Skip to main content

This is a great discussion on "listening prayer!" and long overdue. It seems to be a subject we have unfortunately shied away from for a whole variety of reasons - some theological, some simply practical.

When we listen to God, and "hear/listen/know his voice" (John 10:2,4,16), and then obey what he says, the testimonies are incredible. Thanks for sharing a few of your stories - they provide encouragement for us as we listen...

I am also excited about Moses' (Chung) leadership at Home Missions - he is God's answer to many prayers. Prayers continue that God will use him to bring a renewed passion and commitment to prayer throughout our denomination (and nations). And God is now using him to raise up a discussion on "Listening Prayer!"

The four best books I've encountered on the subject of listening prayer are:

1) Hearing God: Developing a Conversational Relationship with God. Dallas Willard (IVP. 1984); This is probably the classic book on listening prayer.

2) Whole Prayer, (Zondervan. 1998), by Walter Wangerin, a Lutheran pastor, underscores that (whole) "prayer"  really requires both talking and listening. Much/Most/All(?) of our praying emphasizes the talking part of the conversation; i.e., most of our praying is simply like leaving a message on God's answering machine.

3) Ted Kalleman has a wonderful little book entitled, "Stark Raving Obedience,"  underscoring his experience and growth in listening prayer, Ted underscores the (obvious?) imperative that if we hear God speak we are required to obey. (This may be one of the reasons listening prayer a low priority for many!)

4) Can You Hear Me? Brad Jersak (Fresh Wind Press. 2003). While very helpful, this should be read carefully through "Reformed glasses" (actually, all the above books should be read carefully through "Reformed glasses.") The blessing for Bev (S) is that he is in your neighborhood (just across the border in Abbotsford at Fresh Wind Christian Fellowship - at least last I checked) and he provides periodic teaching/conferences on listening prayer. He also a a children's version designed to introduce listen prayer to elementry school children.


Thank you for sharing with us your excitment for and the blessings of the Light of the World Prayer Center in Bellingham. When I was at the Denominational Prayer Leaders Network in January, Dr. Alvin Vander Griend shared similar excitement for the vision and impact this ministry is having! God is being lifted up!

Luke 18 is also one of my favorite prayer passages; I find the question in the 8th verse to be most challenging: "When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?" Faith is integrally linked to prayer.  

I am encouraged by your passion and will pray that it is contagious throughout the Pacific Northwest...and may God bless the LOWPC, those who participate, and those who are being prayed for! And please feel free to share more of what God is doing through the center.


The position of classical prayer leader/coordinator/mobilizer has come to be increasingly important in encouraging prayer - not only at the classical level, but also in the churches of classis.

The website provides a sample job description for this position, but classes have generally formulated their own to meet specific needs and interests of their classis/churches.

The Classical Renewal Team put a binder together a few years ago (one was sent to each classis) containing materials and resources for classical prayer coordinators, and although the binder is not longer available, the contents should still be available on the web - or we can email you a copy.

If you have any specific questions about the role or opportunities, you can talk with your regional leadership team (many have a prayer leader on them) and/or let me know how I can help.

I'll pray that God will raise up a new classical prayer leader in your classis!



Sorry, but I am not aware on an entire service (I've participated in services where this has been being included) dedicated to this theme but it sounds like a wonderful idea. Our Father loves his "Prodigal Son(s)"  and longs for them to come home! (Luke 15!)

I agree that it must be handled wisely and sensitively - and I have a few suggestions. 

I would suggest that the only names mentioned (prayed for) publicly are those submitted in advance by members of the immediate family (e.g. parents could submit the name of their prodigal son/daughter, a wife her prodigal husband). I would not take requests from the congregation during the service. I would share the minimal amount of information necessary about these prodigals in order to pray effectively. For these requests, I would encourage the family of the one being prayed for to be surrounded by the congregation (perhaps even laying on hands) and have (a few) pre-designated people offer prayers (e.g. the pastor, their elder, a close friend or two, a family member, etc.). Set aside sufficient time. Prayers should be positive and encouraging - i.e., with the emphasis on their "coming home!"

I would also provide a time during the service where people (with a burden for a prodigal they might not want to make public or it would be inappropriate for them to make public) could approach a prayer team (I would have 2-4 teams available in the back and/or front of the worship space - I often recommend couples) and personally and confidentially share their request with the team. The "team" would then pray for their son, daughter, parent, spouse, grandchild...  When we have done this we have sometimes had very soft music playing and/or silence. If this time is extended, you might want to break it up with a song or two. We have placed items for members of the congregation to pray about on the screen or a small handout.

A short meditation on the parable of the prodigal (or another appropriate) passage emphasizing how God loves to welcome his children home...might be included.

Songs of God's faithfulness and love would be most appropriate.

I would include the reading of some of passages of God's promises/assurances/love - perhaps asking the families who have been interceding for a prodigal family member what passages have been helpful to them.

I also believe that you need to follow up on this worship service. The prodigals prayed for need to be continually prayed for. When the prodigal "comes home" a celebration needs to follow - including prayers of thanksgiving for God's faithfulness.

God will honor and answer prayers for his children!

And it would be great if you'd be willing to share your service with "us" as an encouragement for other congregations.



It was encouraging to read about your "healing prayer" ministry at New Life. No doubt over the five years you have been involved and invested in this ministry, God has been faithful in answering your prayers.

