Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. Ephesians 6:10-12
The most critical key to any church working in Church Revitalization and Renewal is prayer. Prayer is the foundation for beginning any new direction a church might take! It anchors the future and the past by drawing participants closer to the Lord.
Recruiting a Prayer Team for Church Revitalization
No partner is more important than prayer partners. Restarting or revitalizing a church is a big deal. Satan does not want you to succeed. Surrounding yourself and your team with prayer partners is the single best thing you can do to ensure success.
Many church revitalization leaders underestimate the amount of spiritual warfare they will face over the three to five years it takes to revitalize a church. Prayer must be a priority for the Church Revitalization Leader. In addition to personal prayer, the Church Revitalization Leader should solicit a growing prayer team.
As a top priority, the Church Revitalization Leader should form an initial prayer team with at least 10 people praying regularly for him and the restart church. The Church Revitalization Leader should especially approach those individuals who are known to be consistent prayer warriors.
To recruit the first 10 prayer team members, consider the following:
• Brainstorm at least 10 people who would be committed to praying for you and the new church revitalization restart effort.
• Touching base with them about being on your prayer team is your first step.
• Start some form of weekly e-mail with them with particular prayer requests.
Recommended preliminary prayer requests:
• You - You need God's wisdom, endurance, patience and strength.
• Your family – specifically these requests focus on balance and health
within your marriage and family.
• Protection - Satan will attack you, your family, and anyone who wants to join you so prayer will fortify you against spiritual warfare.
• Vision - that God would guide your planning and give you a clear vision for the church revitalization effort.
• Restart and Re-launch Team - that God would provide the right people to form the core of the revitalization restart.
• Finances - only God can provide.
The Church Revitalization Leader should not be shy in asking people to join the prayer team. Give thought to how you can use prior church experiences and relationships to recruit people. The Church Revitalization Leader may ask the Associational Missionary to make available e-mail lists/groups to invite people to join in the restart prayer effort. The Church Revitalization Leader should be careful not to SPAM or sign-up people who are not interested, but only invite people to join the team. It is much better to provide opt-in opportunities rather than to force people to opt-out. This also increases the likelihood that people on the team are actually concerned and praying for the new church. Recruitment of team members should also include contacting as many friends and relatives as possible and asking them to be part of the re-launch team. Each team member should also be asked to recruit additional prayer team members. The goal is to get hundreds of prayer team members actively praying for the church restart and its launch team. The prayer email is a great communication instrument for keeping people informed and requesting prayer.
Prayer partners should pray for the specific needs faced by the Church Revitalization Leader. To do so, the Church Revitalization Leader should develop a method to regularly present their requests to the team. A group e-mail program is usually the most effective way to do this. It is imperative that the prayer team e-mails clearly communicate the prayer requests of the Church Revitalization Leader. Composing quality e-mails can assist dramatically in motivating prayer partners to pray.
Group email programs allow members to easily signup to receive emails and for Church Revitalization Leaders to email large numbers of people in a single email. Most group email programs also allow tracking to determine what percentages of emails are being opened. BoomerangChurches.com recommends the Constant Contact group email program. It is a powerful, yet inexpensive program that produces professional looking group emails. The program has numerous pre-designed templates. The Church Revitalization Leader simply goes to www.constantcontact.com and signs the church restart up for the program. The program is free for the first 60 days or indefinitely for groups with less than 50 email addresses. After setup, a simple signup box is added to the church's web site to make it easy for people to sign up to receive emails. The program requires very little administrative effort by the Church Revitalization Leader.
Summary of recommended actions:
• Recruit prayer team champion (point of contact)
• Recruit family and extended family to join prayer team
• Recruit friends to join prayer team
• Recruit neighbors to join prayer team
• Recruit co-workers, previous co-workers, other Christians in work place to join prayer team
• Recruit current and previous church memberships to join prayer team
• Recruit other church memberships to join prayer team
• Establish a prayer culture through regular and consistent reliance on prayer
• Prayer team members to recruit additional prayer team members
• Recruit prayer warriors
• Recruit people to pray for specific things (e.g. staff, facilities, finances, etc.)
• Select and setup group email program (e.g. Constant Contact)
• Initiate weekly prayer team emails
• Day of prayer and fasting (set them aside regularly - not just once)
• Mail prayer request letters via USPS for non-email members
• Distribute prayer cards/reminders
• Community prayer walk (take your revitalization team on regular prayer walks in the community)
• Facility prayer walk (Jericho Walk) (take launch team on prayer walk around your facility)
• Prayer marathon (several days of round the clock prayer - prayer vigil)
• Regular prayer meetings (e.g. weekly, biweekly, etc.)
There are more ways to keep the Restart Re-launch Team as well as the Church Revitalization Leader in your prayers. Praying is the key so keep it simple so as not to cause people to opt out.
Here is an easy action plan to remind all of us to keep that church revitalization effort bathed in prayer:
1. Pray and ask God to rise up several intercessors for you, your family and the ministry of church revitalization and renewal.
