Forming a Prayer Chain
The steps taken to form and maintain a prayer chain are steps along a path leading you on a spiritual journey. Remember that God is the leader of your journey and prayer ministry! As you are forming your prayer group either through an established church organization or friends and family, first lift up the ministry in prayer. Turn over your will to God and ask him to lead and direct your ministry. What blessings you will experience when God is in control!
The following is a step by step guide to forming a successful prayer chain.
- Form a group of prayer warriors (praying members)
Your praying members may be within an established church, small group or friends and family members. Encourage and welcome all those Christians who love the Lord Jesus Christ and have accepted him as their personal savior as a praying member. The praying members should not be limited by gender or even age. If your prayer chain is being established within a church home, consider encouraging the junior and senior high school children to participate.
- Designate a prayer leader (or leaders)
Depending on the size of the prayer chain and the number of members, one or more leaders should be appointed. The leader will have the responsibility of receiving the prayer requests, as well as documenting and communicating the requests to the other members.
- Teach members to pray
Jesus taught us how to pray effectively as referenced in Matthew 6:7-10:
And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. This, then, is how you should pray:
Our Father in heaven, may you holy name be honored, may your Kingdom come; may your will be done on earth as it is in heaven….
Teach your members to lift up each person in need and pray for them by saying "Lord Jesus, please fulfill all the needs of this person according to your Will. Not their will, but your Will be done. Amen!" By praying according to God’s Will (not our own!!) we do not put limitations on God. Imagine our lives as a large puzzle and each event in our life places another piece of the puzzle together. Now imagine that we pray specifically for something that would move a piece of the puzzle out of place or remove it from the puzzle altogether! Only God knows what the finished puzzle should look like and where each piece fits. Therefore, trust in the Lord!
See the prayer circle section for more insight on praying.
- Receive requests for prayers
Get the word out!! Let your church, family and friends know that you are part of a prayer chain with caring members who are ready to pray for them. You may hear of those in need through friends, family, co-workers and even television. As your prayer chain grows, you may establish a web site where those in need can submit their concerns. Many people will be openly thankful for the prayers and comfortable with expressing their concerns. However, remember to be sensitive to an individual’s desire for confidentiality. If they do not feel comfortable sharing details, then do not ask for details. Remember that God knows what they need! If they don’t want their full name disclosed, ask if you can just disclose their initials or first name only.
When the prayer leader receives requests, it is helpful to have a name or initials of the individual or organization as opposed to "Pray for my friend’s mother’s sister ...etc."
It is not necessary for the prayer leader to disclose long details of each prayer concern. A few words to summarize the prayer concern is sufficient, but not even necessary. God knows the needs of each individual. In fact, it might be advantageous not to list details so that you don’t tempt your members to pray for specific outcomes, which might not be in accordance with God’s will. It is sufficient to simply state whether it is a personal or a health concern.
- Develop method of communication between members for new requests
The method of communicating new prayer requests to members will vary greatly depending upon the size and growth of your prayer chain. The following are some options:
Phone Calls — in this scenario the prayer leader would call all praying members (if there is a small group) with any new prayer requests. For larger groups, the prayer leader would call one member who then follows down a designated call list, etc. There are many potential problems with this method of communication including praying members not being available, phone calls at inconvenient time for praying members, miscommunication of prayer requests (sometimes phone messages get lost!!!). If this method of communication is selected, it is imperative that a monthly or periodic list of all prayer concerns is created and distributed to all praying members (see Step 6). You may download an example calling list template from the downloads section of this page.
E–mail — Many people find e-mail a convenient way to communicate. In this scenario, requests for new prayers would be forwarded to the prayer leader. The prayer leader would then summarize the request and e-mail to all members. There is some concern with this method of communication as not all praying members may have access to e-mail or check it on a regular basis. If this method of communication is selected, it is imperative that a monthly or periodic list of all prayer concerns is created and distributed to all praying members (see Step 6).
Monthly Distribution of List — for larger prayer chains, the creation of a monthly (or periodic) list that is distributed to praying members is the most efficient and manageable method. The prayer leader will be able to lift up each individual when the request is initially received and then distribute an organized list to the praying members on a regular basis.
- Maintain a list of prayer concerns and distribute to members monthly
Although new prayer requests may have been communicated to the members throughout the month via phone calls or e-mails, it is crucial to distribute a list (monthly is recommended) that summarizes the names of those being prayed for. This allows individual members to pray from the list within their own time schedule as well as keep track of who they are praying for.
The absence of an organized list can result in duplicate requests, confusion and lack of praying!! If you communicate your individual requests through phone calls or e-mails, then the praying member will have to look through countless previous e-mails or hand-written notes to determine who they are praying for and why! Most prayer requests are not short-term issues and may remain on your prayer list for several months. Without an organized list, the praying members will have a very difficult time determining who still needs continual prayers and who can be removed from the list.
You may download an example prayer concern list template from the downloads section of this page.
May the Lord Jesus Christ bless your prayer ministry and guide each of your steps. What blessings the Lord will bestow upon his children, when we simply ask!
And so I say to you: Ask, and you will receive; seek, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks will receive, and he who seeks will find, and the door will be opened to anyone who knocks. — Luke 11: 9-10