Friday, January 05, 2007

Pastor, Who Should Be Your Prayer Leader?


Who Should Be My Prayer Leader?

As a pastor who wants to grow more prayer in your church, it is important to understand that to be successful you need to pull others alongside you to help. In fact, while you should stay involved in the growth of prayer at your church, selecting a prayer leader to oversee that growth is an important step. this person will be your legs and arms, developing the nitty gritty plan. But who do you pick?

When most churches pick a prayer leader--one who will oversee taking prayer to the next level--they often think the logical choice is the strongest intercessor. It seems obvious that the person who prays the most and is most passionate about prayer should be the leader. But that is usually the wrong choice!

While the prayer leader should have a heart for prayer, the most effective leader needs to possess leadership and organizational skills rather than be the strongest intercessor. People skills is also a good quality in a prayer leader. The Prayer Saturated Church lists 10 qualities of a good prayer leader. These are simply guidelines; don't wait until you find someone who has all 10 before you select a prayer leader.

-Called By God. Pray and ask God to point out His person. Pray that this person would feel God's call to accept the position.

-Healthy Personal Prayer Life. Look for someone you know prays. One who comes to prayer meetings, who often comments about prayer in conversation are hints that he or she has a heart for prayer.

-Spiritual Maturity. Like other leadership positions, do not put an unseasoned believer in this position. If effective, this person will experience spiritual attack second only to the senior pastor in a church. Satan will want this person on the shelf!

-Leadership Gifts. This position will require a lot of organization and coaxing, encouraging of people to follow. Much wisdom and people skills are needed.

-Ability to Speak/Teach. Since prayer is one of the weakest areas of discipleship in most churches, the prayer leader will likely need to teach on it regularly. He or she could also be in front of the congregation often.

-A Team Player. A "do it alone" leader will never get the job done. A prayer leader will only be as effective as his or her team.

-A Good Reputation. This person needs the trust and respect of ministry leaders in a church. Someone who has difficulty with leaders or authority will be a hindrance, not a benefit to growing prayer.

-The Ability to Lead Prayer. This person should be comfortable leading small or large prayer gatherings.

-A Servant's Heart and Teachable Spirit. A "I know what God wants because I hear His voice" intercessor will cause more harm than good in this position. This person must have true spiritual humility, and a deep respect for the pastor.

-Time to Coordinate Prayer Activities. This position needs someone who is available. If this role simply becomes another job for someone who has much to do, the church will not move forward.

While this person looks like Superman, keep in mind that this individual need not possess all these qualities. His or her weaknesses can be covered by other prayer team members.

Why not the leading intercessor?

If your leading intercessor possesses a lot of these qualities, he or she might be right for the job. But many times a person who prays a lot will have the following difficulties:

Because of her passion for prayer, she will not understand why others do not come to prayer times. She will get frustrated. Soon guilting people will become a part of her recruiting style.

He or she will often have difficulty relating to the average person's prayer life. Communicating about prayer--explaining it so the average person can understand--can be difficult for him or her.

Because of her love for prayer, this person may not see that certain prayer times, formats, etc., are just not working. When questioned about possible change, she'll think, I enjoy them, so what's the problem?

Above all, make this selection a matter of prayer. God will raise up the right person in due time. If I had to pick one quality that stands out above the others, it would be calling. Weaknesses can be overcome if a person has a call on his or her life.

—Jonathan Graf is the president of the Church Prayer Leaders Network. He is available both to do a prayer weekend for your church and to be a consultant for your church as it grows its prayer strategies. You can contact him at jong@harvestprayer.com

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