Have you ever gone skydiving? I can only imagine what it would be like to stand at the edge of an open door 10,000 feet above the ground. Heart pounding and adrenaline pumping, the last thing I’d be considering is whether I should jump with the parachute or leave it behind. The parachute is not a luxury — it’s the lifeline I need to survive the free fall.
Like a parachute, an intercessory prayer team is an integral part of the wellbeing and protection of the church. Intercession is simply standing in the gap in prayer for others. Regardless of our experience, position, or qualifications, Jesus has given spiritual authority to every believer, meaning we are all equipped and called to intercede for the church and our communities.
Ephesians reminds us that our battle is not against flesh and blood but against the rulers, authorities, and powers of this dark world. We are “fighting the unseen spiritual forces of evil.” While the enemy is not creative, he is crafty. One of his greatest tactics is to deceive us into a casual, no-big-deal approach to spiritual warfare. When we are nonchalant about the spiritual battles we face daily, we pose no real threat to the enemy and give him space to come in to steal, kill, and destroy, leaving us ineffective in building the Kingdom.
Engaging in intercessory prayer is stepping into the frontlines of this unseen battle. While the thought of spiritual warfare can feel daunting, we can rest assured that we are seated next to Christ in heavenly places. We fight from a vantage point of victory! When stewarded properly, an intercessory prayer team is a powerful resource to have in our churches. Here are a few things this team brings to the table:
1. Changed Atmospheres
Think about a time when you walked into a room and felt a change in the air as you entered. Maybe you felt uncomfortable or the room felt heavy. In those moments, we are sensing the spiritual atmosphere of the room.
An intercessory prayer team keeps a pulse of the spiritual climate within our church. We want our church to reflect God’s promises. Rather than just being influenced by the spiritual atmosphere, partnering with God in intercession allows us to shift the atmospheres around us — confusion gives way to order, fear is replaced with peace, perversion is restored to purity, and hopelessness turns to expectation.
2. Clear Direction
As the prayer team aligns with and submits to the Holy Spirit, God often gives insight into the needs to cover in prayer. We’ve seen this time and time again in our church. For several months, our prayer team felt led to intercede for those struggling to know God as a good father because of wounds from their biological fathers. Our prayer team began praying over this issue weekly. A few months later, our church entered a collection of talks called Daddy Issues, centered around discovering the truth of who God is and how to heal from father wounds that hold us back. Since then, we’ve heard story after story of people finding freedom and forgiveness, allowing them to get to know the love of God as a heavenly father.
God shares the matters that are close to his heart so we can stand in the gap and see them come to pass. If we want to know where our church is going, we can look to the intercessory prayer team for a glimpse at what lies ahead.
3. Cause for Celebration
There’s no better time to celebrate than when prayer requests turn into praise reports! Intercessory prayer teams take God at his word, praying with expectancy that God will answer. God is always moving and working, so there is always a cause for celebration. We can party with a purpose.
So what does this look like practically? There are several ways to build and mobilize an intercessory prayer team in your church:
One of the most practical ways to utilize an intercessory prayer team is on Sundays. During the first service of the day, our intercessory prayer team gathers in a separate room for a “power hour” of prayer.
After starting with worship, team members begin to intercede for assigned topics. The topics vary depending on the needs within our church and the global church, but are ultimately chosen based on what the Holy Spirit prompts. Prayer topics can cover anything from healing and deliverance to church and government leaders, the impartation of spiritual gifts, mental health and relationships, and anything in between. All prayers are grounded in scripture. When service ends, the team is available to pray with guests in the courtyard. The flow of intercessory prayer can look different from week to week as the prayer team follows God’s lead.
We are always open to building and strengthening our intercessory prayer team. Anyone is welcome to apply, but not everyone will be invited to join. There is a spiritual weight that accompanies this team, and our aim is not to be exclusive but to be intentional in stewarding the responsibility of intercession.
All applicants are interviewed by prayer team leaders before a decision is made. If the prayer team is not the right fit, we encourage people to join another team at our church with the freedom to reapply in the future if they want. You can check out our Prayer Team Interview Form for a more detailed look at the interview flow we follow.
Some of the most powerful moments of intercession in our church are during altar call moments. This is a time for guests to receive prayer for a need they have. Whether the altar call is planned or spontaneous, our prayer team is available and ready during service.
Prayer is our first response, not our last resort. No matter the event, we want prayer to be first and foremost when our church community gathers large.
Prayer equals care. The prayer team falls under the umbrella of our Care Department. We mobilize our prayer team to care for our community through hospital visits, salvation calls with people who recently gave their life to Jesus, and group prayer calls.