What God Did in Those Seeking Prayer
By Kimberly Reiter
After serving at the Vineyard Missional Leaders Meeting (MLM) for over 10 years in a variety of ways, including the prayer team, the “I can’t believe I get to do this” feeling never wears off. It is such a privilege to serve the men and women who attend this meeting. This year I was able to coordinate all the prayer ministry among other things. There’s a God story of its own there which I will share with you later in Part 3.
Prayer ministry is a very hidden part of the MLM. People sign up for a private 30-minute session with a prayer team of 2-3 people. Year after year, people tell us it is one of the most important parts of their MLM experience.
During MLM week I asked prayer team members what God was doing in the rooms. I wanted to collect the stories to share with the leadership team, so they, too, could see how God was using their labor to reach and transform those who attended.
Surprised By Joy
To sum up a theme God created over the week, I'd simply steal from C.S. Lewis and say Jesus left us "surprised by joy." In previous years the prayer team found themselves most often praying against oppression and depression and other very difficult things. This year was marked by people seeking answers to big question and dealing with fear. As we prayed, they got answers and revelation. We saw them leave the prayer rooms feeling renewed, excited, surprised, and expectant.
From Tuesday morning, right after the first plenary talk given by Mark Fields on Monday night, people were responding to the teaching, which had set the tone for the conference theme: Developing Leaders. [Mark’s main questions were, “What stops leaders from developing other leaders?” and “If you have pulled back from investing in other leaders, would you consider getting back in the game?”].
People in the prayer rooms began to share with us about the encounters they had with others that made them really stop and think about their own leadership issues. In prayer, God revealed to a few leaders that they never got over being injured by leaders who had led them. Over time this made them fear leading and they stopped. They were robbed of creativity and passion for ministry. They left the rooms with joy and a sense of God "making all things new."
We prayed for about five long-time pastors who were coming off the mission field and back into suburban ministry. They had no idea how they were going to adjust, and they were grieving. Most of the time spent in prayer was getting real about their grief and taking it to the Father. There was a release as they left, though they knew it was just the beginning.
We had one person almost incapacitated by neck pain, at about a pain level of ten, who left with no sense of pain. The pain returned the next day about a level 2 and stayed there the rest of the week. We talked with him a week later, and the pain continues to subside.
HLI Next-Gen Prayer
As in previous years, we had the privilege of praying for younger folks who were a part of Vineyard’s Heroic Leadership Institute (HLI). This year, it seemed like we had more young adults than usual show up in our rooms. With such a limited number of spaces for individual prayer, the prayer team set up a prayer time to minister to the whole HLI group at once. Together, we spent 90 minutes praying with them as a group and with individuals, including their director.
God spoke! Revelation regarding identity and calling for HLI members continued. We learned that fully half of the people in the HLI group had severe, unhealed trauma and significant father issues. There was a lot of rejection-related issues and fear for their own safety in the world. God used one of our male prayer team members in proxy ministry, giving those with father issues the opportunity to share their pain and then, standing in for their fathers, he asked for their forgiveness and affirmed them as valuable and loved.
We had an HLI student who was hunched over by pain and had a hard time sitting in a chair. God led her to repent of unforgiveness and resentment. She walked away fully released from her pain and tension. It did not return.
We heard from one student who had received prayer from a prayer team member the year before. He sought out that pray-er to share that God had led him to pray for her husband's salvation all year and he got to watch as his own dad, a man totally shut down, depressed, and avoidant of God, start walking toward Jesus.
One young man who lives with a tremor received the gift of tongues. He got a word that the tremor has been the Holy Spirit chipping away at a hardened exterior to prepare him for the work of a public healing ministry.
At the end of the prayer time the HLI students lined up the girls to pray for the guys and lined up the guys to pray for the girls. They prayed that God would release gifting and reveal calling and a pattern developed. About a third of them sensed a call to working with children in pastoral ministry, and in some cases administrative leadership, in setting up organizations for traumatized kids.
One of the best things that happened this year was watching prayer ministry leave the building! It became a sort of prayer room without walls. Two of our prayer team members working the registration table prayed for nearly every person as they arrived. We had several spontaneous prayer sessions with Glen Eyrie staff members. And, listening to stories during meals prompted a few prayer team members to stop them wherever they were and pray for people on the spot. We are thankful for how God uses extroverts!
I share some more stories of what God was doing in Part 2 <Click Here>.