Below you’ll find the transcript for episode 24, Praying for Women’s Ministry, from the Women’s Ministry Toolbox Podcast.
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EP: 24 Praying for Women’s Ministry
Welcome to the Women’s Ministry Toolbox Podcast. I’m Cyndee Ownbey, your host and women’s ministry mentor. I’m the founder of Women’s Ministry Toolbox and the author of Rethinking Women’s Ministry. The Women’s Ministry Toolbox Podcast is a podcast for women’s ministry leaders and team members of all stages (from new to seasoned) serving in their local church community. If you’re looking for hope and inspiration, you’ve come to the right place! In addition to discussing the nuts and bolts of women’s ministry, I’ll be asking seasoned women’s ministry leaders to share their best tips and the lessons they’ve learned. Together we’ll learn to build a flourishing, Christ-focused women’s ministry.
Welcome to episode 24, Praying for Women’s Ministry.
We’ve almost reached the end of our time walking through the foundational pieces of women’s ministry. We’ve covered a lot of ground, including the scriptural basis for women’s ministry (episode 1), different types of women’s ministry meetings (episode 7), how to build a women’s ministry team (episode 11), women’s ministry surveys (episode 17), the power of personal testimonies (episode 20), and most recently, door prizes (episode 23).
If you have any questions about women’s ministry basics and foundations that I haven’t answered yet, please drop me an email (CyndeeATwomensminitrytoolbox.com), or you can send me a message via social media. I’m going to be having a very special question and answer episode that will be released on August 18, 2021. I want to make sure I answer any questions that you have.
I hope and I pray that you found this series to be incredibly helpful and encouraging.
Now, in all honesty, I probably should have started with today’s episode rather than pretty much ending our series with it.
I’m certain that you’ll agree that prayer is the most important piece of women’s ministry.
Today, I want to challenge you and your team to pray more specifically and to pray in new ways.
We will be talking about:
- Praying for events
- Praying at your events
- Praying for your women
- Praying with your women
I’m going to reference a lot of blog posts on the Women’s Ministry Toolbox site. Prayer is near and dear to my heart, and it’s something that I have written on many times over the last eight years. I’ve gathered all of those prayer-related links on one page, Women’s Ministry Prayer Resources.
I’m going to highlight three ideas for each category rather than make this blog post a book – there’s so much that we could talk about. I’ll refer you to those posts if you want to dig deeper in that area of prayer.
Before we dive into those four areas of praying for women’s ministry, I want to tell you why and how God used prayer to change my life radically.
Many, many years ago, Kim, who later became my mentor, asked me to join a prayer group that she was hosting at her home. Now, I have to admit I was completely frightened to join her prayer group. I had never prayed with a group of women out loud like that before, and I was completely intimidated by this idea.
But the Lord had already been working on my heart. I knew without a doubt that this was something that I was supposed to say yes completely out of obedience. It didn’t matter what my feelings were. I knew that God wanted me to say yes.
That first time it was just Kim, Becky, and I. They reassured me that I did not have to say anything, which was wonderful because I had no idea what to say or what to do.
These dear women taught me how to pray. We followed the ACTS prayer model – adoration, confession, thanksgiving, and supplication. We prayed for our families, prayed for our church, prayed for our children, and our personal needs.
That first prayer meeting, I didn’t say a word. I was completely overwhelmed in such a good way. It brought tears to my eyes to have women pray over me. Even now, I get choked up thinking about it. Over the next several years, my confidence and ability to pray out loud grew by leaps and bounds. We met weekly. It was the anchor for me through many difficult seasons. I knew that every week I could trust these women, and I could take my prayer requests to them. It was the sweetest time. We saw so many prayers answered. We saw prayers that weren’t answered. We would praise and thank God for the answers that we had seen in the weeks before.
It changed my perspective.
There’s a difference between praying for the plans we’ve already made and asking God to bless those plans than praying for God’s direction before we ever make a single plan. That is the key I want you to walk away with.
If you hear nothing else, I want to encourage you to take your prayers to the Lord before you ever jot down one women’s ministry plan on a piece of paper.
Seek His direction. Seek His will. Ask Him to direct your steps. Ask Him to show you what that event needs to look like. He will open your eyes and He will give you wisdom, just as scripture promises.
How can we pray specifically for women’s ministry?
We’re going to start by talking about praying for events.
Three Ways to Pray for Events
- I love to have a prayer team or a prayer coordinator for large events, like retreats and conferences. Prayer should be an important part of your planning, and it doesn’t have to rest on the shoulders of the person overseeing the retreat or conference. Look for someone that God has given a heart for prayer. You’ve got prayer warriors in your church, I promise you. Sometimes we don’t know who they are, and we may need to ask others – seek those women out. They will consider it an honor and a privilege to pray for you.
- Prayer walk your location if possible – it may require an extra trip. Prayer walk your location before your event begins or arrive if you can, a couple of hours early. You may already be planning to do that to get things organized, but build in an extra 30 minutes so your team can walk your location and pray over the specifics.
- A 30-day prayer calendar. I have created one specifically for retreats. You can print and download it here. It covers all of the different areas, praying for your speaker, the planning team, the women, etc.
That’s praying for events, but what about praying at events?
