The Prayer Team
There are a number of considerations in establishing a healing ministry and organizing a team.
Pastor Commitment – A prerequisite to a successful healing ministry is the desire and commitment of the senior pastor of the church. He/she must communicate by his/her words and actions that he/she considers such a ministry of great importance to his/her church. If he/she does, many in his/her congregation will also consider it highly. Before there can be a healing ministry in your church, the pastor needs to see the need for one. Unfortunately most pastors don’t. Those that do will see dynamic changes in their congregation. As we have seen in a previous chapter the church has a call to heal if we are to follow the word and example provided by Jesus.
Another consideration is the education of the pastor. Education can come in a number of ways. Pastor training sessions, crusades, attendance at conferences where deliverance ministry is taught, or evil spirits are manifested. The best way for the pastor and his/her church to become aware of the need for deliverance ministry is to hold a healing seminar in the church. In such cases, the pastor, as well as the leadership team and the congregation come to learn about the need for the ministry all at the same time.
Teaching/preaching on healing – The next step after the pastor and the leadership team are convinced of the need for a healing ministry in the church is for the pastor to begin to preach and teach about it during regular church services. He/she needs to begin to raise the awareness level of those in the congregation. This may come before or after a healing seminar in the local church.
Appointment of a healing ministry team – If the pastor believes and teaches the spiritual gifts as listed in I Cor 12 & 14, he will seek out and identify those with gifts of words of knowledge, deliverance, faith, intercession, and discerning of spirits. He/she will gather 2-6 persons together and see that they become trained. The pastor probably will not be a member of the actual deliverance team. Hopefully he/she will have a gift of pastor. Those with the gift of pastor usually don’t have an accompanying gift of deliverance or exorcism as it is sometimes called in books on Spiritual gifts. The pastor should “commission” the team, give them a charge and supervise their activities. The pastor may appoint the leader of the team, which may or may not be the one who does most of the talking and praying during the ministry time. Normally two team members are sufficient for a deliverance session unless those coming are manifesting. Too many in the group may cause fear by the seeker and confusion during the ministry time. One on one ministry should be avoided if possible.
The pastor should see that each of the team members should go through a deliverance process of their own, so that they are “clean” in spirit when they minister. They must be free from demonic presence in their own lives. Else the demonic spirits in the seeker may publicly expose hidden sins in the members of the deliverance team.
Identify the responsibilities of each team member. Those that are to be intercessors should be instructed to intercede for the seeker and the ministry, and to convey any revelations either by written note, or by whispering in the ear of the prayer/leader so as not to disrupt the path on which God and the leader had taken the seeker.
Prayer Team organization – Global Awakening believes that the deliverance ministry team should be a part of the larger ministry team. The following is addressing the whole ministry team of which the deliverance team would be a part of the whole ministry team.
There should be a ratio for every congregational meeting between the size of the congregation, average attendance, and the size of the ministry team. The ratio should be 1 to 10. If there are 180 average attendance at the first service there should be 18 on the ministry team. If there are 150 in the second service then 15 on the ministry team. There should be two teams for each service that alternates every other week so they don’t burn out. This ministry team should be well equipped in knowing how to lead someone to Christ, pray for physical, emotionally or relational healing, and to do deliverance. However, on the team if there are ones who are much stronger gifted in emotional healing then if there is a more difficult case presenting for emotional healing others on the ministry team may make a referral during the ministry time to the person who is more gifted, leading the person to the other person and making the transition. The same would hold true for those on the team that are more naturally or spiritually gifted for deliverance. It the ministry team person feels the situation would best be dealt with by transferring to a person more strongly gifted in deliverance then a transfer is made on the spot.
The pastor should appoint a person who is over the ministry team. That person’s responsibility is to make sure there is a good flow of ministry, people are not waiting long to be ministered to, and to make sure the ministry time is done according to the protocol of that particular church. We want the person to feel safe, the ministry team to be well trained, and if something begins to go awry the Captain of the ministry team steps in to correct the situation. If there are two services that follow each other it would be recommended to have another room close by where the people who come forward and the ministry team could go so the ministry time is not constrained, or the focus hindered by the beginning of the following service. If there is no service following the moving to another location would not be necessary.
More difficult deliverances are most often rescheduled for a more private situation. In these situations after a short interview the ministry team may acknowledge that this could take more time than is available at this time and/or that the context of ministry should be more private. If a situation develops where the person’s manifestations of the demonic are drawing attention away from all the good God is doing and the ability of other team ministers to focus on the one they are ministering to, or the person receiving ministry is having trouble focusing due to the distractions of the person manifesting the person on the ministry team should take the person to a more private area. S/he should bring others to be part of the team for deliverance, a couple of people is usually enough.)