2. Make a list of possible intercessors that you could ask to become prayer warriors for the turnaround effort. Seek enough intercessors so you will have at least three people praying for you and the church each day of the week.
3. Invite them to join your team. It is advisable to have at least 10-21 strong intercessors. It is also very important to have an inner 3 prayer intercessors that you can contact at any time for urgent issues. As your church revitalization effort grows you can add others to the group as time advances.
4. Clarify commitments to participate as a prayer intercessor and covenant together to pray regularly. Church Revitalizers must maintain weekly contact with your prayer warriors.
5. As the Church Revitalizer remember to pray for your intercessors at least weekly that God will protect them. A great example is how the Apostle Paul prayed for the various churches in scripture.
6. Renew Church Revitalization Covenant Prayer Partners annually.
7. As the Church Revitalizer, remember to display private appreciation to your prayer partners for the behind the scene things they do to keep the Church Revitalization efforts on a strong spiritual footing.
Three Foundational Principles for Prayer
Pray in Secret
“But when you pray, go into your private room, shut your door, and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” vs. 6
Pray with Sincerity
“When you pray, don’t babble like the idolaters, since they imagine they’ll be heard for their many words. Don’t be like them, because your Father knows the things you need before you ask Him.” vs. 7
Jeremiah 29:13 says, “And you shall seek me, and find me, when you search for me with all your heart.”
Psalm 62:8, “Pour out your hearts to Him.”
“Therefore, you should pray like this…” vs. 9
Is it Sincerity or Systematically? Both! Pattern verses Prayer
Pray with Specifics
“Bless the missionaries”
Let them feel your presence
Explain how and when
Use a Journal
Record who, when, and why.
Record God’s revelation
Record God’s answer
Record scriptural insights
Focused prayer requires a lifestyle that allows us to pray unceasingly. (I Thess 5:17)
Evangelicals pray less than 5 minutes a day. We rely on ourselves 23 hours and 55 minutes a day.
Zech 4:6- not by might or power
Spiritual growth is more than a strategy or a ministry. We need to be talking to God about men and women as much as we talk to men and women about God; becoming more faithful in focused prayer.
Turning from our way to God’s way gives birth to prayer.
• God created humankind to have fellowship with Him.
• “No one comes to the Father except through
me” (John 14:6, NKJV).
• “He counts the number of the stars; He calls
them all by name” (Psalm 147:4, NKJV).
• In John 15:4-9, Jesus compares this relationship to the life a branch receives from the vine.
Balancing relationship and service revitalizes focused prayer.
• A right relationship with God is essential to prayer.
• “To obey is better than sacrifice” (1 Sam. 15:22, NKJV).
• Rocking Chairs: Not just activity but relationship is vital.
If Satan cannot persuade us to fail in the flesh, he will convince us to succeed in the flesh.
Bible study increases a passion for focused prayer.
• Bible study increases faithfulness in prayer.
• “Did not our heart burn within us...while He
[Jesus] opened the Scriptures to us?” (Luke 24:32).
• “The fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness,
faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (Gal. 5:22-23, NIV).
Andrew Murray said:
“The man who mobilizes the church to pray will make the biggest contribution to world evangelism in history.”
Thanksgiving and praise create a desire for focused prayer. Thanksgiving and praise help adjust our attitude toward praying. Fellowship with God convicts of sin and confession follows.
“Enter His gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise” (Ps. 100:4, NIV).
Steps to Developing a Prayer Ministry for Your Church
- Pray for God to reveal to you His prayer coordinator for the church.
- Develop a prayer partners group that helps move the church towards being a house of prayer.
- Ask the lead pastor to lead the church in this by developing a sermon series on prayer that will encourage and remind the church of the importance of prayer.
- Identify and recruit prayer intercessors.
- Launch whenever possible new prayer groups at work places, through the Bible Study organization.
- If you have the space find a room you can designate as the church’s prayer room and provide for its regular use.
- Refocus the mid week prayer meeting to support the prayer ministry by praying for the lost and the needs of the church!
- Encourage development of various affinity groups to pray for people in your congregation and ministry area.
- Create a prayer list of unbelievers we could be praying for as well as church prospects in your area.
- Schedule periodically (perhaps three times a year in conjunction with a message on prayer) a congregation wide prayer time during a worship service.
- Pray for: missionaries, the lost, vision for the future, families, etc.
Prayer means communication with God. Prayer will lead us into dependence upon God. A person completely declared before God “I am nothing” and God is supreme. And declare without God I am nothing. Prayer involves many aspects. Prayer produces faith. A person with faith without prayer is like a skeleton less a body. A Prayer life will allow us to respond to the Cross of Calvary and the blood Jesus shed for sinners. Prayer will lead us to confession. Prayer will lead us to conviction. Prayer will lead us to conformation. Prayer leads us to declaration. Prayer will lead us to make decisions of righteousness. Prayer will lead us to stand firm in Jesus. Prayer will lead us to a victorious life. Prayer is a privilege. It is a powerful tool. Prayer is where you meet Him. Prayer is where you are shaped. So let’s pray.