The power of prayer cannot be understated. Many people see their spirits lifted when they call upon their faith for the answers. Praying alone is an effective way of dealing with any issues in your life and sharing them with God. You put your life in His hands and have faith that a solution will come to pass. There's an emotional release that comes with praying, almost as though you cast your problems aside as you know they're being dealt with by God.
The best thing about praying is that it doesn't have to be an individual thing. In fact, the power of prayer is more potent when multiple people pray for the same causes. As a church leader, you can encourage members to pray for different things or people. If a member struggles with an illness, you invite your members to pray together for a swift recovery.
To do this, you need to send out prayer requests. Immediately, you have a few pressing questions:
- What is a prayer request?
- How do you write a prayer request?
- How can you send out prayer requests?
All three of these questions - and more - will be answered in this guide.
What is a prayer request?
Simply put, a prayer request is a call-to-action for members of your church to pray for a collective cause. You've already seen one example above, but another one could be praying for a particular event that recently happened. For instance, if there's a storm or mass flooding, you request prayer for all the people affected, praying that they'll be okay and that the event will pass.
The purpose of prayer requests is to get more people involved in praying. Prayer is more powerful when lots of people are praying for the same things. It's also an excellent way of showing support for other church members. Especially if you're all praying for someone in the church - it makes them feel loved and cared for. As a result, this also builds your community and increases the sense of belonging many people have.
What do you write in a prayer request?
How do you write prayer requests? Firstly, understand that this doesn't have to be a long thing. There's no need to write paragraph after paragraph - it should get to the point and ask for people's support. Generally, prayer requests should follow this simple structure:
- A catchy opening line
- Detailing the problem/prayer focus
- Thanking people for the help
Already, this should help your prayer request take shape. Still, there are plenty of things to consider, so let's dive deeper into what you should write...
The opening line
Think of this as the headline - it's the first thing people see when they view your request, and it needs to catch their attention. This should only be a sentence of two long, and the main focus is on the problem/issue.
The best opening lines will act as a summary of the prayer request. They will be straight to the point, outlining the main reason for your request. Ideally, people should understand the purpose of your prayer request without needing to read anything else. Below, you'll see an example that gives you an idea of what you should write:
- My child is sick. Help me pray for her health.
Here, the focus of your prayer is clear for all to see. Everyone that reads this will figure out why you need their support. It's also an important cause, which encourages more people to pray with you. The headline is short and gets straight to the point, which is precisely what you're looking for.
Briefly expand upon the headline
Next, you should expand upon the first sentence by providing more context. In the above example, you may go on to explain why your child is sick and why you need God's help to heal them. This is the hardest part of the request as you feel inclined to go into great depth. You want to explain all of your fears and worries, encouraging people to help you out.
Realistically, this will have the opposite effect. It may sound harsh, but people don't have the time to read an essay on your life problems. Instead, you need to keep it brief - go into more detail and speak about the key points. You want to communicate your message clearly while also explaining why this means so much to you.
There's no specific word count to adhere to, but our advice is the fewer words, the better. Summarize the issue, putting the headline in more context.
End with some positivity and thanks
In most cases, prayer requests relate to negative scenarios. Essentially, they're a cry for help - you're asking God to support you and make things better. As a result, it's very easy to be negative throughout your request. You're not expected to pose the request as though you're happy about it, but you should avoid giving across a message of doom and gloom.
Again, it sounds harsh, but people are put off by negativity. If you act like you've already given up and have no hope, it drives people away. In contrast, you should end the request with some positive notes. Address the fact that the problem is negatively affecting you, but reflect on it in a positive manner. For instance, say something like this after your description:
While things are tough right now, I'm confident that prayer and the work of God will help us pull through!
This is perfect as you're trying to remain positive by relying on your faith. People will admire this, meaning they're keen to help out and join you in prayer. Negativity suggests you don't have faith, and that's not a good thing at all.
Additionally, you should conclude the request with some words of thanks. One line is all you need - just express your extreme gratitude for any help you are about to receive. It's polite, but it also shows people how grateful you are for their help. This can encourage more people to respond to your request as they realize how much it means to you.
Ironically, the first and last lines of your request are the most important. Yes, the description is vital, but the first line draws people in and summarizes the main issue. It determines if people will actually read on and gain more context. The final line expresses gratitude, which can convince more people to respond. Still, ensure you have all of these elements in your prayer request if you want to see positive responses.
How do you request a prayer?
Once you've learned how to write a prayer request, your next port of call is figuring out how to request it. Where do you send it? How do you get your message out there to as many people as possible?
Realistically, the best option is to use a mass messaging service like Text-Em-All. Our service has many features and an intuitive interface that makes it easy to use. We've helped lots of church leaders send out church requests to entire congregations at the click of a button.
How will mass-messaging work?
Primarily, the idea is that you send out text messages to every member of your church. If you have a prayer request, you compose it in the manner explained above, then click send. The software has all the contact details you need, so everyone receives a message straight away.
Already, you can see the benefit of a system like this. It's a convenient way of spreading the message to as many people as possible. Therefore, you have a higher chance of receiving responses to the request. This is also where the opening sentence becomes more critical. Most smartphones show the first line of a message in the notification preview before someone opens it up. So, a good headline will lead to more people opening the text right away.
That's essentially the gist of how a mass messaging service can send prayer requests. However, there's one other thing to consider: how do you collect prayer requests?
How to get prayer requests from members
As the church leader, you can compose your own prayer requests if you wish. These requests can be linked to specific events or people in the church. You can also send out requests from other members, but how do you receive them?
Some people may come up to you after a service and speak about a problem, asking for your prayers. In which case, you can write out a prayer request for them, sending it through the messaging service. Alternatively, you can have a prayer request form on your website for people to fill in. They write the request, then you take it and send it out. You could also encourage people to text you or send emails with any prayer requests. Regardless, once you have the requests, you can use your messaging service to spread it as far as possible.
There you have it; prayer requests 101. The power of prayer is extremely helpful during troubling times. As such, you must set up a system where members can make requests and have them sent out to the whole church. Then, everyone can come together to pray for the same cause, using faith to unite everyone.
Kaitlyn Orred is the Digital Marketing Specialist at Text-Em-All, a mass texting and automated calling company that provides solutions for small and medium sized businesses, large corporations, membership organizations, community groups, and individuals. She has 7 years of experience in content creation, and you can catch her practicing yoga, curling up with a great book, or hiking with her Mini Aussie, Koda.