How To Do A Prayer Booth

What is a Prayer Booth?

 

A Prayer Booth is a public offer of free prayer to anyone in need. It is staffed by a few people from a local Christian church, and is usually located on the street or in a community area. It is an effective means of outreach in the public arena whereby believers can demonstrate love and care for the community. In our setting we put up banners that say “Need Prayer?” on an EZ-up type portable shelter in various locations in the city, such as empty lots on busy streets. Drivers or passers-by stop and ask for prayer. Our goal is that people will experience the love and power of God as we pray for them. It is our experience that they do!

 

 

Check out the 90 second video clip about doing a Prayer Booth:

 

 

 

The Purpose of this guide

 

We want to provide you with the information and tools you need to start a Prayer Booth ministry in your own town or city. We want you to be successful from the start, learning from our victories, as well as our mistakes. We are confident that if you will take the step to offer prayer out in the community, you will see God bless people in tremendous ways, and witness firsthand His Kingdom breaking into this present age.

 

 

What you need

 

  1. A heart to reach out into the community. You will be praying for some people who would never enter a church to get prayer, so it will take some of us out of our comfort zone. This is where Jesus did most of His ministry, so let’s go where He would go.
  2. A location. You want to be out in the community, so the church parking lot is not what we are talking about. If you have church members who own a business locally where there is parking, that might be a place to start. You will need good visibility to traffic for your signs or banners, and a place for cars to pull in and park. Sometimes you can find an empty lot on a busy street to locate your booth. You might be able to obtain permission if you can contact the owner, but often it is easier to just try it out and see if anyone objects (they seldom do, unless it is causing traffic issues). Locations near hospitals are especially good, as you will get some action from the patients and family members. You can also do a Prayer Booth at swap meets, downtown “open markets,” as well as other public events and gatherings. Check with local officials for rules and possible costs (we look for free venues).
  3. Signs or Banners. We use “Need Prayer?” and it seems to work well for us to communicate what we are doing. Some other ideas might be “Free Prayer” or “Get Prayer Here.” Keep it simple and clear. I don’t recommend that you put the name of your church or ministry on the banner. We use a “A” frame “Sempo” sign on the sidewalk in addition to three 2’x8’ banners hanging from a EZ-up that all simply say “Need Prayer?” It is critical to have good “signage,” and this is the most costly part of the Prayer Booth start-up. (We started out cheap with hand-made signs, but found that the professional banners will last for years and look much better). The E-Z up is necessary not only for sign hanging, but to shelter you in sun and rain!
  4. Some folding chairs. Get at least three, preferably with a padded seat (you will be sitting for hours!)
  5. People to pray (and train). You want to recruit people who want to pray for others in the community, or are willing to learn. You don’t need an army, but you do want a few like-minded people who will go with you.
  6. A journal to record the prayer exchanges (more on this later).

 

Guidelines (do’s and don’ts)

 

  1. We are offering (advertising) prayer, so that is what we should do with people. Many who stop for prayer are in crisis, and they are being vulnerable. There is nothing worse that the old “bait and switch,” so we don’t want to use this for any other purpose than our primary objective - prayer. By this we mean that we don’t preach at people when they come, and we don’t see this as an opportunity to recruit them to come to our church. We ask them what they need prayer for and then we pray. If they ask about our church later and want more information we might give them a card (if they are not in a church currently), or if they seem ready to make a decision to follow Christ we would offer to lead them in a prayer of commitment, but we let them indicate their interest. We never push people or pressure them – prayer is the main thing we are about, and we trust that God will reveal Himself through the prayer exchange. After that, we try follow the leading of the Holy Spirit.
  2. Some people want to know who you are and what this is about before they let you pray for them. We usually say something like “We are Christians from (fill in the blank) Church here in town and we are here offering free prayer to anyone in need.” We will then introduce ourselves by name and ask the person’s name. We then would ask “how can we pray for you today?” or “what would you like prayer for?” As they are explaining their story, we are listening to them at the same time we are listening to God. Some people will want to tell you their life story, but you only need a place to start. You want to spend more time praying than talking (with most people you have a 3 to 10 minute window), so get into prayer by saying something like, “OK (say their name), let’s go ahead and pray now – Father, I thank you for (say their name) and for bringing them here for prayer today…”
  3. We usually don’t lay hands on the people we pray for because we want to be sensitive to how they feel about being prayed for out in public. One exception to this might be if you are praying for physical healing, and then you should ask permission first. We train our prayer people to pray with their eyes open so they can observe any response the recipient may have and to see “what the Father is doing.” Most prayers last only a minute or two. We then ask for some feedback from the person being prayed for, such as “what were you experiencing as we were praying?” This helps up evaluate what was happening and may focus us on a new direction of prayer. A decision may need to be made at this point if additional prayer is to be offered. If so, this second round of prayer should be brief. We generally follow the Five Step Healing Model.
  4. We let the person know when they can receive prayer again or give a report of an answer (see section on consistency).

The importance of consistency

 

One of the most critical elements of doing a prayer booth in the community is to do it on a consistent basis. You might have some success doing a one time event, but the real fruit from this ministry is based on being present in the same place at the same time on a regular schedule. We find that a weekly schedule works well, as people remember that you are at a certain location on a specific day of the week (for example, we do the corner of 9th  and Main St. in Corona, California every Thursday from 3:30pm to 6:30pm). People will see you as a regular presence in the community, and that commitment will communicate your earnestness to be a blessing to that community. We have had countless people remark that they had driven past the prayer booth several times on that day of the week (some for months before stopping), and knew they had to stop this time to get prayer. God has been knocking on there heart every time they have gone past. We also see return “customers,” as people come back on future weeks or months to report what God has done or to receive more prayer. The only way that will happen is if you are at the same location at the same time in the future.

