History of the Fellowship of Prayer Strategists
The Fellowship of Prayer Strategists is an informal fellowship of 400+ like-minded people . We believe prayer is the indispensable key to the unfinished task. The Lord has been calling people of prayer to model and assist others in cultivating conversational relationships with God and to ignite movements to Christ based on extraordinary prayer and intimacy with Him. The Fellowship of Prayer Strategists is a bridge between prayer coordinators who share this calling. As a fellowship, we believe in iron sharpening iron… we share tools and learn from each other. The emerging role of the ‘prayer strategist’ links passion for and practice of prayer and connection to prayer movements and networks with strategic field efforts to catalyze cascading movements to Christ. We could be defined as a relational, horizontal, peer community of practice! We all want to grow closer to the Lord and learn from each other. We are more than just a resource… we are a community to pray with and learn from.
The Fellowship of Prayer Strategists developed through relationships created between intercessors as they supported the Ethnê Movement’s conferences and other ministry gatherings. Various intercessors frequently met in the prayer room serving various networks, organizations, and teams. The recognition of the importance of prayer was increasing and demand for people to serve in such roles growing, but they realized that they did not have a forum in which to meet with one another and learn from each other. Few if any resources were available to guide the development of prayer strategists serving such groups.
The first separate Prayer Strategists gathering was held in 2014 outside of Dallas, Texas with about 40 people in attendance. Various participants shared about different roles in prayer and prayer strategies from their own experiences. The group determined that they should collect the stories and additional prayer material to encourage and strengthen younger intercessors and others moving into similar roles with other groups. They also agreed to meet in years outside of the Ethnê gatherings for encouragement and training. Participants were encouraged to write and publish more widely about the role of the prayer strategist and prayer strategies, particularly as they serve missions among the unreached people groups.
Since that first meeting, the Fellowship of Prayer Strategists website was developed as a library of resources. Additional meetings were held in 2015, 2017, 2018 and 2019 expanding the resources and network. In 2017, an additional meeting was held to develop the basic prayer training materials using Discovery Bible Study principles used among Disciple Making and Church Planting Movement practitioners and based on Scripture. The 2019 meeting was held in conjunction with the International Partnering Associates meeting, to provide training in good partnering principles alongside sharing more about the role of prayer strategist and prayer strategies..
Currently, the Fellowship of Prayer Strategists provides training and coaching for those interested in developing prayer skills and strategies, and provides a platform for fellowship and encouragement for intercessors focused on serving those networks, organizations, and teams reaching the unreached peoples.
What is a Fellowship of Prayer Strategists?
We believe prayer is the ‘indispensable key to the unfinished task’ among the ‘Forgotten Fourth World’– the one-fourth of the world with little access to the gospel.
Unquestionably… God has impressed this burden of prayer upon us as the Body of Christ. He has been growing a global prayer movement for decades now. The Lord has been calling people of prayer to model and assist others in cultivating conversational relationships with God and to ignite movements to Christ based on extraordinary prayer and intimacy with Him. This urgent necessity quickly became obvious, not only to survive, but to see fruit flourishing in these mostly hostile environments. In the course of pursuing loving obedience to His call, major prayer innovations have been and are being birthed. One of these seems to be the emerging role of the ‘prayer strategist’ that links passion for and practice of prayer and connection to prayer movements and networks with strategic field efforts to catalyze cascading movements to Christ.
The ‘prayer strategist’ has a posture of servanthood, supporting others in the Body of Christ. Think of the person sitting in the crow’s nest of a great ship, watching the horizon and advising the helmsman of events and circumstances beyond his awareness. It is a position of influence more than a position of authority. Using the analogy of constructing a building, someone needs to be watchful to make sure that all the components have been fit together according to the architect’s design. The prayer strategist, along with his or her teammates, would watch for any gaps, challenges or opportunities that emerge in that ministry so they can be appropriately addressed in prayer and action.
1 Chronicles 12:32 speaks of the men of Issachar who understood the times and knew what needed to be done; these people might be representative of ‘prayer strategists.’ Nehemiah is another example. Nehemiah interceded about the broken down walls of Jerusalem and he gained favor with the king, permission and resources, mobilized teams to do the actual work, and oversaw the completion of the project. Prayer was the way he received a strategy and was integral to the project’s success. In the New Testament, Barnabas was an encourager, connector and prophetic intercessor for in the spread of the Early Church. He brought Saul into relationship with the apostles and served alongside Paul in pioneering new work for the gospel. He was an another example of this same function in the Body of Christ.
What kinds of prayer strategies should be a part of the effort to see the advance of the gospel among the unreached?
- Prayer as conversation and intimacy with God is foundational to igniting movements to Christ, both for individuals and for teams.
- Fasting prioritizes the best things for His glory and kingdom.
- Prayer mobilization, training and team building facilitate God’s manifest presence and our cooperation. Love and unity demonstrate the truth of our testimony, but are impossible without abundant prayer.
- Prayerful End-visioning is using reverse problem solving to form your strategy to take Christ to your people group.
- Worship is both a form of prayer and a form of spiritual warfare. We draw near to God and He reveals to us the strategies of Heaven and empowers us to release His kingdom on earth as in heaven. Establishing permanent lighthouses of continuous prayer and worship creates beachheads for the kingdom of God.
- Personal restoration and transformation ministries, healing and deliverance ministries, conflict resolution, all grounded and guided through prayer, help us access Jesus’ abundant life. Often, signs and wonders also result.
- “Representational confession” or “identificational repentance” makes reconciliation and renewal possible for families, churches, communities, tribes and nations. God wants to direct us in prayerful action to be part of releasing breakthroughs by addressing offenses.
- Moving prayer onsite into the community brings the presence of Christ where He is not yet recognized and worshiped. The church models the whole gospel to the whole community such through onsite prayer.
- Spirit-guided research into the supernatural underpinnings of reality produces more informed, effective intercession and outreach.
- As we witness the acceleration of wars, rumors of wars, plagues, famines and earthquakes indicated by Matthew 24, as believers walk in conversational relationship with God, they will be ready to seize these as opportunities for the Gospel.
Our battle IS prayer and through prayer we appropriate the victory Jesus bought at great cost. In obeying the Great Commission while following the Great Commandment, we pursue the Great Commitment to a lifestyle of unceasing prayer. If you sense God drawing you to join hands with others to apply the indispensable key of prayer to finish the task, you may find strength in the fellowship of others walking this journey. www.ethneprayer.org is your portal to find resources and to connect with others along the way.