Prayer Ministry - Model & Guidelines
Ministry training is a mixture of theory and practice. Please familiarise yourselves with this document which is a basic framework for practice and accountability. This will help you understand why and how we pray for people - ‘our practice’ - and will authorise you to minister and pray for others at St Saviours. Thank you!
A Basic Guide
How do we pray for people? … By the Spirit and only by the Spirit.
It is important to Remember, that it is The Holy Spirit doing the ministering not us. Our role in the Spirit’s ministry is made simpler if we keep this in mind.
The Holy Spirit and His gifts are given to the church to enable us to minister to each other, precipitating our transformation from brokenness to holiness; from separation or disconnection from God, to experiencing intimate relationship with Him. This does not happen over night, but begins once we accept the invitation from Jesus into the Kingdom and continues throughout our lives in and through the work of the Holy Spirit.
God's motivation to act is 'Always Love', so if we also make our motivation to act 'Always Love', then our actions will be consoling, encouraging, comforting and uplifting, and will bring about God's healing in others.
Simplicity and Truthfulness
- There seems to be a constant temptation to make this whole exercise more complicated than it need be.
- Sometimes you may see people waving their hands in the air in strange ways, or shouting or doing some very odd things … even trying to push people over, or even massaging or manhandling them.
- As prophetic people, we are simply asked to step into the gap between God and the person, listen and look to what God is doing, and pray. We can be very simple and straightforward with our approach when praying for other people.
- If someone is healed - they are healed - and if they are not - they are not.
- We don’t make things up - or exaggerate what God has done – nor do we say things have happened when they haven’t.
Compassion for the person we are praying for is central
to our time with them
It is important that we honour the person who we are praying for and maintain their dignity. It is also important that absolutely everyone who comes to St Saviours to be prayed for – is actually prayed for, is honoured and treated properly with respect. And so we ask you to bear in mind the following guidelines:
- Confidentiality – personal information is not to be shared, also avoid any form of gossip.
- Affirm don’t condemn – Some churches have a reputation for being condemning places … we shouldn’t be shocked by brokenness – we are all broken – rather, we should affirm that God is working in people if they are keen to deal with that brokenness – we are all a work in progress.
- Don’t place a faith burden on someone - e.g. if you have enough faith you will be healed etc.
- Allow them freedom to come back for more prayer – healing can be an on-going process, so people need to know they can come for prayer as much as they need to, and that they will always be loved … this removes a pressure and expectation for results.
- Avoid too much intensity – Don’t feel that you have to get to the root of a person’s pain or brokenness, be super holy or to speak in religious language, also don’t feel that you need to come across as an expert or should act differently to how you do normally.
- Praying for the opposite gender - As praying with someone can be an intimate experience – we recommend, that men should pray with men - and women should pray with women.
- If you find you are led to pray with a member of the opposite gender, then please look to take someone of that gender with you. However, an exception may be made if you are an experienced member of the ministry team at St Saviours – in which case, before praying with them, please ask if they mind.
- If someone wants prayer for something that is very personal - it is wise to refer them to someone of the same gender or find someone else to pray with you for that person.
- If you feel out of your depth or unsafe whilst praying for someone – please be sensitive to the situation and look to someone else for help.
- Praying in pairs is a good way to learn and is ‘highly recommended’ – if you are slightly nervous about praying for someone– then just ask to follow someone around who seems to know what they are doing – being discipled on the go is the best way forward and they will not mind in the slightest!
- If you are praying in pairs then one of you should take the lead - (this is not about hierarchy or being bossy - but helps the person being prayed for to relax and helps avoid contradictions)
- Pray in relaxed surroundings - if you can find a bit of space out of earshot (so that the person can feel free to speak) from others in the same room that can be good. Once you have finished praying with the person please remain sensitive to others around you, who may still be receiving prayer.
One of the consequences of the ministry of the Spirit being His and not ours - is that it influences the way we prepare.
This brings into play our character and our discipleship; in which Confession, Reading of Scripture and Prayer are key components.
Whilst we look to our spiritual development, it is also important to keep in mind that we don’t need to be super holy, completely healed or perfect in any way to pray for others … discipleship and healing is a life long journey.
- Hand washing
- Brush your teeth
- Avoid bad breath – always carry ministry mints / preferably don’t be chewing gum whilst praying.
- Body odour – are you wearing deodorant?
- Dress – are we dressed appropriately / inappropriately?
- Beware of temptation as we seek to minister to others, we believe we have an enemy who wants to undermine this ministry.
- A great counter-attack to Satan is to learn how to confess our own sins and to appropriate quickly the forgiveness of Jesus.
- A core group is a safe place for discipleship and spiritual growth, a place where you can practice, intimacy with God, holiness, confession, reading of scripture and prayer.
- Also, testing ourselves against biblical commands as to how we are to live is a good way of doing this, also a good way of seeing how we are doing … (Ephesians 4: 17-32, John 17:23).
- Lack of forgiveness, love and unity - hinders the work of the Spirit.
- Beware of comparisons, of others expectations, and of envy, judgment and criticisms.
- Having repented of anything may be separating us from God, it is always good to pray for faith, for the gifts of the Spirit - and for God’s power to work through us - God does promise to empower us by his Holy Spirit.
- We need to keep praying to be open to the Holy Spirit ourselves and be seeking to continually be filled with the Spirit. “Fill me with your Spirit today and anoint me for service” is a good prayer!
