by Wesley L. Duewel
Prayer is a form of ministry Christ desires from every believer. We are saved to pray for others. Prayer is the basis for whatever other ministry one has. Prayer can be the most important ministry in most Christians' lives. One of your greatest responsibilities is to help your people become a praying people, and to help them make their intercession effective for Christ. How much prayer time does your average believer invest in Christ's kingdom per day? This preparation has two phases. You must prepare them to be personally strong in prayer and intercession. You must also guide your people as they develop their personal prayer plans. Nothing is more important than a personal prayer plan.
Your people not only need your repeated clear teaching on prayer, they need to see in you a beautiful example of a life and ministry of prayer. A love for prayer needs to be taught, caught, and practiced. All Christians believe in the duty of some prayer each day. Too often, however, they have never realized the thrill and excitement of communion with Jesus and prevailing in prayer for others.
Don't expect your people to hunger for what they fail to see in you. They must sense your joy in the Lord, your intimacy with God, your love for Jesus and for themselves. They must sense your vibrant faith as you pray. Then they will begin to hunger to go deeper in prayer themselves. But remember that your public praying reflects the quality of your personal, private prayer life. God cannot mightily use public prayers and prayers in homes when you are weak, lifeless, and ineffective in your private prayer. You must be a person of God if you expect your people to become people of God. Many Christian leaders' prayer lives are inadequate for the work they are attempting to do. They are inadequate to satisfy Jesus. Is that true of you? Learn to pray if you want your people to pray.
Prepare your heart as much for your public praying as for your speaking and teaching. If your heart is not melted when you pray, it will probably not be melted when you speak. If your heart is not aflame for God when you pray, it will probably not be when you preach. You should always pray longer in private than in public, but if your heart is melted with God's love or aflame with God's fire, a longer public prayer that really leads the people into God's presence often will be welcomed by your people. Some of God's greatest preachers have been great in prayer. Do people come to your services specially to hear you pray? Your prayer must echo the concerns, the heart cries, and the deep desires of your people. A "quickie" prayer tends to suggest that prayer is unimportant. A perfunctory prayer that is long on words, but short on a heart that hungers after God will be void of life-changing power. Listeners will be relieved when it ends. So live and pray that your public prayers are fragrant with God's presence and vibrant with God's power.
Include a brief prayer in all your personal counseling, home or hospital visitation, bidding farewell, or committing a task to a person or group. Prayer must be an ever-present part of your entire ministry. Remember, prayer adds God's benediction to anything you say, God's presence to anyone you contact, and God's power to answer any need you try to meet.
As your people see you bring God into everything by your prayers, they too will begin to bring prayer into everything they do, as Paul urged (Eph. 6:18). Your people almost unconsciously begin to become a praying people when they sense that prayer is an indispensable part of your whole life.
From Revival Congresses SA http://www.revivalcsa.co.za