Observation: The Impact of Prayer Ministry on Church Vitality

A picture of several persons holding hands to pray
A picture of several persons holding hands to pray (photo: yandex.com)
By Kristina RanJune 7th, 2024

After many visits, I find that a strong prayer ministry is a key factor in the vitality of a church.

Since the implementation of religious freedom policies in 1978, churches across the country have generally moved past the phases of church building and ministry establishment over the past forty years.

Many churches have established the following essential ministries: Sunday services, choirs, visitations, Bible study groups, and prayer meetings. More advanced churches have developed choirs with members of different ages and fellowships for youth, middle-aged adults, seniors, and couples, as well as special ministries, such as media and writing ministry. In recent years, churches have also begun to improve their management systems. Overall, I find that many churches have hoped to or are striving to boost vitality through four main aspects: infrastructure, staff worker teams, institutional regulations, and small group ministries.

Prayer ministries vary greatly across churches. Some churches do not hold collective prayer meetings, confining prayer to personal spiritual practice; most churches hold weekly prayer meetings; some, in addition to weekly meetings, host monthly, quarterly, and annual prayer meetings; and a few churches maintain daily morning prayers according to local tradition. Besides regular schedules, most churches conduct special prayer meetings for events such as Easter, Christmas, and New Year’s Day, as well as for specific needs like church building, church dedication, and healing. Churches that emphasize prayer ministries strive to establish prayer halls, provide dedicated prayer rooms, and hold daily prayer meetings for church workers to start their day of service.

A church in H City in southeast China began standardizing management during the pandemic and started small group meetings and a choir, which were conducted uneventfully. It managed to navigate a financial crisis while building its church, thanks to daily morning prayers. Dozens of believers prayed continuously for 365 days for the church, its leaders, ministries, and the special needs of believers.

A church in N City, with over a thousand congregants, maintains over 60% of its youth population. According to its senior pastor, this is credited to the church’s strong emphasis on worship and prayer ministries. From Monday to Saturday, they hold daily morning prayers from 5 to 7 am, fasting prayers from 8 am to 3 pm, and overnight prayer meetings on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays. They also hold Bible studies & prayer meetings on Thursdays. When I attended this church’s prayer meeting, I found that the staff workers involved in photography, videography, leading praise, and prayer were all young people.

Prayer ministry is the greatest support for other ministries. For churches with limited conditions and those unable to start new ministries due to personnel or financial constraints, especially declining rural churches, prayer is particularly crucial because it is the easiest, most feasible, and most visibly effective ministry.

- Translated by Abigail Wu 

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