I spent the last few days speaking at a CEF children’s ministry leaders’ retreat in Pennsylvania. I am so thankful for CEF and how they are reaching the next generation.
I went to challenge them, encourage them and inspire them, but I was challenged and inspired as well while I was there. I was challenged about making prayer a top priority in ministry.
They made prayer a top priority at the conference. Group prayer. Individual prayer. Strategic prayer for specific ministry needs. Prayer for each other. Each day was bathed in prayer.
I was reminded that it takes prayer to make an eternal difference. You see…nothing of eternal value happens without prayer.
If we are going to reach the next generation, prayer must be involved. We must spend much time on our faces before God…calling out for Him to move in their hearts.
With this in mind, here are 10 ways you can make prayer a priority in your ministry.
1. Make prayer a priority in your life as a leader.
Don’t get so busy working for God that you neglect spending time with God.
There is something interesting in this verse in Mark 3.
“Jesus went up on a mountainside and called to Him those He wanted, and they came to Him. He appointed twelve that they might be with Him and that He might send them out to preach and to have authority to drive out demons.”
Notice what Jesus called the disciples to do. He first calls them to be with Him. Out of the time they spent with Jesus would come the anointing and power they needed to do mighty works in Jesus’ name. As a leader make sure you are growing in your prayer life and relationship with Jesus. This is where it all begins.
2. Pray with your volunteers individually.
Most often, they see you as one of their spiritual leaders. Pray with them when they are sick. Pray with them when they are hurting. Pray with them when they are going through hard times. Pray with them and ask God to bless them, encourage them and work in their life and in the situations they are facing.
3. Gather before the service, class, etc. starts and pray for God’s blessings upon the day of ministry.
I know it can be challenging to gather together for this…especially if you have more than one service. But it is so important that I want to encourage you to find a way to make in happen in your ministry. When something is a priority, you will work it out…even if it’s inconvenient.
4. Pray with and for the children.
Make time during your service, class, etc. to take prayer requests. Pray for the children’s requests…even if they give a request for their dog, cat or other matter. The important thing is that they hear and see you pray. The important thing is for children to hear you pray for them.
5. Pray for the people who serve in the ministry.
Keep a prayer list with their names on it and pray over some of your volunteers each day. Occasionally send them a note letting them know you prayed for them that week. Pray that God will bless them. Pray that God will use their life in a great way. Pray that through serving they will continue to grow in their walk with Jesus. Pray for God to meet their needs and encourage their hearts.
6. Pray for and with parents.
We know that parents are the biggest influence in a child’s life. Start a prayer time when you invite parents to join you in praying for the children. Pray for parents that God will give them the wisdom and passion to influence their children to follow Jesus and live for Him for a lifetime.
7. Make prayer an important part of your volunteer trainings and meetings.
Be intentional about this.
Have lists of prayer needs they can pray through in groups.
Have them pray for each other.
Have prayer stations set up that they can experience. In this recent article, I share 5 guided prayer stations they can experience.
8. Pray over big events like VBS, Fall Festival, Easter outreach, summer camp, etc.
Get together before it starts and spend time in prayer. Ask God to use the event to touch lives and bring people to salvation. Bathe it in prayer and then step back and watch what God does.
9. Prayer over your guest cards that were filled out (or however you collect info. for first-time guests).
Pray God will work in their lives.
Pray that God will draw them back for another service.
Pray that they will come to Christ if they are not believers.
10. Pray for God will send more volunteers to help reach the children and families in your community and around the world.
Jesus told us to ask for workers for the harvest. Take Him at His Word. He would not have told us to pray for something that He didn’t want for us. Jesus made it clear that the problem was not the fields that are white for harvest…rather it is for laborers to work in the harvest fields.
Pray for more volunteers for your ministry.
Pray for more missionaries to take the Gospel to the ends of the earth. Pray for the people they are ministering to. Pray that God would draw people to Himself around the world.
Make prayer a priority in your ministry and you will see God respond with great miracles and answers. And in the process our lives will be transformed as we walk with Jesus in prayer.