In my last post about how to avoid great expectations that lead to disappointment in the new year, I promised to post today on what a prayer covering is and why I’m so passionate about it.
I’m not the first to think of the idea.
My inspiration came from Christian novelist RobinLee Hatcher
. In an undated interview with Focus on Fiction,
she explained her prayer team, and how she counts on their prayers. She noted it was intercession from prayer warriors that “carried her through.”
Before I put a word on paper or typed on my keyboard I decided I was going to do two things.
1. Commit my writing to God. Write as He leads. No more, no less.
2. Create a prayer team.
I believe a prayer team is key for Christians, no matter what they do each day.
Maybe you’ve heard of the Presidential Prayer team. Perhaps you received updates from missionaries as part of a prayer coordination. Well, I think the prayer team should be expanded. I think if you have proclaimed Jesus Christ as your Savior, you should have a prayer team. I think you need a prayer team whether you are a pastor or a teacher. A banker or a real estate agent. A stay at home mom or a corporate VP. Anytime you represent Jesus at home, work or ministry there will be forces against you.
If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. John 15:19-20, NIV
Having a prayer team gives what I call “intercession protection.”
Matthew 18:20 states,“For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”
I’ve read the missionary accounts where missionaries were surrounded by crowds filled with evil intent and suddenly the crowds disappeared. Turns out believers were praying at the exact time the missionaries were in peril. Later on one of the potential criminals reported seeing such a band of warriors surrounding the missionaries, they fled. Those warriors were angelic protection sent by God thanks to prayer.
Executives who committed to serve God in the workplace felt peace when budgets didn’t balance. Teachers learned strategies to share Godly principles in a creative way. These are byproducts of having a prayer team.
Here is my prayer team experience:
I promised God I would write for Him in fall 2006. I prayed and believed I was meant to create a prayer team. Each fall I pray for names of believing women who might want to join the team. Since that first year, my writing ministry has seen crazy favor. Most peers seek publication. Months after making the commitment to write for God an author contacted me and asked to use my story in her book. By fall 2007 I was invited to a book signing. It took reading the invite three times before I realized I was one of the authors, not the one seeking signatures!
Before the prayer team my family was in the midst of chronic sickness and transition. Within months our daughter moved out of steady therapy to a pre-school program where she became a help to others with special needs situations. I can’t tell you the times I’ve been anxious and then I’m flooded with peace. I give God the glory for all these things.
Yet I believe part of the call on my life is to encourage you to build a prayer team.
There are a few things that I think set apart a prayer team for success. Please prayerfully consider starting and implementing these things with your team.
1.Pray about whom to invite.
It’s important you only invite people who have made a proclamation for Christ. Salvation is essential. Believing in God is not enough. As soon as one enters into a committed prayer ministry there is an element of spiritual warfare.
Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
1 Peter 5:8, NIV
The Holy Spirit will guide you to the right person or people. I’ve never had the same amount of people to invite each year and not every person I invite accepts. I truly believe God leads and I trust Him through the entire process.
2. Only invite people of the same gender.
This is obvious and yet the articles I read on emotional affairs show me women are sharing too much with men who are not their husbands. Do not think you can keep boundaries by including someone on your prayer team that is of the opposite sex. Prayer is such an intimate act and this is a special ministry. Don’t play with fire.
3. Discourage those that want to invite themselves
I learned the hard way accepting an enthusiastic praying person into something so personal, private and with boundaries is not a good idea. I don’t discourage prayer by any means; I just don’t randomly allow people to invite themselves. If someone wants to pray but you don’tbelieve they are someone to invite, thank them and ask they pray for your general ministry. For me, I ask them to pray for my writing. It doesn’t give specifics, and yet it is a true area I need prayer. By allowing anyone to join, even with the best of intentions, I believe boundaries will be skewed.
In my instance, the person felt they had the right to tell me what to write or not write and if I became in their eyes disobedient, they were angry. It’s not the way to have a prayer team. Learn from me and prayerfully invite your team members. Everyone else, keep it general.
4. I send out invites in November and ask them to prayerfully respond before the end of December.
I emphasize them praying about it. Their praying is a ministry. I even suggest they create a prayer team. I believe prayer teams need a domino effect. My first prayer team was hit hard in every possible way. It was a battle for them and yet their prayers yielded so much fruit. I don’t want anyone to accept lightly. I’ve let the ladies know I’d rather they decline and be honest than think they have to accept to please me and take on a burden they were never meant to carry.
5. I outline the boundaries in the invite so they know what I’m expecting.
My guidelines are that my praises and prayers are confidential. I do give specifics on the writing ministry. It is a lonely life and sometimes I share personal details or specifics on a project that is not ready for public promotion. I let them know I have no expectation they be on their knees praying every day for hours on end. I think the most active intercessors are the busy moms praying during a diaper change or folding laundry. I tell them as my name and writing pop in their heads, lift up a prayer. Each month I send a list with praises and prayers for their use if they want it. If I’m able, I send each member a thank you, often a book. So far, I’ve invited each previous team back for the next year. Most re-commit, but not always.
That’s it! It’s not complicated but I believe creating a prayer team is life changing for the intercessor and the person requesting prayer. You’re worth it. No matter what your vocation or status, why not take a leap of faith and start your team today?
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