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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The Prayer Station



My wife Carolyn and I recently had the privileged of again doing a Prayer Station ministry. This is a specific place of prayer, with a sign to that effect, where trained intercessors pray for the varied needs of persons coming to the area. Last weekend, Carolyn and I, with others assisting at various times, prayed over a half dozen people for varied needs. These included two serious illnesses (ALS), and a lung problem - as in needing a lung transplant, and other less dramatic, but necessary needs, as  for better employment, etc.
The Prayer Station was part of an an outreach of Faith Point Church, where I assist as healing and education minister. We ministered in conjunction with two other churches, El Forro, and Dayspring Church, both of Canton. The “target” was a cluster of apartments for low income women and their children. The idea of the complex is not only to give these women a safe place to stay (it’s a gated community), but also support groups, counseling and job training help.
The outreach included great singing by folks from all three churches. The  Hispanic church, El Forro, made up of mostly Guatemalans, supplied a small choir. The group is shown below:



There was free food, cooked and served by our Faith Point team, an evangelistic sermon, and games and face painting for the kids, all of which are normal for events like this.  Part of out Faith Point team shown below:

History of the Prayer Station:
The Lord led me to establish what I believe was the first prayer station ever back in the 1980s. I was the conviener (chairperson) of a local OSL (Order of St. Luke) at St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church in North Atlanta. The OSL is a group that is dedicated to spreading the ministry of healing among all Christian churches. It was founded in the 1930s, when healing was definitely not “mainline,” and, in fact, was mostly practiced by the “crazy” Pentecostals. (Thankfully times have changed).
At St. Patrick’s the OSL chapter consisted of a half dozen or so regulars. Over the years they had developed into very effective prayer intercessors.  We were in charge of the healing ministry of the Church. This normally meant Sunday service with several teams of intercessors posted to the side of the altar where those in need of prayer went after receiving Holy Communion. It was a very effective way of ministering healing prayer to the congregation, and something that is now quite common.
About that time I read John Wimbers classic work, Power Evangelism (New York: Harper Collins, 1986). He suggested that healing/deliverance prayer should be brought to the marketplace where it would sever as witness to the Gospel. A great idea - to do stuff just like in the Book of Acts! I asked the Lord to show me how our OSL group could do just that. I got the idea of a "Prayer Station."  I repainted a discarded real estate sign, and with an OSL team set up our first prayer station at Little Five Points in downtown Atlanta. It was at a busy pedestrian and tourist crossroads, with all sorts of New Age book shops nearby.  The full story of how we got it going, and the healings that took place, are told in the original article in Acts 29 of May, 1988. It is reproduced at the bottom of this blog.
We had two wonderful summer-to-fall Prayer Station ministries  (Saturday afternoons) in “Little Five Points." The third year was a flop. The great TV scandals of the late 1980s hit. Most of the folks in the area were convinced all Christians were hypocrites, and they no longer came for prayer. In conscience, I could not ask my volunteers to sacrifice their Saturdays (and precious family time) to pray for one or two persons.

Further Prayer Station Events 
Carolyn and I left St. Patrick’s a little after, as the rector began to go into liberal theology and practice. After I was ordained in 2000, I then pastored a Hispanic church for seven years. However, I never managed to get an effective Prayer Station ministry  going. But not for lack of trying. Our Hispanic church tried several times at a local strip mall, but the pedestrian traffic was not sufficient to make it a worthwhile ministry. People would not walk further than the next store to come to us.  
Next we tried a flea market, and actually got a free stall. It worked well for two weeks - shady, great food next door, etc., and sufficient traffic and prayer interest.  But Ol’ Scratch engineered an end to it. The fire department closed the market down because it had been established over an old waste disposal area and was leaking methane gas which could explode.
We did have one very good Prayer Station event several years ago. It was staffed by another local OSL chapter. We chose a location at the edge of a park where the city of Marietta was having a free concert. The people had to walk to it and by us. Great! If you do this ministry it is a good idea to attach it to some such public event.
Actually, getting the right location is a major issue in establishing this ministry. Americans are no longer “pedestrians.” They drive to where they go, and it is difficult to get a just right public place that has pedestrian traffic. As we discovered, it can be effective in certain settings.

The YWAM Prayer Stations:
Apparently someone at YWAM saw the article in Acts 29 and that organization began doing Prayer Station outreaches at various times. Most famously, was there effort to pray for and comfort New Yorkers  immediately after the 9/11 attack.
Currently YWAM has a website for their prayer station and even offers a Pray station kit for sale, HERE. They do it a little different from ours, but I won’t quibble.

Below is a picture of a YWAM Prayer Station



The idea of  a ministry apron identifying the intercessor is a great idea. At the original Payer Station we had small name tags that said "OSL Prayer Intercessor." The core is to have a “spot" for prayer that is public, and staff it with trained intercessors, and then watch what the Lord will do!

If your church is a bit shy about starting such an unusual ministry, I will be happy to come and do a workshop on it for your group.
PS. Having intercessors trained in the “Hunter Method” of command prayer is especially helpful. It often leads to rapid and dramatic healings, especially on back problems. See my earlier blog posting on this amazing way to do healing ministry HERE

If you or your church have ever done a Prayer Station, we would love to hear about it.


Addendum: 

Note that  Faith Point Church fell apart due to the immaturity of its pastor - things like that happen, so sorry. 

Here is a variety of the prayer station done in a restaurant: HERE

Here is an expensive, but very useful prayer station sign. HERE

On Saturday, 10/19/13,  the Rev. Allen Payton invited me to bring my prayer station sign and spend a few hours in front of a local BBQ place in the “Pittsburgh” neighborhood of Atlanta. It is a poor neighborhood, with many vacant houses. We had a great time and prayed for half a dozen people, and finished by eating a great BBQ lunch. Do likewise! (I mean the prayer station, but it is OK to finish off with a great lunch).










Announcement:

The noted Pentecostal scholar Dr. Jon Ruthven wrote a very positive review of my latest book, Agnes Sanford and Her Companions: The Assault on Cessationism and the Coming of the Charismatic Renewal. You can access it HERE.




The book may be purchased on Amazon, either print or inexpensive Kindle HERE You can purchase the print version at a discount from the publisher HERE

My wife has written a funny and inspiring story of how she transited from a cessionist and Baptist to a Spirit-filled Believer. The book has many stories of our three decades of ministry together.  It may be purchased HERE.

Watching God Work: The Stuff of Miracles by [DeArteaga, Carolyn Koontz]