notes explain the basis for encouraging the whole church to enter into
personal prayer ministry as an expression of faith. Put in its simplest
form it is how to encourage and prepare as many of the people of God as
possible to become those who would pray for others, and listen to God
as they do so.
PART ONE: The Basics about Faith
ONE: The Basics about Faith
Introduction: Types of Faith
Point ------------------- Process -------------------------- End Point
church that talks A people who minister to
Signs, wonders & lives
never does the one another & do the works
transformed as the
works of Jesus
kingdom of God is
the end product is the kingdom expressed and expanded and God glorified.
of Jesus - see Lk 4:18,19 and Mt 11:5 i.e. physical, mental, spiritual
14:12 “ whoever believes in me will
do the works I have been doing.”
28:19,20 “ go and make
disciples of (or from) all nations……
teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.”
Introduction: Types of Faith
its simplest form, faith is responding
to what we hear God saying
comes from hearing the word” (Rom
we ‘hear' God's word, (by reading, hearing preaching etc.) are convicted
believing and accepting the basic facts of our salvation,
let's call ‘Basic Faith'
we grow in Christ, we learn to let God's word guide and direct our lives
and bring change to them.
might call this ‘Character Faith' - our character changes
as we conform to God's will.
we do not steal, kill, commit adultery (negatives); we do have compassion,
learn patience (positives) etc.
whole areas of life are changed – attitudes towards society, relationships,
money, work etc.
then we learn that God speaks and we can hear on a daily basis, as the
Holy Spirit nudges us with that quiet, still inner voice. As we respond
to this we might call this ‘Response Faith'
of ‘response faith' might be,
“Go and encourage that person” or
“Ask them how they are and offer to pray for them” or
“Offer to pay that debt they have referred to”, etc.
inevitably ‘response faith' means being God's instrument to bless others.
TWO: Problems to be Faced
are two problems to be faced and overcome:
The problem of the Culture of Unbelief
The problem of the ‘Hard Man Mentality'
Culture of Unbelief
truth is that many good Evangelical churches have been good at proclaiming
the word but not so good at things they may consider more subjectively,
and therefore they have accepted a culture of unbelief
(yes, it is that!)
are good with Basic and Character Faith but very weak when it comes to
Response Faith, i.e. they don't like the thought of ‘hearing God' and
even less like doing the same works of Jesus as seen in say Lk 4:18,19
and Matt 11:4,5 which they often tend to spiritualise, despite the fact
that Jesus clearly ministered into the physical realm with all these things.
such a culture of unbelief, in which many of us have grown up, it is almost
impossible to expect to see Jesus do these things, as we see in Mk 6:5
where Jesus could hardly do anything because of the unbelief of the people.
We should also note that such signs and wonders are no guarantee of belief
(see Jn 12:37).
Man with the Shrivelled Hand
Mk 3:1- we find Jesus going into a local synagogue where he encounters
a man with a shrivelled hand. It is unlikely that the man had come with
Jesus because Jesus would already have healed him and it is more likely
that he was a local who regularly attended synagogue.
main activities of the synagogue were scripture reading/teaching and prayers,
and clearly not to minister to the physical needs of the people. Now see
this: here we have a religious institution that weekly declares the word
of God but fails to do the works of Jesus.
comes in and heals the man despite the environment of prevailing unbelief.
many people do we have in our congregation who come with problems, difficulties,
aches, pains, illnesses and infirmities, who we fail to touch as Jesus
touched this man?
Mk 1:21 Jesus goes into the local synagogue and is confronted by a demon-possessed
man. Again it is likely that he was able to be in the synagogue without
upset until the Son of God appeared. When Jesus delivered him, the people
were surprised by his authority. Spiritual authority was clearly absent
from this place where the word of God was declared impotently week by
week. In how many churches is this true today?
to be taken
overcome this culture or environment of unbelief we need to do the following:
Face and confess our unbelief –
we have not done the works of Jesus (see Jn 14:12) and have rationalised
it and remained ineffective. In some quarters where it is done, it is
usually limited to the leaders and the body of Christ largely remain spectators.
Declare our belief –
we need to positively speak out our belief and determination to go along
the path that follows in these notes.
Start a Process of Learning –
we need to recognise that we are learners and there will be a process
we laid out above to bring about 'a people who minister to one another
and do the works of Jesus involving signs, wonders and lives transformed
as the kingdom of God is expressed and subsequently enlarged.'
case we missed them, we should take careful note of three key words:
‘start' – there has to be a beginning.
Some leader has to step out in faith with these things if we are to
proceed with them as a church.
‘process' – it will take time, effort
and perseverance; it is an ongoing thing.
