Ignite a Prayer Uprising in Your Ministry

For as long as I can remember, my Grandma Nessa has been described as a mighty prayer warrior. 

Though she was killed in a car accident in 1974, her five sons and sixteen grandchildren have always remembered her as a woman who prayed—often on her knees by her bed late into the night. We joke that she had to pray because it was the only way to “protect” her five rambunctious boys growing up on an Iowa farm back in the thirties and forties. While she prayed for their safety, she also prayed that they’d all grow into men after God’s own heart.

My father credits his mother’s prayers as helping turn his heart back to God after he wandered from his faith as a teen. He then went to Bible college and seminary and pastored several churches for close to fifty years. He was the author of several best-selling books on revival and prayer which tell stories of the legacy of my grandmother’s prayers.

That’s the kind of legacy I want to leave. Oh, to be remembered long after I’m gone as a wife, mom, grandma, and ministry leader who actually prayed—rather than just talking, teaching, and writing about the importance of prayer.

A Prayer Uprising

As women’s ministry leaders, we often teach on the importance of prayer and we might even offer a Bible study on prayer, but are the women we’re serving actually praying? One of the greatest gifts we can give the women we serve is to equip and inspire them to be women who pray and are committed to leaving their own legacy of prayer. But that can also be one of our greatest challenges as leaders.

For most ministries, prayer is often relegated to just a handful of women who are considered the “prayer warriors” in the church who pray for you, your leadership team, and the ministry events. While that is a treasured gift, I believe as leaders we should long for more. 

And, I suspect that the women you are leading are also longing for more—a more consistent, deeper, life-changing commitment to prayer.

What if—together as leaders—we could be part of a prayer uprising where prayer is the hallmark of the ministries we are leading! Let’s look at a few practical ways to initiate an uprising of prayer where God has called us to serve.

Ministry Theme

Consider making prayer the focus of your ministry theme for a whole year. The Revive Our Hearts Leader Connection resources provide many inspiring articles on prayer where you can find ideas for igniting a passion to pray in your own life, and in the lives of the women you serve. You can browse the prayer resources here. 

Start with Your Leadership Team 

During the planning time for a new ministry year, plan a prayer getaway or retreat with just your leadership team. The retreat can include some of the ideas outlined below that you can then expand to all the women in your ministry, starting in the fall or January. The ripple effect of your leaders saturated in prayer will then spill over into the prayer lives of the women you are serving. (You can also use these ideas for a prayer retreat or conference that you offer to all of the women in your church.)

1. Worship Prayers

So often we think that prayer is just bringing our requests to the Father. But often the richest seasons of prayer are when we begin with worship. Take time with your leaders to begin your prayer time together by praising our God through His names and attributes. I encourage you to use a model of worship first every time you have a prayer gathering with your leadership teams.

One creative way to do this is through Alphabet Praise prayers that go something like this:

Heavenly Father, we worship you as our Almighty, Bold, yet Compassionate God. Thank You for being my Deliverer and Everlasting Father. You are Good. And, You are Holy, Holy, Holy! I worship You as the I AM. You are Just and You are my King of kings and Lord of lords.

You get the idea. It can get tricky around X, Y, and Z, but be creative! 

Alphabet Praise is a peaceful way to fall asleep worshiping God in prayer at night and a fun way to pray with your children or grandchildren. I’ve also been in prayer gatherings where we’re asked to pray about the attribute or name of God that is the most meaningful in your current journey. It’s a beautiful way to share within a prayer setting how God is impacting your life in a specific way.

2. Praying Scripture 

Thankfully, there seems to be a renewed hunger to study God’s Word in our churches and women’s ministries. But something that is rarely taught is how to pray using Scripture. You can teach your leaders how to do this at your prayer getaway. It provides a beautiful model of how to pray over the women they serve, especially in crisis. Here’s how you might pray Psalm 91: 

Father God, thank you for the truth from Your Word that promises that if I dwell in the shelter of You, the Most High, that I will rest in the shadow of You, my Almighty God. I will say of You, my Lord, “You are my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” Surely, You will save me from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. You will cover me with Your feathers, and under Your wings I will find refuge. Thank You that Your faithfulness will be my shield and rampart. (Taken from Psalm 91:1–4)

What an amazing song and prayer of worship! If someone has a deep prayer burden for a loved one, she can insert that person’s name in the Scripture wherever the personal pronouns appear. Many of the psalms can be personalized for prayer.

3. Prayers in the Bible

Another powerful way to pray Scripture is to pray the different prayers that are in the Bible. A prayer that I love to pray over loved ones is taken from the high priestly prayer in John 17. These verses are especially poignant when praying for our children or the youth in our churches:

Lord Jesus, just as You prayed these words over Your disciples, I, too pray them for my children and grandchildren, “I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one . . . Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth . . . Help me to “make known to them Your name . . . that the love with which You have loved me may be in them.” (Taken from John 17:15, 17, 26)

Dear women, these are just a few of the practical and simple ways to deepen the prayer focus within the ministries God has called us to lead. As leaders, may we join together in crying out for a revival of prayer that will forever transform our lives and ministries. May our greatest legacy be that we are remembered as women and leaders who prayed!

Editor’s note: If you’re interested in planning a retreat with your leadership team, here’s an article from the archives to help, “How to Plan a Leader’s Retreat”.

About the Author

Judy Dunagan

Judy Dunagan is an acquisitions editor for women's books and Bible studies at Moody Publishers. She has a heart for discipleship and making God's Word and prayer come alive in everyday life. She is the author of the book The Loudest Roar: Living in the Unshakable Victory of Christ. Judy and her husband Rick live in Colorado. Connect at Judy.Dunagan.com