Author: Ron Graham
Prayer as a Ministry
—Examples, marks, and the need
People think of "ministers" as people who preach and run churches. But really every Christian is a minister in some important way, and one of the great ministries is ministry in prayer.
The word minister means to serve. Ministry and service are the same thing. In the Greek the words are διακονια diakonia, and λατρεια latreia. These words are used in the texts quoted in this lesson outline.
1 Examples of Prayer as a Ministry
- Anna the prophetess (Luke 2:36-38)
- Epaphras Paul's friend (Col. 4:7-14)
2 Marks of the Prayer Ministry
- An elevated ministry: The apostles, no less, gave it priority in their important work in the church (Acts 6:4, 2Thessalonians 1:11)
- A reciprocal ministry: The Corinthians' ministry of giving was returned by the recipients' ministry in prayer for them (2Corinthians 9:1,12-15).
- A supportive ministry: Supporting God's work doesn't just mean giving money. Regular and earnest prayer is support. Those who pray for those who work are "helpers together" (Romans 15:30, 2Corinthians 1:11)
- A majority ministry: Not many are to be teachers (James 3:1). But all the brethren can pray, even the aged widows (1Thessalonians 5:25, 2Thessalonians 3:1, 1Timothy 5:5,9).
3 The Need for a Strong Prayer Ministry
- God needed the ministry of Jesus (Philippians 2:7-8, Hebrews 2:17, Hebrews 3:2, Hebrews 8:2,6).
- God needs the ministry of preachers (Romans 10:13-15, Ephesians 4:11-13).
- God's plan of salvation depends upon the ministries of men! God needs our ministries —the prayer ministry included.
- But undergirding all ministries, God needs the prayers of saints (Colossians 4:2-4,12 Philippians 1:19, Philemon 1:22). Are you neglecting this ministry?
Questions for Discussion
1. What does "ministry" mean? What ministry can you certainly do, even if no other?
2. What is the relationship between those who preach and those who pray?
3. One person prays for the preacher, another gives the preacher money. Who is supporting the preacher?
4. To whom is the prayer ministry entrusted?