‘learning' – we start with little knowledge
and possibly no experience but are open to the Holy Spirit to teach,
guide, correct, give us wisdom, and train us as we go along.
takes us back to the fact that in its simplest form, faith is responding
to what we hear God saying.
comes from hearing the word” (Rom
10:17) and the first part of the learning process is ‘learning to listen'.
before we move on to the learning phase, we also need to face the second
problem, that of the ‘hard man mentality' in many Christians.
The Hard Man mentality
observe this in Jesus' parable of the talents, in the response of the
third servant who said to his master, “I
knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown
and gathering where you have not scattered seed. So I was afraid and went
out and hid your gold in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.'
is particularly prevalent in churches where there is an authoritarian
or legalistic leadership where there are very high standards dictated
from the front and required of any who serve in any form in the church.
is also prevalent in individuals whose fathers were similarly authoritarian
or even abusive. In both cases
it is seen in a fear of imperfect achievement i.e. perfectionism. The
fear of failure, or of ‘getting it wrong', kills faith.
individual from these situations:
cannot believe that
Almighty God might speak to them – and they might actually hear Him
and get it right;
fears that if they
get it wrong, God will at the best scold them and, at the worst, painfully
person who has grown up in a loving and secure home, and who has experienced
good parenting, knows that:
the parent knows
a child only develops and learns in slow stages and
is still loved while
they are clearly still ‘early-learners' and
are not rebuked when
they are learning imperfectly and
will grow as their
repeat their attempts and improve on them, and
their parents are
completely for them, rooting for their success,
delighting in them when they take their first tentative
this is good parenting (and it is!) then our loving, heavenly Father is
so much more accepting of our faltering steps and pleased when we make
many, the thought of stepping out in faith is a fearful prospect instead
of a delightful adventure that can bless the Father's heart. Constant
encouragement may need to be given.
of this should be taken to imply that God will turn a blind eye to blatant
sin and therefore the believer who desires to learn to be used of God
in these ways, will constantly allow the Spirit to check them out and
highlight needs for change. The Lord is always there, waiting to forgive
when there is repentance and empower changes of behaviour when that is
THREE: The Learning Process
Does Jesus want to
The Benefits of Listening
the Learning Process
of the Faith-Ministry Process
Proactive Response Faith
sometimes in church life there are opportunities to put ourselves
in a position where we need ‘response faith' i.e. we put
ourselves in a position where we need to hear God before we respond
example, we KNOW the following:
God loves to bless his children, especially
when they are in need.
He delights in bringing blessing through
us when we pray
we can create a situation where this can come about, in that
The leader invites people with
needs to come forward for prayer
Others then pray over those people.
There are a number of ways we can administer corporate prayer
Learning to Listen
to be people of faith, we need to be those who ‘hear' God.
reveals a need – to learn to listen.
Basic & Character Faith come from hearing which may involve reading
the Word, hearing preaching, listening to prophecy, listening within
prayer, and catching that small inner voice, Response Faith arises
almost invariably from the latter method – catching the small inner
we make ourselves more sensitive to His voice? Yes, by learning to
wait upon him and by learning to tune our spirit more to His.
when we are on our own, or
when we are in the process of ministering
us stilling our mind and our spirit
and focusing on Him and
putting aside our desires and our
to tune our
spirit to His
can do this as we wait on Him by:
Giving over all worries and anxieties
to Him from the outset and leaving them with Him, i.e. clearing
our minds so we are available to Him without distraction.
Declaring to him our availability
and declaring the truths of His word
Being still in mid and spirit
Allowing the Lord us use our imagination
To stir pictures of His greatness
To bring pictures of what Jesus
is feeling about those we pray for
will not mine
often in prayer we have a problem before us and so we tell God
what we want Him to do
better approach is to wait upon Him and sense His presence and His
heart before we ask anything.
not ‘needs focused'
we are praying over people it is better to:
Put aside the obvious need,
Sense and then share what you feel
the Lord feels about them, i.e. minister to their identity
before ministering to their need, so they are first of all built
Ask the Lord silently for a picture
for them – pictures so often convey so much more and tend to touch
the spirit as well as the mind.
we are praying for people remember the Lord's characteristics which
He will never act against:
He IS love (1 Jn
4:8,16) so everything He expresses and says will be an expression
of love (If you are to truly represent Him to the best of your ability,
make sure you are filled with His love for them).
He is gentle and
compassionate and desires the redemption of this
person in every way possible. He will never write them off but always
seek their restoration and maybe reconciliation if they are away
He is always forgiving
when a person comes in humility and repentance, but do not assume
this person's problems are a result of their sin – they may be but
Because He is compassionate and understanding,
He knows that often people need to come back into a place where
they receive His love and goodness before they can feel secure enough
to confess and acknowledge their failures. Bless first and allow
them to respond, and you may hear the words of repentance, which
you can then affirm with 1 John 1:9 understanding.
