There is a fellowship of churches in New Zealand called the Christian Community Churches of New Zealand. Their tagline is “working together to take the good news back to New Zealand.” It is always great to see churches work together for the advancement of the Kingdom of God.
I know little of the structure of this fellowship, but I did note in their publication that they have someone spearheading church planting — “helping churches plant new churches.” There is also a PastorLink committed to “growing a network of pastors supporting pastors.” Among the other nine key roles is a prayer leader to “support churches and ministries in a flourishing prayer life.”
It is encouraging to note that more and more churches and organizations are realizing that we cannot advance the Kingdom apart from prayer. One of the churches in the fellowship has found a way of connecting generations through prayer. They have people — Prayer Guardians — specifically praying by name for younger people in the church. Children from nursery to teens are covered in prayer.
When Prayer Guardians sign up, they are given the name, age, and gender of the child or children they will cover in prayer. The Prayer Guardians commit to pray at least once per week. Encouragingly, they have teens who have signed up to pray for younger children. A number of the children and youth being covered in prayer do not have family members who attend the church.
While it sounds quite simple, the impact is immeasurable. Some of those children would likely have no one to pray for them if not for these Prayer Guardians. Your church may already have a system for ensuring that your children and youth are covered in prayer. If not, this model is a simple strategy.
Although she wasn’t called a Prayer Guardian, there was an elderly lady in my home church who prayed for me regularly from the time I was in junior high school (and perhaps before) until after I entered ministry and she went home to be with Jesus. I have always been thankful for this saint’s faithfulness in prayer for me.
Note that not everyone is called to this kind of ministry. But be grateful for those who are. Empower the prayer warriors by giving them people they can pray for and even suggesting specific ways to pray. How many future Christian leaders, full of potential, are in your church who might be derailed without someone praying for them? How many young people might sense the call to ministry earlier in their career planning if they had someone praying for them?
How many children and young people are regularly abused or bullied who might be spared all of that if they have faithful people praying for them? I love the idea of Prayer Guardians — men and women who will stand in the gap for the next generation.