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4 ways to revive prayer ministries

SUMMARY: One can follow many different paths to reviving congregational prayer ministries. The key is to make prayer a priority and to begin.

The Rev. Michael Henderson of Cayce (S.C.) United Methodist Church says, “There has never been a revival or a reformation or re-anything that was not firmly bound in prayer.”

Here are some things your congregation can do to revive prayer:

1. Set aside the lectionary for a period to preach specifically on prayer. 
Dedicate several weeks to speaking and listening to God. During these weeks, pray for your community and world, in addition to congregants and their needs. Include religious and political leaders serving locally and globally. Invite the community to participate by posting prayers on your church marquee. 

2. Connect willing participants with a prayer partner.
Prayer partners can meet in person or talk on the phone to pray. This encourages partners to become good friends and accountability partners. Prayer partners could also arrive before Sunday services, pray for the presence of the Holy Spirit and continue to pray throughout worship.

3. Create an altar ministry.
During worship, invite people to come forward for prayer. The Rev. Jeff Kersey has used this method to re-energize his congregation at Mount Horeb United Methodist Church in Lexington, S.C. The church has grown from 250 to 2,600 members since becoming intentional about prayer.

4. Create prayer spaces and rituals.
The altar may feature a Bible, cross, candle or other sacred object. Children's altars should be safe—no candles, glass or sharp objects.

People who are artistic and energetic may enjoy spaces that allow for movement, such as talking, singing or dancing. Others may prefer quiet activities, such as walking, writing or memorizing Bible verses.

--Emily Cooper and Jan Surratt, UMNS, Dec. 4, 2009

Adapted from a UMNS story featured on Dec. 4, 2009, by Emily Cooper and Jan Surratt.