Types of Need
needs to be addressed in prayer may be:
About the individual's self-worth,
may even be a crisis of faith where they need reassuring
About a relational problem, e.g. trouble
at home that needs wisdom and reassurance
A health issue, a need for healing
A deliverance issue to set free from
oppression (influence) or possession (control)
Does Jesus want to heal TODAY?
question has to be asked in the light of the assertions we have made
in 2.1 above about unbelief.
of the time Jesus spent healing people and indeed, “people
brought to him all who were ill with various
diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those
having seizures, and the paralyzed, and he healed them.”
that wasn't clear enough, “When evening
came, many who were demon-possessed were brought to him, and he drove
out the spirits with a word and healed all the sick.”
we have given away to that ‘culture of unbelief' in 2.1 above we have
ignored or rejected the key verses in 1.2 above and we need to repent
for doing that and look again at the things in these pages.
The Benefits of Listening Prayer
benefit of listening prayer is that:
God may want to bless the individual
in respect of their identity
remind them how much He loves them and accepts them
He may then want us to pray in specific
ways – so often He prefers us to be specific so we see specific
Within both of these He may use ‘pictures'
that come to mind to either show what He feels about them or what
is the root problem to be addressed.
We may receive direction as to how
we pray, e.g. we may ask for something, i.e. a petition, or the
Holy Spirit may instruct us to ‘command' a healing or a release.
Listening Prayer slows down the process
and allows you to calmly minister, being able to be more observant
/ more considerate
The character of God – love and goodness
especially – is more likely to be expressed than if we simply dash
in and utter words.
Where two or more are listening in
prayer, when one is actually praying out loud, it gives the other(s)
the opportunity to catch further direction, for in so doing, the
will of God can be revealed
IS important that the person being prayed for feel loved and respected
and cared for in the process.
Characteristics of the Learning Process
2.2 above we considered the way a good parent thinks of their child
in their early learning years, and we apply some of those things here
to help understand how we may go about developing and maturing in
the child only
develops and learns in slow stages and
is not rebuked
when they are learning imperfectly
the child learns
by repeating their efforts and improving on them as they grow
when we start off encouraging people to step out in personal ministry,
praying for one another, we may:
seek to encourage
them to step out
guide them how
to bring what they think they are hearing
to check what the person they have prayed for feels and if necessary
wait and pray again.
we are mentoring such a group we need to recognise that:
some will find
it difficult initially to ‘hear' anything from the Lord
some will hear
only a little
some may receive
pictures that will need interpreting
they may thus need our input to:
with possible further helps from us
rejoice in the
little and perhaps listen for more
ask what such
a picture suggests and listen again to build on it.
loving heavenly Father will always be there encouraging us. He wants
us to learn, He wants us to develop, He wants us to improve in the
way we minister to one another.
The Fruits of the Faith-Ministry Process
We are providing an opportunity for
the body of Christ to wake up and become the active body that Jesus
had, doing his Father's will, while on earth.
It enables every person to respond in
faith and grow in spiritual maturity.
means gradual change
Gradual change means lessening the chance
of failure (and fear)
Change produces a sense of achievement
and fulfilment in the believer
Learning takes away the pressure of having
to achieve ‘now!'
Learning means if we get it wrong. It's
not the end.
means the Body is Blessed
As the believer learns to step out in
faith in prayer ministry, that means an additional resource to bless
As other believers are blessed, healed,
restored etc. it means they are more likely to also become available
and part of the active Body rather than the passive Body.
means the World Blessed
So much of Jesus' ministry was to those
who were not yet believers
As he blessed them with healing, deliverance
etc. so often they became believers
Much of his ministry was simply accepting
and loving the unbeliever until they became a believer – e.g. Samaritan
woman and Zacchaeus – as they came to realise who he was.
As we love, accept and minister to others
so they too will come to a a similar realisation.
This is not a guarantee, but it does provide
an open door that reveals love and security which can encourage the
unbeliever to pass through to receive salvation.
means fulfilment of God's word
It is clear from the verses we have used
in these pages, that an alive and active body of Christ (the Church)
is God's will.
As we start to learn how to listen and
respond to the Spirit, we will thus show our obedience and will glorify
prayer results in unfocused answers
we don't know if God has answered.
Prayer (i.e. with the will of God) comes
as we wait on God (focusing on Him)
as we listen to the moving & directing of the Holy Spirit as we
releases FAITH which in turn releases the WILL OF GOD.
God's will is declared, He then acts.