourage the person to trust in God.
- If the person desires extended ministry, complete a Connection Card.
MARRIAGE & FAMILY:
Families carry many complex dimensions. In prayer, it is important to be sensitive to the various dimensions within a family structure. For instance, family members have differing expectations and desires for one another. Many of these desires are based on opinion, rather than scripture.
Be sure to pray the will of the Father, rather than the will of a person. This is most easily identified when one member of the family has a desire for another family member that involves decision-making – For example: decisions about who to marry, where to move, or what job to take.
Forgiveness is God’s provision for releasing us from the power and pain of sins committed against us.
Dear Lord, I choose to forgive [name of the person] for [name of the offense]. But Father, when they did these things it made me feel [describe the effects of the sins]. Please take these emotions and effects from me and place them on the cross. Thank you for healing me from the effects of these sins.
Other common emotional needs include: Insecurity, Grief, Regret, Fear, etc. For these emotional needs, pray a prayer of exchange. Release the ungodly emotion and in turn bless the person with God’s heart.
People experience financial strain for various reasons. For some the situation is a result of bad habits and lack of education. Others are well-educated, highly proficient individuals who are experiencing a financial struggle due to uncontrollable circumstances. Please consider the following when praying for financial healing:
- NEVER ask people if they are tithing. This is a diagnostic question, and we are not equipped to offer financial advice. This question also presumes that those who tithe are automatically free from financial hardship – true life is much more complex.
- Pray God’s blessing and ask for a financial break-through.
- Encourage the people with God’s love and faithful provision for life.
- If further assistance is needed in financial stewardship, let a pastor know