I'd be interested in hearing more about your "start and end of year" retreats. Is this an overnight retreat? What does your format/agenda look like? Does it involve teaching and praying? Does this mean your healing prayer team takes a break over the summer?

Do you require people to be present in order to pray for them? Do you anoint them with oil (James 5:15)? Do people also submit their prayers requests? Do you make hospital/home visits? Do you share God's answers to your prayers with your congregation?

I share your passion - Jake - not only to intercede for those who are suffering and ill; but to begin to develop "a culture" of inter-generational prayer and intercession in our churches.

Again, thanks for sharing what's going on at New Life - hopefully your willingness to share will be a catalyst for more pastors/prayer leaders/intercessors to share what God is doing in their churches...





Thank you for your very thorough answers. I am praying people who read them will be encouraged to ask God about starting a "healing prayer ministry" in their church.

God began to stir a passion for prayer in me over twenty years ago when I was working on my doctrinal studies at Fuller Seminary. The very first class I took - providentially - was "Spirituality and Ministry" taught by Roberta Hestenes. A great course. A wonderful professor. We spent some extended time at a Benedictine monastery and my life/ministry hasn't been the same since. A few years after completing my study, CR Home Missions asked if I'd take on the part-time challenge of mobilizing our churches to prayer - particularly for the lost and the harvest (incl. church plants and planters) and God has been watering and nurturing my passion ever since. The vision continues to grow - not only, in my estimation, is prayer the primary work of the church ("My church shall be called a 'house of prayer'"), but it is the/a essential element in a believers growing relationship with their Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Healing Prayer is a very "tender" subject in many churches - in many ways because it is often misunderstood. So sadly, some churches who have attempted to initiate such a ministry have found themselves in intense (theological) discussion and sometimes even conflict. At the same time, it is a ministry sanctioned by Scripture (cf. james 5) and integral to the pastoral ministry of a congregation.

At Calvary, we have a prayer meeting which meets weekly about 48 weeks of the year. Our (small) group of intercessors (anywhere from 4-12) assemble to intercede in many ways like you do - including laying on of hands, anointing with oil. We have, on occasion, made our regular evening worship service a  "healing prayer services"  with prayer teams located throughout the worship center. We have also send "healing prayer teams" to hospitals and nursing homes. While God has not always answered these prayers with dramatic physical healings, God has always heard our prayers and always made his presence known through comfort, encouragement, relief from pain, etc.

It is easy for me to get on a "soap box" and get passionate about this...but churches that pursued a "healing prayer ministry" slowly/carefully and prayerfully have experienced God's rich blessings.

By "intergenerational" I simply meaning praying today with children, teenagers, young adults, and people in their 30s-90's. Prayer becomes especially meaningful, again in my estimation, when grandparents, parents and children are all praying together. It is a wonderful - and very effective - way for the next generation to learn to pray. When parents take prayer "seriously" - their children tend to take prayer seriously as well.

Love the dialogue...

Keep praying,




Glad to have you joining our discussion. I would agree that "intercession" is a less threatening term - but it is also less focused term. Intercessory prayer covers a wide variety of subjects --for example prayers for revival, protection, guidance/discernment, salvation, blessing/favor (to name just a few). "Healing prayer" is a specific form of intercessory prayer.

And while the call to pray for healing is very Biblical, the term "healing prayer" may bring to mind abuses of "faith healers" who pray and instantaneously everyone they touch/pray for is healed. So, when we talk about healing prayer  - especially in a Reformed context - we should make sure (hence the adjectives "slowly and carefully") we are clear what we are talking about. The "healing power" is not found in the intercessor or in the prayer itself (or some formula) but in the recipient of our prayers - God.  God provides the healing.

And we need to understand, sometimes God decides to heal instantly. Sometimes God heals over an extended period of time. Sometimes God provides limited healing. Sometimes God decides the physical or emotional healing will be reserved for future time. The decision/healing is always God's - and his decision is based on his glory, his kingdom's coming, and for our (eternal) good.

While I would encourage moving slowly (so people feel comfortable praying healing prayers for others and having others pray for their healing), carefully (teaching people what is "behind" the prayers), and prayerfully (we should be doing it in God's timing and as he leads - not because its on our agenda), initiating a "healing prayer" ministry should seriously be considered by every congregation. James 5 outlines the invitation and procedure. Jesus reminds us of the importance of "asking" so we can "receive."

So I would recommend the following steps - although not in any particular order

1. Begin praying (personally and corporately) about beginning a prayer ministry in your church. Listen and follow his leading.

2. Talk about introducing a healing prayer ministry at the consistory/council level

3. Study the subject Biblically (and theologically)

4. Talk to other pastors in your community who have a healing prayer ministry

5. Preach on passages of praying for healing

6. Pray for healing in the "prayers of the people" ("congregational prayer")

7. Invite people to come to receive prayer at your weekly prayer meeting

8. Train a few teams to visit the nursing homes, hospitals, homes (etc) to pray for those who are sick

9. Hold a worship service with an emphasis on healing prayer (message, explanation, prayer teams, etc); then invite people to provide feedback

10. Encourage people at each service to visit the prayer room following the worship service to receive prayer for healing.

The list is not exhaustive. But it should be enough to spark a discussion and get pastors, intercessors, prayer teams, congregational leaders to start thinking about a healing prayer ministry.




We want to hear from you.

Connect to The Network and add your own question, blog, resource, or job.

Add Your Post