Prayer chains are wonderful for evoking the power of unified prayer. If you are starting this tool with your church, here are a few tips to make it work smoothly.
* Be sure of the purpose. Prayer chains are not gossip hot-lines. It should be made absolutely clear that before anyone is mentioned by name in a prayer chain, permission is given. If unsure, but burdened by a particular need, the member should simply say it is an urgent, unspoken request for prayer. Also, the prayer chain should not be abused for situations that are constantly being mentioned to the point that the chain gets bogged down and, possibly, not continued.
* Be sure of the principal. When a call is made to the prayer chain member, the member needs to be aware that at that moment, no matter what, the prayer needs to be honored, the member needs to pray for the need, and the next call made. It doesn’t need to be a long prayer, but since the intention of the prayer chain is a unified lifting up of the need to God, immediate adherence is paramount.
* When members have been briefed and are in agreement of the principal and the purpose of a prayer chain, names, phone numbers, and/or emails are organized. If there are many “links” to the chain, then there should be several lists set up of between five and ten names per list.
* There will be one contact person per list who will call down their list. This person should keep a log of prayer requests and, if possible, follow up for updates. Every month or so, it is encouraging and often surprising to see just how effective the prayer chain has been.
* There will be one main contact person who will receive the prayer requests and call the secondary “list” contact links.
* If a person is called and not contacted personally, the person who called will need to leave a message and then go to the next person down the list.
* If no people can be reached personally, the list contact person will need to call the main contact and report this.
* When wording the prayer request, be concise. We all know the old game where one person whispers in the next person’s ear and at how muddled the message becomes after awhile. Be brief, be concise and be accurate. Be aware that people are busy, even if you are not at that moment, and let the prayer need speak for itself.
There is power in corporate prayer. There is also a unifying factor when people reach out to each other and know that their needs are taken seriously and treated with respect. It is another way of doing God’s will, with God’s power to back you up.