Locating, Growing and Incorporating Intercessors for Your Ministry
Incorporating those who pray over you and your vision for church planting seems like a no brainer. But how do you identify these persons and better yet, how do you keep them praying?
When asking someone to pray for you concerning a specific mission, often the response is to receive a yawn, then a look in another direction and finally a nonchalant response like, “Uh, yeah, ok.”
But it doesn’t have to be that way. My wife and I were on the lookout for a small band of persons who loved us, loved what we were called to and wanted to know more about that call. It was also advantageous for them to have a heart to pray for us. We watched and waited and soon discovered there were such persons in our lives. We approached them with the question, “Hey, we really appreciate your personal interest, your questions about what we’re doing and your heart to even mention praying for us, would you be interested in joining a team of intercessors?”
You have identified them and you approach them. Rarely have we had someone approach us. Most persons do not even think in those terms, but when you define the prayer ministry description and how you will not inundate them with daily email, they normally respond with a resounding yes. We ask for a one-year commitment only. At the end of each year, we approach them and ask if they would like to continue to serve in the intercessory role for another year.
Obviously this person loves to pray as well. You know they have a committed relationship to God and are mature enough to not be seeking information about your personal life, but rather long for you and your vision to succeed. These are persons whom you have not just met at a first time gathering, but are persons who you have a track record with and you’re aware of their faithful heart.
We will email prayer requests that are both personal and ministry oriented. We have that level of confidence in our team. Speaking of confidence, we ask that everything we share remain confidential – between them and their heavenly Father only. Normally we email them twice a month with a brief as possible prayer update. Please note, these email prayer requests, updates and praises need to be consistent from you to them or you will send the message that the intercessors are an afterthought.
We tell our intercessors that we are not looking for return email unless Holy Sprit speaks something to them and they are compelled to respond with a scripture, a prophetic word or an encouragement. Otherwise we have no expectation of ongoing email conversation.
Some persons we know meet face-to-face with their team, but our team is spread all over the USA and that simply is not possible. When we can, we will meet individually with members. We also pray for them and regularly thank them for voluntarily being a part of the ministry. And, at Christmas time we’ll remember them with a card of thanks and sometimes a gift.
All in all, we take confidence in the Father calling these persons to us, having developed a heart for prayer and we find reassurance through the protection in offensive and defensive personal prayer for our travel, our speaking and our oversight ministry. You can enjoy this same reassurance in the Spirit with a team of intercessors. Start with one committed person and grow a team from there. You’ll immediately be aware of the benefits.
- Steve Prokopchak
Steve serves full-time as a pastoral overseer at DOVE Christian Fellowship International, a ministry which takes him all over the globe teaching, training, and supporting church leaders.