Prayer Ministry Spotlight
By: Julie Bell
Though I’ve attended Hope since it started in 1998, I had never been a regular part of the prayer team until January, 2021. Around that time, I’d found myself longing to join with my Hope brothers and sisters to pray for our church as a whole, and for our leaders, particularly in a world and church filled with such division and strife. I reached out to Sue and John Spainhour, who have faithfully led this team for many years, and in no time I received an email about getting involved.
The prayer team meets almost every Monday night at the church, either by the playground or in the conference room upstairs. The leaders provide a printed sheet of prayers submitted through the website, prayer cards, and emails. First, we briefly share any requests and praises we want to add to the list, then we just take turns praying over every item until it’s done.
I’ve been so personally blessed by being a part of this ministry! First of all, it is such a gift that church members would entrust us with their concerns, their needs, and their gratitude. I am touched by this every time I see a new request submitted. And what a beautiful thing to be able to see God at work over time: I’ve seen Him answer prayers for safe pregnancies, deliveries, and adoptions. I’ve also seen his faithfulness to comfort those who have experienced painful losses. He’s heard and answered our prayers for new jobs, new homes, new non-profit ventures, moves, college decisions, and healing from surgery and illness.
Of course, we also see the requests that come week after week, the faithful cries of those who have not yet received what was asked. My own faith deepens as I join them in waiting on God for his work in his timing. There are others who reach out nearly every single week with detailed, specific needs and hopes. Their faith and their vulnerability is encouraging to me.
One of my favorite things is receiving prayer requests from the children of the church. What a delight! I had never considered this particular joy when committing to “assist the parents in the Christian nurture” of our children. How lovely hear these children asking for prayer for their own parents: for healing, for protection, and even for faith.
On a more personal note, when I first started praying with this team, I was going through a difficult season with an elderly friend who had no family nearby, and needed assisted living care. The prayer team came alongside me all through the process of difficult decisions, legal action, communication, and details of her move. I am deeply thankful for the team, for the tangible help given by church members, and for God’s miraculous answers to these very specific prayers.
And yes, I have also seen Him answering the prayers that drew me to participate in this team in the first place. He’s heard our cries for wisdom, and for unity in our body even where there is disagreement. He has truly blessed our pastors and staff as they have all navigated a difficult season. I’ve observed a remarkable willingness to listen, and to protect peace in a time where division is the norm. I’ve seen leaders and members boldly enter into in this messy stuff of life, in a way that brings flourishing to our community. We’ve even seen him raise up new leaders to help us. These are all answers to prayer.
Of course, there are also places where we still cry out to the Lord, wondering what is He doing? How long must we wait? How can such suffering go on? But we wait for Him together, encouraging one another, strengthening faith and our bonds of fellowship. Never did I envision how dear these friendships would become to me, as we’ve gotten to know one another over time, in a way not possible on Sunday mornings. Through this team I’ve been able to watch God work in their lives, and share my own stories of his faithfulness with them.
Want to join our team?
The prayer team meets on Monday nights from 7 to 8 pm at the church, and there’s also a virtual option. No need to commit to coming every week, we welcome you to join us as often as you are able. Interested? Contact leaders Sue and John Spainhour at email@example.com.