Our Ministry Model
There are a number of different models of prayer ministry, many of which are good and in practice are mostly variations on a similar theme. The model we use here is very straightforward and absolutely anyone can do it. It also protects the people that we are praying for. I know that many of you are experienced in praying for other people – however, to ensure that we are all clear on the values and the model, I will state the obvious.
The Advantages of this model are:
- That it is low key, loving and relaxed.
- It emphasises God and what He is doing - and gives God room to act as He wants to, which is often different to the way we think He will - or even how we hope He will.
- It takes the emphasis away from us – which is always a good thing
- It offers people prayer that is always answered - (expect the unexpected).
1. The Interview
- Receive the person in a loving way - e.g. smile. Be warm and appropriately friendly, this is disarming and often healing in and of itself and can help diffuse any tension.
- Introduce yourself - e.g. "Hi, I’m Dino, what’s your name? Is there anything specific that you would like me to pray for?"
Also, if you can, in a natural and non-threatening way - try to establish if they are Christian or if they have been filled with the Spirit before…. knowing this kind of thing may affect how you pray for them.
- Be genuine, friendly and compassionate - In the way you speak, act and the non-verbal messages you give.
- Listen and give people your full attention! This is easier said than done - particularly in a church context where there are many distractions.
- Get to the heart of the matter quickly - try not to get bogged down in the difficult details of their lives / get the information you need and then start praying.
- Say how you are going to pray - e.g. "I am going to lay a hand on you and then invite the Holy Spirit to come".
- If they do not want to offer any information - if so, then simply ask for them to be filled with the Spirit, then wait and see if God has anything to say - do not stress if you don’t hear from God at that moment, and do not try to second guess what He may be up to. Be still and trust that God is doing something.
- Asking them to stand is good as it speaks of expectation and immediacy – it is also good to ask them to hold their hands out (suggesting openness to God), suggesting they receive the Holy Spirit as a gift is good, and closing their eyes so that they don’t get distracted is also good, although they don’t have to.
- Encourage them to relax, receive the Spirit and take time to rest in God’s presence.
3. Ask for the person to be filled with the Holy Spirit
- For example: Pray.… “Lord thank you for… And for the love that you have for him/her … fill him/her with your Holy Spirit”
- Be confident that God will speak to them.
- So much happens that we don’t know about when we pray.
- Then lay a hand on head / shoulder / chest (which indicates that you are beginning to pray and they are to exercise faith and open themselves to God).
- Be sensitive / appropriate as to where you lay your hand (it is amazing what you will sometimes see people do).
- Be confident and clear when you pray … do not whisper and do not let your prayers dribble down your chin. Remember, that by His Spirit, God has given you all power and authority.
- Stay facing the person and keep your eyes open watching their face and pray.
- Look to see what the Spirit is up to … Someone must have had their eyes open on the day of Pentecost!
- Looking at the person - can give clues as to how and what to pray i.e. when watching we may see they are feeling anxious / upset / angry / tired etc.,
- With your eyes open, you can “see the Spirit move”- and over time you will begin to recognise Him at work.
- Welcome the Holy Spirit when you see signs of His working.
- Sometimes you may observe the person to be deep in personal prayer or worship. It may be that the person has just been prayed for and wants some space to soak in the presence of God. In this case, introduce yourself and ask them if they would like more prayer or if they would like some space.
- Sometimes you will see the outworking of the Spirit through phenomena such as sweating / crying / shaking / glowing / eyelids fluttering / tears / physical movement these signs are not essential but are all encouraging signs when you do see them.
- Silently ask God what he wants to do … what he wants to say … and how to encourage and impart the Gifts of the Spirit.
- You don’t need to do this out loud.
- Assume that God is going to say something rather than assume that He won’t.
- Share anything you think God is saying – with DISCLAIMER - e.g. ‘I have a sense that God may be saying’
- Bless what God is doing
- If appropriate - ask the person if anything is happening. - “Do you sense God saying anything doing anything?”
- Continue to pray whilst you sense that God is doing something.
- Disengage - When you think it’s appropriate, disengage or encourage people to keep receiving…
- When finished praying make sure the person is happy with what happened.
- Talk about what they have or have not experienced.
- Encourage them to feed on / read scripture, exercise faith, keep in touch, and allow us to pray with them again.
- Encourage them to go on being filled with the Spirit - Ephesians 5:18
- Recommend people to the Pastoral department if you feel it may be appropriate (they offer Pastoral follow ups and prayer).
- Do debrief with someone on the ministry team and be prayed for if you feel that you need to.
Things To Avoid:
- Never advise, suggest, hint or imply discontinuation of any course of treatment or medicine.
- Never say they have been healed.
- Never give directives e.g. for them to give up their job. Often people want to hear things like that and be told what to do and yet you have to avoid giving specific directives.
- Be cautious of giving directives with regards to moving countries
- Never tell them that they will get married or have a baby etc.
- If God tells you something, bear in mind that it is nearly always something to pray about before necessarily passing it on.
Follow the biblical guidelines as to the weighing up and giving of prophetic words.
To minister at St Saviours you must have been attending St Saviours Church regularly for a minimum of 3 months (because it is not only a question of understanding what we believe but also how we apply what we believe – ‘understanding our culture’).
- That you agree to the guidelines and fall under the leadership of the church for accountability.
- That you regularly receive prayer ministry yourself.
- That you commit to pray for others.
- That you look to mentor or apprentice others in how to pray in the spirit.