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How to Start a Prayer Ministry

The aim of any prayer ministry is to get more people to pray. Not just for more answers to prayer, but so those praying can see that the incredible transforming power of God is flowing through them—which can cause their relationship with God to grow. Creating a dynamic prayer ministry causes people to experience God; His voice, His love, His gifts, His healing, His power, and His Holy Spirit. And because prayer connects us with God, it is life-changing and it should never be boring. With careful planning we can make it creative, fun and enjoyable! Here are some ideas to make this happen:

1. Develop a Positive Prayer Culture

Let’s face it, prayer is difficult and easily avoided. Our Prayer Meetings have become Bible studies and our Weeks of Prayer have become Weeks of Sermons. Why? Because we are scared of what God might say to us and we may have to get honest and vulnerable. But we don’t need to be afraid when we realize how much God loves us and desires us to talk with him. Our daily life and our eternal life are wrapped up in our relationship with God, and prayer is the key to making that relationship vibrant and real. Our churches desperately need to create a safe, non-threatening atmosphere for prayer so that we can once again enjoy prayer. This may involve making a few changes and a lot of positive marketing.

2. Inspire Your Members

Get people excited about prayer and hearing God’s voice by teaching and reading inspiring books.

Books like:

The Radical Prayer, by Derek J. Morris
Red Moon Rising, by Pete Greig and Rees Howells
Intercessor, by Norman Grubb
Forever Ruined for the Ordinary: The Adventure of Hearing and Obeying God’s Voice, by Joy Dawson,
Delighted in God, by Roger Steer).

To have the whole church learning and growing in the same area is so unifying and powerful. Church leaders need to lead by example by praying more in their personal lives. Prayer should be the focus of corporate worship gatherings, board meetings, finance, and nominating committees. In any and every situation, we should ask God what He thinks and wait for an answer to include Him in every decision big or small.

If we study the Bible during our prayer meeting times and preach sermons during our weeks of prayer, then we should schedule in time when we stop talking and start praying. And sometimes it is necessary to even stop praying so we can spend time listening to God. Praying and listening are best taught not in workshops but through application and practice. How about running a spiritual retreat that demonstrates praying in different ways? This would include scripture meditation, with times of silence where we just listen for God’s response.

3. Pray for an On-fire Prayer Team

Form a prayer team that consists of people who have a connection with God, who pray regularly, hear God’s voice and love people. Include people of all ages, especially couples. Start praying for each other, the church members, the leadership, and the community. Be aware that spiritual warfare will begin to happen to members of the prayer team and at organized events. Be discerning and learn how to pray in different situations and how to anoint people.

Actively make sure you are not seen as ‘holier’ than everyone else in the church or community. Be available, be open, be humble, and be yourself. If members of the prayer team are going through some difficult times spiritually, pray for them, and let it be OK for them to sit back and not take leadership roles from time to time. Create opportunities for team members to see a spiritual director or counselor on a regular basis. Be open to others being involved. Mentor new team members by example. Keep unified. Be creative.

4. Train Your Prayer Teams

Imagine the miracles that could happen if we started prayer teams that flooded our communities and churches with prayer. If those prayer teams prayer-walked through their neighborhoods, and before and during the church services, prayed over every pew or seat in the sanctuary. Imagine what could happen if team members were available after the service to pray with those who were broken-hearted, with those who had specific needs, or who were touched by the service. It would be wonderful if no one walked out the door after the service still hurting!

We need to train these prayer warriors on how to be safe and non-threatening. Also, without being in a hurry, they need to learn how to listen to God before they start praying. Then we will see people coming to church specifically so they can be prayed over. The pastor can give that opportunity to everybody after his sermon. Prayer is so powerful; it recharges, heals and revives us.

5. Make Prayer Fun and Exciting! Include All Age Groups

Encourage parents to teach their young children how to pray and listen to God’s voice. Offer a parenting class so the parents can lead by example. Secure copies of my book on teaching children to pray creatively! Run a children’s prayer workshop so kids can learn to have fun praying together. Build a children’s prayer room and invite the community moms to bring their children to a play group that includes time in the prayer room.

