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Supporting others with prayer

Throughout the pages of Scripture, God makes clear the importance of prayer in the life of a Christian. Jesus himself prayed regularly. During his travels, Paul repeatedly entreated Christian churches to pray in all circumstances.

So how can churches support their members in their prayer life beyond Sunday services? For Bethlehem, Germantown/Menomonee Falls, Wis., and Mt. Olive, Lincoln, Neb., one answer is prayer ministry.

At Bethlehem, a new prayer ministry is just getting started. Amy Snamiska, one of the prayer ministry coordinators, says, “It was decided that . . . there would be an online prayer group/chain and a separate in-person prayer group.” While the online group began in February, the in-person group will begin this fall, “allowing the online group to get up and running successfully before introducing a different prayer group,” Snamiska explains.

Currently, anyone can submit prayer requests via physical boxes in the back of church or by using an online form. When prayers are submitted via the website, the pastors and Lynn Steinbach, another prayer ministry coordinator, receive an e-mail alert. Steinbach then shares those requests with the prayer team. “It is up to the team members individually to plan when and how they want to pray for each particular situation,” says Steinbach. The prayer team highly regards confidentiality, and each member is required to acknowledge a confidentiality statement.

As a church, Bethlehem has made a concerted effort to help its members discover their spiritual gifts, including prayer. “We’ve been able to identify the people who have the spiritual gift of prayer, and we have been able to connect those with a passion for this ministry to be a part of the prayer team,” explains Marcie Kieckhaefer, the congregation’s member ministry coordinator.

Ultimately, the prayer ministry leaders at Bethlehem hope that both the online and in-person groups will support the prayer needs of the congregation’s families and friends. Snamiska adds, “As a body of Christ, with all different needs and life situations, we want each Bethlehem member to know that we are family and here to support each other.”

woman sitting around table praying
The women’s prayer group from Mt. Olive, Lincoln, Neb., meets weekly to grow in faith around God’s Word and prayer.

At Mt. Olive, a women’s prayer group meets for one hour every Tuesday morning. Marci Albert, secretary at Mt. Olive, was inspired to start the group six years ago while reflecting on her parents’ prayers for her as a child. “I felt these daily prayers were a great gift given to me by my parents,” says Albert. “From there I asked the Mt. Olive Council for permission to start a women’s prayer group.”

The women’s prayer group has the following goals: 1) develop and deepen a personal relationship to God through prayer; 2) encourage corporate prayer; and 3) fellowship with women in the congregation.

“We start each meeting with reading a chapter of the Bible and discussing it,” Albert explains. “Each week we explore a different attribute of God.” The group, which follows a format of praise, confession, thanksgiving, and intercession, then begins by praising God for that week’s attribute. Next, members silently confess their sins and ask for forgiveness. Then the group continues with thanksgiving and intercessory prayers, aided by a handout that supplies several scripted prayers pulled from the Bible.

While praying in a group can be intimidating, members have adjusted over time. Albert adds, “Prayers do not have to be elaborate, lengthy, or flowery. We depend on the Bible verses [on the handout] and the Holy Spirit to lead us in what to say.” And of course, the group is always reminded that, “what is prayed in the group, stays in the group.”

The prayer group, which is advertised in Mt. Olive’s weekly service folder, also accepts prayer requests from any member not attending in person. “This group is such a blessing,” says Albert. “We laugh together, we read God’s Word together, and we praise God together. It is the perfect start to every Tuesday morning!”

Learn more about how to incorporate daily prayer into your life.

Author: FIC
Volume 111, Number 06
Issue: June 2024

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