Prayer Partnerships, Part 1
Updated: Apr 8, 2021
“Again, I assure you: If two of you on earth agree about any matter that you pray for, it will be done for you by My Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there among them.” Matthew 18:19-20
About 20 years ago, my dear friend Debbie asked if I would like to be a part of the prayer committee for Just Give Me Jesus (JGMJ), an event presented by Anne Graham Lotz’s AnGeL Ministries. I’m pretty sure I said yes without praying about it. At the time I was still fairly young in my faith and eager to please! I’m also pretty sure that I was still really nervous about praying out loud in front of people. But I would close my eyes and say what the Lord brought to mind, include a few paraphrased Bible verses and thought it was adequate. I must have hit on some kind of formula, because within a month or two Debbie announced that she considered me one of the chairpersons of that same prayer committee.
Graciously, God brought some seasoned prayer warriors to the committee as well and we prayed, and pre-prayered for that event weekly over the next 2 years. During that time we asked the Lord for creative ways to connect and pray over every area of our city. And he answered! Under the guidance of AnGeL ministries, and through the Christian network of Tampa Bay, we held several prayer gatherings in local churches in strategic areas of our communities. I honestly was awestruck by the numbers of people I met that longed for and prayed for revival, long before JGMJ arrived on the scene.
It wasn’t long before I was encouraged to contact a local prayer hero, an older lady named Mary E. May. She graciously accepted a phone call from me in mid-2002 and that conversation changed my prayer life, forever.
If my memory serves me well, I believe Ms. May had a prayer network of close to 30 or 40 women. These women prayed every day on the phone for over an hour. They accomplished this miraculous feat on their landline phones through a simple call-waiting feature. Ms. May would call the first two ladies on the prayer chain, then they would each call two more and so on until whoever could join that day was connected. Then they would just pray. Imagine a zoom meeting with no video and everyone talking at once. Yet it worked.
As the official JGMJ prayer committee co-chairperson, I had about 100 questions regarding the process: How did you know what to pray for? Did you share prayer requests beforehand? Did you have a format everyone understood and followed like A.C.T.S? If so, how did you transition with so many people on the line at once?
The more I bombarded Ms. May with questions, the more she turned my questions into prayers: Lord, you are always faithful to tell us what to pray; Lord, you are so gracious to lead us in prayer; Lord, you hear and know what each of us is saying, even if we are all talking at once. Ms. May kept reassuring me- just call the people and pray.
As I hung up the phone on that most unusual meeting, I remember thinking how natural praying was to this kind, older lady. It was like breathing to her. She literally couldn’t talk without praying. But what was most compelling about her was her peace. This calming peace seemed to reach through the phone line and wash over me. I suspect that Ms. May bridged the gap between Heaven and Earth so often, even continually, that the streams of living water truly flowed through her to any and all who had the privilege of speaking with her.
Encouraged by my encounter with Ms. May and with the JGMJ event less than two months away, our little committee asked our prayer warriors to pick a time everyday on the phone to partner with others and pray through our 40-day pre-prayer calendar. And surprisingly they did. Because I was homeschooling my kids at the time, I needed an early start. I asked if anyone wanted to join me at 5:30 AM? Debbie said yes, and so did Heather.
Debbie, I knew well. Our husbands had worked together. Her daughters were babysitters for my kids. She mentored me in my homeschooling journey, and she appointed me as prayer committee co-chair. Heather I just recently met. She came from the other side of the Bay. Heather and her family were well known and admired leaders in and beyond the Tampa Bay area. She was one of the personal friends of Anne Graham Lotz, and she was one of the Chairpersons of the entire team that invited AnGeL Ministries to host the event in Tampa. Debbie was comfortable to me, but Heather was new to me. I was certain she had other, more-important friends to pray with, so I was shocked that she agreed to pray with Debbie and me at 5:30 AM…everyday! I was nervous. But remembering Ms. May’s directive to just pray, I began the prayer calls promptly at 5:30 AM.
Something happened over those next 40 days. We got used to starting our days together, and more comfortable with our rhythm of praying with each other. We were eagerly anticipating the event, but also were engaging with more personal requests. At the end of that 40 Days of Pre-prayer, I’m pretty sure it was Heather who said we can’t stop.
So we continued, but decided to drop it down to once a week. That was 19 years ago. We still pray one morning every week. It has shifted over the years, but currently we meet with one another and our Heavenly Father every Thursday morning at 6:30 AM, their time. We have prayed through multiple moves and seasons. We have prayed while on vacations or in hospital waiting rooms. We have prayed for each other, for our husbands, for our children and grandchildren. We have prayed for our nation and our churches, for elections and for our leaders. We have prayed for our friends and their friends, for our opportunities and through disappointments. The point is we just call and pray.
When we first began our prayer partnership, there were definitely some awkward moments. We tried to follow formats, or pray along specific topics, but now we just talk and pray. Sometimes we manage to prayer talk, like Ms. May did all those years ago, but most times we just share what is on our hearts and take turns praying for each other. I cannot recount the number of times that simply by hearing my friends pray over my concerns with Holy Spirit directed insight, I have felt the all-surpassing peace of God wash over my anxious heart and mind!
I will share more about the absolute joy and blessings of prayer partnering next week. I will also share some tips on how to get started, but today I want to leave you with this simple assignment:
1. Get in a quiet spot. Take a few minutes and a few deep breaths. Invite the Lord to speak to you, to draw near to you, then ask him: “Lord, would I benefit from having regular prayer partners?” Wait for him to answer.
2. If he says yes, then ask this follow up question? ‘Lord, who should I call?” Write down the people he brings to mind. He may give you more than 2 names; trust his answer, even if it surprises you!
3. Read part 2 of this post next week!
But, if you are that over-achieving type, and cannot wait until next week – feel free to leave a comment or send me an e-mail and I can give you a sneak peek at the next steps.