How about a prayer lock-in for tweens focusing on the needs of people in Africa? How about an all-night prayer session for the youth where they pray on a particular topic for 10 minutes, then sing a few songs before breaking into smaller groups? In youth class, create a piece of art that incorporate their prayers that can be hung up in the church. Or, how about starting a prayer quilting group or promise box ministry?

Make sure the kids are included in regular prayer gatherings and are encouraged to pray and participate. We as leaders can design the program so children feel secure and loved enough to share and pray. It may require a bit of thinking and planning outside the box, as 80% of people are visual or kinesthetic learners. Even young kids can have a ministry and be used powerfully by God.

6. Set Up an Interactive Prayer Room*

Find a room that can be converted into a permanent prayer room and someone who will tend it regularly. Think about all the senses and how you can set up prayer stations that can be interactive, creative, and usable for people of all different ages. If a teenage boy feels comfortable hanging out there, you are doing well, so leave out the lace and fake flowers! Maybe include a guitar and CDs of different worship styles and soft mood lighting. You can do this without using real candles!

Some churches make their prayer rooms available via an access code, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If that doesn’t work for your church, maybe you can advertise that it’s open during set office hours so the community feels welcome. Most importantly, set this room apart for the presence of the Holy Spirit, and you will find people making regular appointments to visit.

7. Prayer Meeting Make-Over

Prayer Meetings should be a vibrant opportunity to spend time in God’s presence, interceding for the people you love. Sometimes the non-verbal communication of an environment states how important you think prayer really is. Do you meet in a messy side room, a huge empty room, or a cozy comfortable space? Do you have a well-lit sign that invites visitors to come? Even small details like arranging the chairs in a circle can make a big difference in how much people will share and how comfortable they feel. If you sit close to one another holding hands on very hard seats, it really limits the time you can spend praying. It’s OK to be comfortable praying. And it’s OK for one person to stand while the other walks around, while others paint, or others kneel.

8. Learn New Ways to Pray

Remember the aim of any prayer gathering is to get more people connecting with God and offering up petitions that can be answered by God. There are so many ways to pray. I encourage you to learn from other churches around you that have vibrant prayer ministries. Watch videos or have study groups that use textbooks by Derek Morris, Jim Cymbala, or David Yonggi Cho. The more prayers going up, the better. Sometimes only one person prays at a time. How can we encourage more people to pray at once?

9. Stop the Gossip

Often prayer meetings have the same format. Bible Study, then talk about the needs, then have a quick prayer. Imagine if we just prayed the whole time! Instead of talking to each other about the things on our hearts, what would happen if we started off by saying “Dear God,” and then shared all of those things with God? Then the next person could start off, “Yes God, I affirm that prayer and ask you to continue to pour out your blessings on that family, and I want to add that I have a friend suffering from cancer, so I ask…”

10. Know the Power Available to All of Us

Ephesians and Colossians talk about how the same power that created the universe and raised Jesus from the dead is now flowing through us in the power of the Holy Spirit. Every person who has accepted the Gospel Commission should be asking themselves, “What am I doing with all that power?” The more I pray, the more I learn. I have learned that God does heal. There is power in praying in the name of Jesus, there is power in the blood, and I can claim scripture—and it will not come back void. I have learned to pray more than a weak, “Please be with this person,” type of prayer. I know that even when children pray, demons flee! Angels are eagerly waiting for us to ask God for His will to be done.

The aim of corporate prayer is to help people pray more personally. It is to help people connect with God, to affirm each other’s prayers, even if they are weak and feeble. We can surround each other and lift each other up to a God who hears even our faintest cries. Together we can cry and celebrate, struggle and wrestle, and see changes happening in our lives, in our community, and in our hearts.

If you enjoyed this, you may also enjoy The Lord’s Prayer | The Power of Prayer Can Change Your Life 

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About Nicki Carleton

Nicki Carleton

writes from Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.


  1. Dear brothers and sisters. We are from Ukraine, born-again Christians, we had a grandson on August 16. The birth was difficult, he is not breathing on his own, and the doctor says that there is an infection. The grandson is in intensive care, his condition is serious. Please support us in prayer. The grandson’s name is Richard. thank you.

    • We are sorry for what your family is going through. Dear God, please be with this precious little boy (Richard) and breath on him Your life-giving power. Give him healing we pray! Thank you for hearing our prayer, in Jesus name amen!

    • We are hoping and praying that your grandson is doing better!

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