One of the best decisions we made in the last two years was to recruit a team of people specifically to pray for us as we live and serve here in Brighton.
I won’t claim it as my own wisdom.
Not at all… It was only after the first three weeks of living here when everything seemed to be going wrong for us, that my friend Stu asked who was praying for us? “I don’t know” I replied… “sure hope someone is!”
Shortly after that we decided to recruit a small team of people who would commit to pray for us at least weekly if not more often and really see it as part of their ministry to support us. There are only 15 or so on the team, but they are people who we are very open with and to whom we divulge whatever is going on – good and bad. I send a weekly email that tells the truth about how we are going. Lately its been quite positive and enthusiastic, but earlier in the year it was pretty gritty for a while.
There are no members of our Upstream team on the prayer team, because frankly sometimes the issues are our own inter-personal relationships and I don’t believe its fair to discuss that sort of stuff within the team.
We have seen about 1/3 of the team drop out as we have gone along, but we have also recruited new folks as we meet people who we see love us and are committed to us.
I am about to write an email asking people to consider staying with us for another 6 months (I ask people for a 6 monthly commitment) and hopefully we will have a positive response. I am quite ok with people signing off as we don’t want to be sending personal emails to people who are not genuinely committed to us.
My learning in this has been a) we need pray-ers (duh!) b) by staying in touch weekly people really do feel like they know what is going on in our lives. I am not convinced irregular contact is of much value.
I never had a prayer team as a pastor. I think I assumed (hoped) someone was praying for us – thank God for little old ladies – but now that we have been here I wouldn’t do anything differently. I am such a crap pray-er myself that its good to know people are praying for us!
The prayer team is made up of family, a couple of life long friends, folks from the eastern states, the USA, other missionaries and church planters, people from our home church and just a couple of others who care enough to pray!
If you are in this game and don’t have a prayer team then its time to get started. We kid ourselves if we think we can do God stuff without God…