 

Prayer Exchange Journal

 

We use a simple journal to record the date and place of the prayer, the name of the person prayed for, and a brief summary of what was requested and prayed, along with any results. This serves several purposes, the most important being that if the person returns at a later date you can see what was prayed (and a reminder of their name!). This also communicates care to the individual, as there is a record of their last visit.

 

Going fishing

 

When people ask about coming out to pray for people at the prayer booth, we always tell them to be prepared to wait. The best analogy is that of going fishing. You usually don’t go fishing for 30 minutes. You spent at least part of a day on a fishing trip! We set up the tent and put out the signs, and then we wait for God to draw the people in for prayer. In a 3 hour session we average between 2 to 6 prayer exchanges, and at times you may wait for over an hour before you get someone. Be prepared to spend some time with “a line in the water” and enjoy the experience (I bring my ukulele and play and sing worship songs as I wait!). Some days you get a few bites, and some you get many. And every once in a while you get to bring in a whopper! (Salvation, major healing, deliverance, etc…).

 

 

Sample Prayer

 

We try and tailor the prayer for the individual based on need and spiritual condition (trying to determine that in a one minute interview is a challenge), yet there are elements of the prayer that remain consistent regardless of who we are praying for. These elements are:

 

1. The love of God for that person.

2. The call of God for them to live in that love.

3. A request that they experience God’s presence in that very moment.

 

If we were praying for Sandra with the request for a job, the prayer might go like this:

 

“Heavenly Father, I thank you for bringing Sandra to the prayer booth today, and giving her the courage to stop and let some people prayer for her. Lord, we ask that you would provide the right job for Sandra and to open a door that no one can shut. I thank you that you care for her so much, and that she is your beloved daughter, whom you love. I ask that she would experience your love and power right now in this place. Give her a greater revelation of your purpose for her life, and let her know you are for her and with her always. I pray this in Jesus name, Amen.”

 

Note – If we have a team ( 2 to 3 is recommended), each can take a turn praying, but we are conscience of keeping it brief. We pray God’s love and power for them regardless of whether they have indicated that they are a follower of Jesus or not. We are dependant on the Holy Spirit to draw them to get prayer, and we are also dependant on Him to reveal the love of the Father.

 

 

The follow-up question

 

This step is critical, and should not be skipped if at all possible! Ask this or a similar question:

 

“What were you experiencing while we were praying for you?”

 

This gives them a chance to put into words the work of the Holy Spirit in that short time we prayed for them (they might not even recognize this as the Holy Spirit!). You will often be surprised by what they report! It can range from simple statements like “I felt peace,” or “it was nice,” to more profound responses like “I felt tremendous heat on my body,” or “It felt like God was here!” Some who have not been followers of Jesus have said things like “I felt God say to me that I need to start listening to Him,” or “Something happened inside me today that I’ve never felt before – I don’t know what it is.”

 

This feedback gives us an insight into what God has been doing in the prayer exchange. We need to be gentle at this point and not be too pushy. As we are led by the Spirit we can lead them to the next step with God (salvation, further healing, referral to a church if they don’t already have one, etc…). This is all done without putting any guilt or “you need to do this” being communicated. They must be willing, and cannot be pushed or coerced.

We also invite them to come back in the future (the importance of consistency) to report what God has been doing in their lives, or to get more prayer. They will often bring friends or family members in the weeks to come. This return serves to not only encourage us a pray-ers, but gives the recipients the opportunity to exercise the gift of thankfulness and gratitude.

 

 

Physical Healing

 

God wants to demonstrate his love and power through healing the sick. We have learned as we have prayed for more and more people to ask them if they have any physical or medical issues that we can pray for. Even if they have come to ask for some other prayer (a job, a crisis, or even to pray that their car pass the smog check!), we often ask if we can pray for any physical healing. This seems to be even more effective with those who are not yet following Jesus. A short, specific prayer for healing can often result in tremendous results. It just seems that there is a great anointing for healing on the streets! We have lately seen cancer healed, severe arthritis removed, and several back injuries fully restored, and that is just the tip of the iceberg. Ask people who come in if you can pray for physical healing (even if you don’t feel gifted in this area), and you will be surprised with what God wants to do. Go for it!

 

 

Summary

 

A Prayer Booth is a simple, yet profound way to do an outreach in your community. It is one of the many creative ways that God is giving the church to bring His love and power into the streets and the marketplace. Imagine the possibility of seeing hundreds of “Need Prayer?” booths in cities and towns across the nation and all over the world! What might God do if we follow Him by offering simple yet powerful prayer in this way? We have seen tremendous fruit in just the three locations we have going from our little church out in the cities. Is God calling you to take a risk and do this too? We can say with confidence that if you persevere you will see the Kingdom of God break in with love and power, as lives are changed, healed, and set free. In the famous line from The Water Boy, “You can do it!”

 

Contact Us

 

If you are doing a prayer booth, or are thinking of starting one up, please let us know! We would love to hear what God is doing, and would be encouraged to hear that you looked at this guide (hopefully it helped). If you have questions or comments as well, please drop us a line.

 

Visit our Facebook Page at http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/NeedPrayerBooth

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