As our weekly session drew to a close, the facilitator of our summer Bible study simply asked, “Would someone like to close us in prayer?” You could have heard a pin drop. Out of a group of over 20 women, no one dared to move or breathe. I was both shocked and saddened. Did no one have the confidence to pray out loud? At our very next women’s ministry team meeting, I suggested we offer a workshop on prayer. Our women needed help. Chances are yours do too! The Prayer Warrior Boot Camp that we offered to stretch and strengthen our women’s prayer muscles is available for you to use in your church. The Prayer Warrior Boot Camp Kit includes everything you need to do and say. Visit prayerwarriorbootcamp.com to find out more.
Three Ideas for Praying at Events
1.Prayer stations. I admit this is not something that I had done until five or six years ago, but it was the sweetest time of our entire retreat weekend and the highlight for many of our women.
The key to a great prayer station time is to have those prayer stations be interactive.
We washed our hands at one, we wrote letters at another one, and we may have put pins on a map. You’ll find lots of ideas on Pinterest, and I have several on my site here. We made sure that we dimmed the lights and that there was soft, instrumental music playing in the background (Words can be distracting for some people, so use instrumental worship music.)
We had multiple stations and allowed our women to move freely as the Lord led us from one to the other. Our director of the event explained all of the prayer stations in detail before we even visited them, making it a lot easier to participate. It was a sweet, sweet time of prayer that evening.
2. Prayer room. You may be able to rent or find a quiet space at your retreat location. Put out prayer cards (these are my favorites), play music in the background, have pillows. Do everything you can to make that space peaceful and private.
It may be tempting to burn candles, but the fragrance will be a problem for some of your women. Usually, your retreat center or conference center won’t let you have open flames, so use battery-operated ones instead.
3. Prayer counseling. The key is to train your prayer counselors in advance. You want to select women who are comfortable sharing the gospel and comfortable praying out loud with other women—plan in advance for prayer requests that may require intervention. Make sure your women know what to do in situations of abuse, if women are in physical danger, they are depressed, or you’re concerned that they may harm themselves. They need to know what the plan of action will be.
Praying for Your People
There are four groups of people that you may be praying for.
- Your women’s ministry team.
- Your small group or Bible study members.
- All of the women in your church. Every last one, even the ones you’ve never met.
- The women in your community. There are a lot of lost souls in your community, a lot of women without church homes, and a lot of women in desperate situations that have no help.
Three Ideas for Praying for Your People
- Cover your women’s ministry team with prayer. As you know, ministry can often be a battle, and Satan loves to attack our team members. Pray for their health, their marriages, their spiritual growth. I have specific prayers you can pray for your women’s ministry team here.
- Dedicate time to pray for your Bible study or small group. I have a free printable with seven prayers, one for each day of the week that you could pray.
- As a women’s ministry team, set aside time at your meetings to offer up prayers for the community of women you serve. Be sure to check out the 21 prayers for women in your church on my freebies page here.
Praying With Your Women
We were praying FOR our people and the last ideas. This one, we’re going to be praying WITH our women.
1.Teach your women to pray out loud. It’s probably no surprise to you that most women aren’t comfortable praying out loud. That was the case in our church. The Prayer Warrior Boot Camp for Groups that I created came out of a lack of women willing to pray at a Bible study. I believe 21 women sat in that room. All eyes went to the floor when our Bible study leader asked for someone to pray. These were women who had been in the church a long time. I couldn’t believe that no one wanted to volunteer.
Teach your women to pray out loud. You can help them strengthen those skills and give them a pattern of prayer that they will feel confident in that they can adapt and grow.
2. Start a prayer group. Like I shared earlier, that time was such a sweet time of growth and encouragement for me. Now that’s only if there’s a need. Your church may already have a prayer ministry, and you may not need to offer prayer groups. You will find a prayer group guide here.
3. Gathering prayer requests. I wrote a whole post on ways to do this without taking over your Bible study or an event. Of those ideas, partner up is one of my favorites. All you do is share two or three requests with the person next to you. Prayer requests don’t need to be shared with the entire group.
Prayer is like gasoline for our women’s ministry. It makes our ministry go.
Prayer also increases our effectiveness, and it invites the Holy Spirit to move.
Philippians 4:6-7 says, “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
I cannot overemphasize the importance of prayer in women’s ministry.
I suspect that you probably already know, and I’m preaching to the choir.
I’m hopeful that today, maybe you heard a new idea, a new way to pray, or a new thought on prayer that you could incorporate in your women’s ministry plan.
Today’s Toolbox Task:
- Spend time praying out loud together as a team at your next meeting – for your women, for an event, or each other. It’s up to you.
- Check the plans for your next big event for prayer coverage and prayer opportunities. Add prayer where needed.
Thank you for listening to this episode of the Women’s Ministry Toolbox podcast. Leading in women’s ministry can be lonely, but it doesn’t have to be! You’ll find support and ideas you can use in the Women’s Ministry Toolbox Community Facebook Group. We’d love for you to join us! Search for us on Facebook or visit womensministrytoolbox.com/groups to access the link. May the grace of God carry you through difficult ministry seasons, may He direct your steps as you seek to make Him known, and may your love for the LORD be apparent to every woman you serve.
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