Prayer ministry is a very important aspect of a Catholic Charismatic Renewal prayer meeting. As people become involved with a prayer group, they soon want to serve others and, after they have had sufficient experience by being part of the group for some time, they may be invited to be part of a prayer team that ministers in prayer to others after the meeting. These notes are designed to help such a person who is new to ministering to others in prayer.
You are not worthy. No one is. However, the experience in CCR is that the Lord works in powerful ways through ‘ordinary’ people. It is his work, not yours, and so there is no place for false humility — your prayers are as good as those of anybody else. He will use you, as weak and sinful as you are. In fact, he only uses those who realise they are sinners.
You are first called to love the person. Put on the mind of Jesus for the person, so that you may be a minister of his healing and empowering love. Without him we can do nothing.
Prepare in prayer before ministering, if possible, abandoning yourself to God’s will so that your will may not cloud your ability to minister in the way God desires. Do not minister alone, if you can avoid it. There is a special power in two or three, and the others will help you to discern God’s will.
Begin to minister by calling on the Holy Spirit to guide you in the prayer. Be open then for the Holy Spirit to show you how to pray, and to give you words of knowledge that may comfort or exhort the person, or may open up new directions for the prayer. A word may require a response, such as forgiveness or repentance, from the person. Above all, be gentle. Remember the motto of the medical profession: Do no harm!
Place you hand on the person only if they agree, and never place your hands heavily on them or otherwise make them uncomfortable. It may be better to place your hand slightly over their head than on it, as it distracts some people. Generally, it is best that the person sit for prayer ministry.
‘Resting in the Spirit’ can be a helpful experience, but it is a gift from God which is given when someone needs it (and only he knows) — it should never be sought, encouraged or expected. A person can ‘rest in the Spirit’ sitting down.
Prayer does not need to be loud for God to hear it. There are times when you may feel it is best to pray in silence. Nevertheless, verbal prayer does help the person feel that their needs are being understood and addressed in prayer.
Don’t minister in a noisy place if you can avoid it. Be sensitive to their need for privacy. Anything you are told in a prayer ministry situation must be treated with the highest confidentiality. If you feel that the matter should be followed up, and others involved, you must obtain the person’s approval before you speak to others about it. The primary rule of prayer ministry is to respect the person.
Pray with your eyes open so that you may know what the person is experiencing. Pause and ask him or her what they are experiencing, as this might give further direction to the prayer.
Pray in tongues, especially if you are searching for words, or are unsure what to pray for.
Your prayers do not need to be long. Often, a short, simple prayer is enough.
Keep your eye on the love of Jesus for the person. Nothing is impossible to God.
Remember that you are not there to give advice, but to minister in prayer. Certainly, you need to listen to the problem (if the person wishes to tell you about it), but there should not be too much talking. If you discern that the person needs professional help, counselling, or longer periods of prayer, conclude the prayer, and arrange for them to see a more experienced minister. This also applies to cases where it may appear that deliverance is necessary. In loving the person like Jesus, there can be no condemnation or judgement. Everyone is broken and wounded, and we all need the healing love of Jesus.
If the person begins to be disturbed and to move physically, there is no need to be afraid, but it may be necessary to postpone the prayer, or to seek help from those who are more experienced. Simply commend them to the protection of Jesus, and gently conclude the prayer. In praying for inner healing, always follow the maxim that a person must not go so deeply into a past hurt that they lose sight of the love of God. When they are ready for the healing, it will occur in the light of the love of God.
If you feel that you have a word of knowledge or word of wisdom, stop the prayer and give them the word, and ask them if the word is meaningful to them.
The person may experience warmth or other sensations during the prayer. However, it is important that the person should not think that God is doing nothing just because they don’t feel anything. Healing can occur without any sensation at all.
Consider using blessed oil, if available.
Begin and conclude with praise and thanksgiving.
Highly recommended for further reading:
5-Minute Miracles: Praying for People with Simplicity and Power by Linda Schubert (New York: Resurrection Press, 1993).