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Church’s reports affirm you can ‘count’ on prayer

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (BP)–North East Park Baptist
Church has a unique way to note to members that you can
“count” on prayer.
At every business meeting, Vicki Phillips, prayer
coordinator for the St. Petersburg, Fla., church,
presents a written report that would rival any
financial statement. She and the prayer ministry team
tally the accomplishments stemming from the dedication
of those involved in intercessory prayer. The report
lists the number of prayer requests, the types of
requests and the results. During 1996, the prayer
ministry team reported that 2,675 prayer requests were
given to the church.
In one business meeting last year, Phillips
reported, “Our prayers of a spiritual nature are 192,
and that is 52.9 percent. At the end of last year that
percentage was 44.1 percent.”
From this “accounting,” the church grows not only
in the number committed to prayer but also in the kind
of prayer going on, she said.
“But don’t let the numbers fool you. It was not
always this way,” she said in an interview. “The church
did not have prayer ministry until 1995 when we were
without a pastor. Our staff of seven people started to
pray and we encouraged prayer partners to connect daily
or at least once a week.”
Then the church sought other ways to increase the
awareness of prayer: Prayer requests were placed on the
altar during Sunday services. A women’s prayer seminar
sparked more participation. Tom Kyzer, director of the
Florida Baptist Convention’s prayer and spiritual
awakening department, led a three-day prayer revival.
In the midst of all this, Phillips felt a call to
make a commitment to prayer and was asked to lead the
prayer ministry group. Though she had never done
anything like it before, she was willing to learn,
trusting that God would be the only reason for success.
She began by reading everything available about
prayer. She then enlisted and trained people, helping
them understand that prayer honors God and that
requests are confidential.
Finally, the “Power Room” opened for prayer during
the worship service and throughout the week. During
each Sunday service, three to five people pray for
specific requests.
Organized like an office, every member’s name and
address is catalogued on a rolodex; color-coded cards
list individuals within a certain group. For example,
pink cards have church staff names, yellow cards are
for government officials and blue denotes people in
need of salvation. Also, those who pray write and mail
“prayergrams” to whomever was prayed for that day.
Not a novice anymore, Phillips shares her
knowledge with other churches and groups around the
state. She lists several guidelines for starting an
effective prayer ministry:
— Be a clean vessel. Those who pray must be pure
in prayer motives.
— Be called to the prayer ministry. It is not a
job that requires certain qualifications, but the
person must feel led by God.
— Seek promotion by the pastor. The pastor must
be behind the ministry 100 percent, but allow the
congregation to run with it.
— Use every practical help. Read books, attend
seminars and visit churches that have prayer
— Customize the ministry to your church. What
works for North East Park will not necessarily work the
same way for your church.
— Educate the fellowship. North East Park
operates a 24-hour prayer telephone answering machine
for people to leave prayer requests.
— Encourage the fellowship. Thank them in various
ways for their support. Be sure to tell the
congregation about answered prayer.

Backer is a correspondent for the Florida Baptist

    About the Author

  • Janice Backer