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How to Establish a Sustainable Prayer Program for a Church of any Size

Unfortunately, the repetitive sort of processes the “children of mammon” apply as norms to make money or be a successful student get little consideration in effectively leading revival. Non-growing churches tend to do things on a whim. If there is to be Revival in a Plain Brown Wrapper this whimsical way of going about God’s work has to change! Prayer must be a priority. file0001114540485.jpg

• We want praying people, but do we have a system to develop praying people and sustain corporate prayer?
• Good stewards are needed, but do we have a system to develop people who tithe and give?
• We want each person to find a place to serve, but do we have a system to accomplish this?

Thoreau said, “It’s not enough to be busy, so are the ants.” The question is, “Are we busy accomplishing the things we really want to get done?

Let’s look at how to create a sustainable prayer systems for a church of any size for your revival in a plain brown wrapper.

The apostles made prayer a priority. Their adherence to the daily hour of prayer schedule at the Temple put them in the place for the miracle to happen to the lame man. Paul instructed Timothy, “…first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;” (1 Timothy 2:1).  The apostles’ priority and Paul’s instruction do not just happen in any local church.

Systems for Prayer

An effective prayer program requires a system. Some suggestions that work for others.

For a Church planter – Emphasize one corporate prayer time each week. It can be pre-service prayer. This may be the first “church standard” you put in place. If a person, is not at corporate prayer the person does not sing or play a musical instrument. Such a standard is sustainable. It gives a missionary the chance to show the spiritual priorities.
For a Church of 50 – Every gathering includes pre-service prayer and an additional corporate prayer meeting is scheduled one time each month.
For a Church of 100 – Continue the same system as for 50 people, except move to having family prayer eachfile0001588162732.jpg week and add a quarterly 12-hour prayer chain. The prayer chain (generally done on a Saturday, the same Saturday of each month – perhaps the second Saturday) is done with different church members making a one-hour commitment. The goal is to eventually have several people praying each prayer shift. If the church has full-time use of a facility, schedule the prayer chain at that facility.
For a Church of 175 people – Continue the process for a church of 100, but move the 12-hour prayer chain to a monthly event on the calendar.
For a Church of 250 – Continue the above, except add a quarterly prayer chain that continues for 24 hours per day for 7 days. The prayer shifts are either 2 or 3 hours. If possible, have all participants pray at the church.

Revival in a Plain Brown Wrapper Requires Prayer

My latest book Revival in a Plain Brown Wrapper (which has been my best seller to date) puts the emphasis on prayer. In the coming year we will expand our prayer program to train children to pray and increase the number of people praying each shift of the monthly prayer chain from 3 people per hour to 5 per hour.

For any Revival in a Plain Brown Wrapper church, if the question is, “Will there be prayer meeting this week?” the answer is always, “Yes.”prayer chain2
Great churches have leaders that preach and teach prayer, then those leaders systematize prayer, repeat prayer, sustain prayer, duplicate prayer and expand prayer!


Systematic prayer is the absolute foundation for sustained revival.

As always, I’m interested in your own strategy for maintaining and sustaining a ministry of prayer. What works today will need to be adjusted from time to time. As we have experienced, momentum depends on adaptation. Share with me and others what has worked for you to sustain prayer for the church.

18 thoughts on “How to Establish a Sustainable Prayer Program for a Church of any Size

  1. About three years ago, I started gathering the children at the altar about 10 minutes before church on Sunday and Wednesday nights for prayer. It was a 3 to 5 minute max prayer. I began by asking prayer requests then giving them a couple of things to pray about (perhaps anoint the singers, musicians, pastor, teachers, fill people with the Holy Ghost, etc.). I always ended by calling all their names and praying something over them. Then I would tell them to use the restroom, get a drink, and then come back ready to worship. Last year, our youth joined in, and the group is so large now that we can’t call individual names anymore. (But that’s a good thing.) This year, the youth began leading the prayers, and last month, a child received the Holy Ghost in preservice prayer! Almost every prayer ends with the group repeating the leader, “I believe it! I receive it! In Jesus’ name!” And they are doing just that!! Prayer is the key. Teach them early.

    1. Thanks. Your observation and insight regarding getting children learning to pray is on point. Unfortunately, some churches never make that a priority. Thanks for the response.

  2. The church was born out of a prayer meeting and grew as a result of continued prayer! We cannot succeed without focused, consistent, fervent prayer as a church and as individuals in our relationship to our Heavenly Father! Great post!

    1. Exactly! C. Coon

  3. Wonderful, practical advice. We are a church of roughly 60 and are already doing corporate prayer at the start of each service. We are currently in a series being taught by our pastor about praying through the Tabernacle. I’m recommending to pastor that at the conclusion of this series that we launch a monthly prayer service.

    1. Excellent. The praying through the tabernacle is good.

  4. As a comment to Daniel DeLong’s post, I would say WOW! That is a good percentage Brother Coon. His disheartment made me think of a fellow Home Missionary who commented at breakfast at one of our retreats that all he gets for breakfast at home is homemade biscuits. I wanted to take him out back and whoop him. LOL! I’m in Oklahoma where most Church services start at 7:30 on Wednesday night. We have always started at 7. I usually go over our prayer requests at the beginning, then pray for 30 minutes before continuing service. That way, our prayer is part of the service.

    1. I’m with you on the “home made” biscuits. I’d love to have 1/3 of our congregants in Springfield be present for our monthly prayer time. Progress is happening, but we don’t quite have that percentage. I trust things are well with the church plant and that you still have the “mug.”

  5. I pastor a small church of 15, we have prayer meeting every tuesday. Only a 3rd shows up. How to you implement prayer for all without coming across thats the only sermon he knows.

    1. If 1/3 of your group show up that is actually a great percentage, especially if this is an “off night” time. My suggestion would be to focus on expanding the prayer effort at times when you already have people coming to church for a service. In today’s society, people’s time is often valued more than their money. My approach to challenging and encouraging prayer is to try to “celebrate” those who pray. In regard to communicating about prayer there are several options – one would be to be sure to give people tools to use in praying. As a pastor, we assume people know how to pray. This is not the case – we have to teach them “how” and give tools to accomplish prayer.

      1. Thanks Bro Coon! Great article. What would be your suggestions for tools to accomplish prayer. I know we can buy it at PPH but which one would you suggest. Lord bless.

        1. Bro cacho, the free resources from WNOP are great. Then Judy Doughty on Warfare Prayer. Sis trammel wrote a number of books that were good too.

          You can also pick up many classics on prayer at any used bookstore. CHEAP!

          Hope all is well

  6. In one church we attended saints always went to the prayer room first before every service and then to the platform.

  7. What are some clear steps to follow to help develop people into fervent prayers at home?

    1. Wow, my friend. Good to hear from you. This becomes a great challenge for sure. My contention is this, “If people are not praying in times of corporate prayer, they are almost certainly not praying at home.” So I’ve always started with that focus. Beyond that for myself and others I aim for the discipline of prayer. In my own personal experience this has been accomplished using prayer journaling. I don’t know that this is “fervent prayer,” but it is consistent prayer. You need to do a guest post for me on family devotions!

  8. This is practical, love it! I will implement it.

    Thanks Rev!

    1. Blessings . . .thank you. If the blog post benefited you, please pass it on to others in your “network” of acquaintances.

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