How to Lead a Church Prayer Meeting (with Checklist)
“Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”
Matthew 18:19-20 (NIV)
Lead a Church Prayer Meeting / My House Will Be Called “A House of Prayer”
‘Prayer changes things’ sounds like one of those Christian clichés, but yes, it changes things. Not just that, but it also changes us, and that is why Christians must learn how to lead a church prayer meeting. The Church is not a place where believers go to listen to the pastor preach on Sundays only. It is also a house of prayer. (Matthew 21:13)
In the book of Acts, the apostles did great and mighty things and were able to move with one accord because they prayed together (Acts 2:24). Sadly that is not the case with most churches today. Many Christians see prayer meetings as tedious, weird, and burdensome.
Now before we learn how to lead a prayer meeting, let’s talk about why churches need to have prayer meetings.
Importance of Prayer Meeting
Strengthens Bonds between Christians
The early Church was able to do great things because they spent time praying together. When we pray together, we are able to move mountains as a church, and God is able to work in us and through us as the body of Christ. We are all members of one body, and that is why God tells us in his Word to love and to serve one another.
We need to build the kingdom of God together as one, and it all starts when we spend time together in prayer.
Prayer Meeting Help us to Advance the Kingdom of God
Jesus said in Matthew 9:37-38 that we need to pray so that the laborers can be sent to get the harvest. Some so many souls need to hear the gospel of Jesus out there. Unfortunately, the laborers are few. It is through prayer that God can raise an army of laborers that can go to different parts of the world to preach the gospel and advance the kingdom.
A Great Weapon for Fighting Against the Enemy
The devil has intensified his attack by turning Christians against each other. Today we see men of God attacking each other and believers belittling their leaders. But all these are strategies that the enemy is using to divide and conquer the Church. Jesus said, “how can a kingdom stand if it is divided?”(Mark 3:24).
So how do we fight back? Through church prayer meetings. Prayer is a great weapon that our heavenly Father has given us to fight against the devil and his demons. (1 Thessalonians 5:16)
If you have been thinking about starting a prayer meeting in your Church, but you are doubtful, know that you’re on the right path. Prayer will cause your Church to weather the storms. Do not be discouraged even when things don’t seem to be working out at first. Keep holding these prayer meetings, and God will bring the right people in those meetings.
Why Prayer Meetings are Poorly Attended
Now you may be wondering if prayer meetings are so important, how come most of them are poorly attended? It is no surprise to go to a prayer meeting in a big church and find 10 to 50 people in attendance. Why is it so?
Most Prayer Meetings are Boring
Sad to say, but the truth is most prayer meetings are boring. See, people are already struggling in their prayer lives. So when they hear about prayer meetings, they come hoping that it will be different. But if you lead prayer the same way they pray at home or in a boring way, then they will be discouraged and stop coming.
Practice different kinds of prayers so that you can be able to encourage other people to come and attend the prayer meeting. Most of all, make sure that everyone prays a role. Don’t run it like it is your own show. Here are some suggestions
- As Leader – You Spend Time with God each Day ( I suggest 1 Hour a day) Lead by Example
- Provide materials for people can study about prayer – there are an abundance of inspirational prayer materials – Might men of prayer and god answering them
- Couple some beginning days of fasting and focused on prayers
- Make it a habit of publically thanking for answered prayers
- Ask God to provide Prayer Warriors
- Take a Quarter and teach / preach on the Value of prayer
- We would take a night at the beginning of each mission trip. I would gather the leaders and take them to s secluded place to prayer. We would take our chairs and spend alot of time – bathing the work as it began in an atmosphere of prayer.
- As Leaders – Our eldership reserved a camp – and our leadership (elders, preachers) went to this secluded camp – we spent 3 days in prayer and fdasting for our church family
- Another time we rented a camp and invited our whole church there for a weekend of prayer and fdasting. The first part of the weekend we fasted and had messages encouraging these biblical disciplines – Last day we broke the fast and had a large meal together. – It was a powerful time.
- One week, I bought copies of the autobiographys of the great man of prayer “George Meuller” – I bought copies of these in bulk and gave them to every family in our church.
Lack of Focus and Direction / Prepare Request
If we are to be completely honest, many of us have sworn never to go back to some prayer meetings. It is not because we do not want to pray but because of a lack of focus and direction in those prayer meetings. Some leaders do things randomly, and yet there are so many things that can be tackled in prayer. Then some end up taking much time that it causes people to become discouraged. Some leaders lack passion in their prayer, and this causes people to feel like they’re praying robotic prayers.
Leading a Church Prayer Meeting
A lot goes on into leading a prayer meeting. If you do it, right, many people will start coming to pray. But if you do it, wrong people will not show up, and with time the prayer meeting will come to an end.
While prayer shouldn’t be imposed on people, how you handle the meeting matters a lot. Some people may resist the idea of a prayer meeting at first. But with time, they will be attracted to it and start frequently attending if you do it correctly. You need to remember that prayer meetings are all about God and not self.
So how do you lead a prayer meeting? Below is a list of things you need to do before, during, and after for you to lead a successful church prayer meeting.
Before the Prayer Meeting
Seek Guidance from the Holy Spirit
The first step to take before doing anything is seeking guidance from the Holy Spirit. The Bible tells us that the Holy Spirit will teach us all things (John 14:26). The idea of holding a prayer meeting in your church is great, but it needs to be in alignment with God’s purposes.
You may be thinking of doing it one way, but God wants you to do it another way. Go to God and ask him to teach you what to do and how to do it. He will lead you to the right resources and even show you the deep things that should be prayed for in these prayer meetings.
Create a Plan
Most prayer meetings fail because leaders don’t plan. Yes, your friend has just shared with you how successful their prayer meeting is. They are seeing great miracles, signs, and wonders. Answered Prayers. You want that too for your Church.
