The Women’s Ministry Council had another great training event on the value and importance of integrating Prayer and Worship into your Women’s Ministry Programs.
We would like to thank P&R Publishing for their donation of Susan Hunt’s Prayers of the Bible Study and Leader Guide, for each woman in attendance. Additional thanks to The Good Book Company, who donated copies of 5 Things to Pray for Your Church. Table Talk Magazine (from Lingonier Ministries) also donated copies of their back issue on Worship Matters. Moody Publishing provided our women with sample chapters from two newly released studies I am Found and An Unexplainable Life. Crossway sent our women sample chapters from their book Praying Together . Talk about a great group of resources for our leaders and their teams!
If your Women’s Ministry is looking to partner up with some ministries, for the first time at a council meeting we highlighted two ministries that are doing great things in the world! The first is The Freedom Challenge, which works to free women and children from sex trafficking, sex slave industry. If you have women in your ministry who love physical challenges and have a heart for these women, be sure to look into this great ministry. However, if your women have a heart for children in impoverished nations… One Child Matters is a ministry that opens up the doors to sponsor children, have missions trips to their development centers, and impacts the communities abroad as well as in our church. Both of these ministries were featured in our July and August Ministry Spotlight articles.
Now for the meeting recap, in case you missed it….
Our first speaker, Sheila Thompson, addressed the importance of including Worship as an intentional part of our Women’s Ministry events. While worship can be defined in various ways, Sheila (who has a music background and credentials) talked specifically about the musical forms of worship. Highlighting scriptures that reference of song and musical instruments as worship, Sheila was able to provide us with the biblical foundations of this style of worship. However, Sheila dug deeper and covered the physical, mental, and health benefits of singing. The Lord is so good to give us an act of worship that helps us in not only spiritual ways… but our bodies and minds.
Sheila shared how in the scriptures (and it is referenced over 63 times) that music is a posture of worship to the Lord, a weapon in battle, invites the power of the Lord into our lives as we praise, and that the Lord even sings over us (Zephaniah 3:17). We discovered how many of our worship songs are rooted and sometimes directly quoted from the scriptures to provide us strength, encouragement, hope, and trust in the Lord … as well as, songs of praise and thanksgiving.
In our Women’s Ministry events, Sheila pointed out that by starting out our events with a few praise songs… we are setting the tone for the event. Women are able to surrender and let go of all the junk they came in with. They are preparing their hearts and minds to receive the word the Lord has for them. They are in a better mood going out than they were coming in. These songs stick with us as we move through the day, and we find ourselves returning to them. Additionally, there are times where despite the troubles and the trials we are going through, we can choose to sing in victory!
Integrating worship into your Women’s Ministry program can start with simple steps… such as including Worship songs as part of your Women’s Brunch or even at the beginning of your small group sessions with a song or two. One of our council women spoke up and shared how they conclude their meetings with a song, so the women leave on a note of praise & hope. As a Women’s Ministry Leader, you can take this even a step further by planning Christian Concerts into your calendar by either attending local concert events OR by hosting a night of Worship at your own church.
Our second speaker, Gena McCown, addressed the importance of having a posture of prayer and fostering a solid prayer life among the women in our churches. Gena began by pointing out the relationship between singing and praying. As we look to the Psalms and other areas of scriptures we see many prayers were lifted up by the body in the form of song. There are numerous references in the scriptures about our call to prayer, why we pray, what we pray for, and how we are to pray.
The call to pray is marked as something we are to do continuously, without ceasing. Prayer is not an occasional thing we do when we need something from God, but a regular habit. As ministry leaders we model this posture of prayer for the women in our churches, but we are also put into a position to teach people how to pray. Some are gifted by the Holy Spirit with the gift of prayer, others need to be helped along the way. Even the disciples asked Jesus, “How do we pray?”.
The scriptures tell us that men ought always to pray (Luke 18:1) with thanksgiving (Colossians 4:2), without fear or doubting (1 Timothy 2:8) and calling on Him in truth (Psalm 145:18). We pray to seek Him, in our distress, to seek provision, for healing, in confession, seeking forgiveness, and in thanksgiving and praise. It is part of our daily habit, without ceasing (Luke 6:12, Colossians 4:2, 1 Thessalonians 5:17).
How do we pray? We can use the scriptures, such as The Lord’s Prayer or the Psalms. We can allow the scriptures to inspire our personal prayers, use our own words voiced outloud or written down, and we pray even when we can’t find the words. Romans 8:26 reminds us that through the Holy Spirit the Lord hears our groaning. We are praying in our lengthy conversation with the Lord, or when we simply cry out “Oh, God!”.
As leaders we model prayer when we use it at the start, ending, or even in the midst of our events and small group studies. We model it when we stop what we are doing to pray for someone on the spot vs. telling them we will pray for them later and adding it to our list. We pray and share those prayers within notes of encouragements, a quick text that says the Lord put you on my heart today and I wanted you to know I was praying for you, and when we specifically ask people how we can pray for them.
We foster prayer life among our women, when they hear our prayers. When we start off our leadership meetings praying for the church leaders and our communities. We set the example, but we also teach. Include a small group on how to pray, or invite one of your prayer warrior women to lead a prayer ministry in your church. Have a workshop series on different prayer methods and habits, invite a speaker for your next brunch that will guide your women to a posture of prayer. As it becomes a more common practice in your Women’s Ministry leadership team, it will spread to the women in the church, and into our communities.
We must also be willing to share our testimony on prayers, so that women not only understand how we pray… but how the Lord responds to those prayers. We share our answered prayers, praising God. We share our unanswered prayers, trusting God. We share the prayers that were not answered how we expected or hoped, acknowledging His ways being better than our own.
Finally, it is important to create an environment of trust and authenticity among the women. As we share our prayer requests, they begin to see that we as leaders have struggles to. We have unanswered prayers, we seek His will and favor, we pray without ceasing for our prodigals to return… our husbands to find Jesus… our addictions to be healed… and our good news too! In our vulnerability, they will find authenticity… and then our anonymous prayer requests will begin to disappear and a community of sisters walking in faith, praying for one another will begin to form.