Together in Prayer

Vertical Prayer with Horizontal Impact

After-Service Prayer for the Sick

This article appeared in Issue 32 (Jan-Mar 2018) of Prayer Connect

One way to minister through prayer to the sick is to periodically invite those suffering to come to a place where you can pray for them specifically. When I was serving in the prayer ministry at Willow Creek, we did this monthly, after each communion service. The pastor would announce that anyone desiring prayer could come to a designated room after the service. When people gathered, a pastor or elder would pray over those in the room as a group. Those who wanted more specific prayer could stay and pray with one of the Elder Prayer Team members.

When praying with the sick this way, I found these tips to be helpful:

  • Guide the conversation. When people launch into long, detailed accounts of their situations, I gently ask them what they want God to do for them. This returns the focus to God and sets the stage for prayer.
  • Set clear expectations. Ask people whether they also want to pray or only receive prayer. If they want to pray, suggest how you will proceed (for example, they can open and you will close).
  • Keep it brief and vertically focused. The people I prayed with weren’t looking for a long, spiritual sounding recounting of their circumstances in my prayer. I find that brief, focused prayer for God’s intervention in their lives lifts them out of their discouragement and into God’s presence. Before I begin praying, I will also let the person know what I will be praying for—especially if they also want to pray.