It is great that you care about the spiritual growth of your church members. But do not be quick to start a prayer meeting without proper planning. You need to come up with a great plan that will enable you to start great prayer meetings that withstand the test of time.
- Your plan should clearly state the time that the prayers will start and when they will end.
- Decide if you will be holding prayers inside the Church or whether they will be done in a particular place within the Church.
- What kinds of prayers will you be praying?
- Talk to Other Church Leaders
If you’re the pastor of the Church, it will be a lot easier for you to talk to other church leaders about the prayer meeting, especially if you’re doing it for the first time. But if you are a leader, maybe in the prayer and intercessory team, you may have to talk to the church leaders and show them why the Church needs a prayer meeting. I have a close circle of brothers and sisters that are powerful in their gift of prayer. I ask them to help when the mission is big.
If this is something that you have been asked to start or do, you still need to meet with other leaders so that you can talk about the way forward. For example, you will have to talk to the praise and worship leader so that you can agree on the time. Organizing a prayer meeting without consulting other leaders will open up room for disagreements and failure, so don’t skip this step.
Inform the Church and Give Room for Suggestions
Now that you have talked with other leaders, you need to involve the rest of the Church. They should also participate in the process before the meeting starts. Many leaders inform the congregants about the meeting after they have finalized everything. While this is inevitable in some cases, it will work against you in most cases. (Proverbs 15:22)
Inform people early enough and ask them for suggestions and opinions, especially when it comes to the day and time for the prayer meeting. People have different schedules, so you cannot impose your own schedule on them. Find common ground and build on it.
Organize the Place
It is easy to overlook this step but know that organizing the place for a prayer meeting before prayers start is very important. You don’t want to interfere with the program. When people come to pray, let them find the place ready so that you can carry out the meeting within the stipulated time.
When we had it at church we had a room that we could quietly gather and focus – other suggestions – BE CREATIVE
Be Creative / Think Big / God Does
- Secluded place be creative
- Mountain – Like Jesus – in Coomacka there is s a giant sandhill that overlooks the village
- On the beach – with God’s waves in Background
- Around a campfire
- At a Retreat – we reserved a youth camp
- We Reserved a Local Retreat center
- We went to our local planetarium
- Side of a river
- In the middle of a Farmers field
- A Location that you can look over the focus of your prayers – (Looking over the city, looking over your church)
- In Your School
- Over the seats in your auditorium where god’s children sit
- In the Children’s Classrooms
- On a Playground at night
- Town Square
During the Meeting
- Share some Words of Encouragement
Welcome people to the meeting and speak a few words of encouragement. Let them know that it is not a mistake that they have come to the meeting. Share one or two Bible verses to stir their hearts in the right direction as you prepare them for praise and worship.
Remember to ask those people with prayer requests to present them to you before you begin praying.
- Praise and Worship
You can say a short prayer as you usher in the praise and worship team to come and lead the Church in worship. Now, this is not a church service, so the praise and worship team should try their level best to observe time because people came to pray.
If there is no singing, then you can start by leading the congregation in expressing adoration and recognizing the attributes of God (Luke 11:2). You can also use verses from the book of Psalms to praise and worship God.
- Confessions and Repentance
Share a verse about repentance, and avoid condemning people as you share these verses because people are already struggling with thoughts of condemnation. After sharing the verse, encourage members to go before God and confess their sins. (1 John 1:9)
Starting prayers with repentance will help those that are struggling with condemnation or guilt to pour their hearts out and ask God for forgiveness.
- Pray for the needs of the Church
Now by this, I mean pray for God to use your Church for his glory. Yes, it is good to pray for the needs of the Church in terms of finances, but it is better to ask God to glorify himself through your Church and the body of Christ as a whole.
- Need for Laborers
- People would use Their Spiritual Gifts
- Spirit of Evangelism
- Community will be drawn to the Light
- Prayer Requests
Read out the petitions of those that have given their prayer requests then ask members to pray about them. Now, if you don’t limit the number of requests that come in each prayer session, you may end up spending a lot of time in Church trying to pray for everyone. If possible, only three to five prayer requests should be presented in each prayer meeting. The ones with a sense of urgency should be given top priority.
Try to define which kind of prayers requests should be presented in prayer meetings so that it can be clear from the start.
- Pray for Church Leaders
It is vital to pray for the leadership of the Church because it is the first place that the enemy targets. Pray that they may be grounded in the Word and prayer so that they can follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. That they have open ears to hear God’s Leading
- Pray for the Government and the Nation
We are told to pray for our governments, so believers need to pray for the governments in their nation. Pray that God may bring up godly leaders that are keen on worshipping him and glorifying his name. (1 Timothy 2:2)
- Pray for Other Believers and the World
The Bible encourages us to pray for believers all over the world. Spend a few minutes praying for the body of Christ, especially for those that are facing persecution. Also, pray for peace in the world and for the souls of unbelievers.
Note that there may be times when you will not pray for everything that is listed here because the Holy Spirit may lead the meeting in a different direction. It is good to subject the meeting to the leadership of the Holy Spirit for God to bring transformation in the lives of believers, the Church, and the world at large.
After the Prayer Meeting
- Ask for Feedback
It is good to get feedback from people who attended the prayer meeting, especially if you have done it for the first time, or you notice a decrease in the number of people that are attending the meeting. Knowing what other people think will help you to make adjustments where necessary.
All in all
A lot goes into leading others in prayer; it is not something that you should do just for the sake of it. So leaders need to learn how to lead a church prayer meeting. With proper planning and the right prayer strategies, you will be able to lead others to pray effectively for themselves, for the body of Christ and the world.