Publish a set ministry time. – In addition to having a ministry time after services for healing, and prayer for other concerns expressed by members, the congregation needs to know there is a set time the ministry is available. It should also be publicized that ministry is available by appointment. Ministry may not be possible immediately following the church services or alter calls for reasons mentioned previously in this study. Appointments should be set for later giving time for the completion of inventories used.
Deliverance in small churches – In small churches, there may not be enough people who are qualified or interested in the healing ministry to have a deliverance team embedded in the healing team. In some cases, it may be only two or three people. While deliverance in these settings should be with the approval of the pastor, it may be done quietly on a referral basis, perhaps even in the deliverance ministers home. Each church may be different in how they organize for this ministry. No matter how small or large the church, the following should be planned prior to a manifestation so that confusion will not rein.
Appoint Deacons to carry – The pastor or the leader of the ministry team should solicit and train deacons to carry those who manifest in a service to an appointed place for ministry. See Pablo Bottair’s 1st and 2nd steps. The gift of carrying and the gift of ministry prayer are different. Carriers should not be allowed to remain during prayer.
During the deliverance ministry time – Only one person speaks during the ministry time. It is not a committee project. Confusion results with several people on the team ask questions or attempt to offer suggestions or pray.
Opposite Sex – Make sure there is a member present on the team of the opposite sex of the seeker. Obviously a man should not minister to a woman with no other woman present.
Touching – Before the prayer portion of the ministry time begins, ask the seeker if it is alright to touch them. Normally men should not touch women. It can be a distraction that can be used by the adversary. God can heal them without you touching them. Women should ask permission to touch the seeker, and may need to comfort them during times of significant emotions. Make sure you are prepared with Kleenex.
Restraining – Usually there is no violence in deliverance prayer, especially if we take the precaution of commanding the spirits to be quiet and not to resist. However, if the person is manifesting, additional team members may be needed for a time. On more than one occasion when someone was brought in who was manifesting, the Lord told me “get more help”.
Confidentiality – The pastor, leadership team, and ministry team members should be sworn to absolute confidentiality. One mention of anything heard in a ministry time will ruin the reputation of the ministry program and no one else will come. The story belongs to the seeker, and no one else. Nothing of the story, or even the names of who came can be divulged without out their specific permission.
Married Couples – It is almost never advisable to allow both husband and wife to come to the ministry time together. One or both may not be totally honest with the other in the room.
Fear/anxiousness – When the initial appointment is set with the seeker, the ministry team member should counsel the seeker that they may feel fear or anxiousness as the time for prayer approaches. This is a standard ploy of the adversary to discourage them from coming.
How to tell when the unclean spirits are gone. – (see MacNutt p 175-177) It should be noted that there can be a problem of praying too much (after the demons are gone), as well as praying too little (stopping before all demons are gone). Remember it is the Lord’s responsibility to set them free, not yours. When God is done with the person at that time, it is finished. The following suggestions may help in determining when the ministry is completed.
- The Lord tells the seeker and the seeker can feel the darkness is gone. (a feeling of elation or triumph follows)
- The Lord tells a team member (through the a word of knowledge or revelation or through the discerning of spirits)
- There’s an absence of previous symptoms, i. e. the headache is gone. (Note, however, that sometimes spirits hide but don’t actually leave).
- Ask each team member if the session is finished. Continue praying until all agree they are gone.
- Sometimes you don’t know, you just have to wait and see what the seeker says.
After ministry cleansing – Allow a time for the ministry team to pray for one another to “deslime”, e. g. rid themselves of any residue from spirits of darkness that may have been present. Protection should be prayed for team members, their families, and all that they have
Testimonies – If a healing ministry is to be successful, those that receive healing need to be allowed time to share their testimonies before the congregation. This should be done with much wisdom so as not to glorify the devil, but glorify God. Much of the details can be avoided. The person should be coached prior, so that the sharing will be confined to 2-4 minutes, and details of sin are not shared. Witnessing also helps retain their healing.
For more help in establishing a healing ministry in your church, see C Peter Wagner How to Have a Healing Ministry in Any Church, Regal books 1988, ISBN 0-8307-1526-6
Selecting Ministry Team Members
Those reading this booklet may be asking themselves, am I called to be a deliverance or inner healing minister. How will I know? Pastors who are organizing a ministry of deliverance and/or inner healing in the congregation may be asking, how can I tell who should be a part of this team? Perhaps the following information will be helpful.
Calling vs Giftedness
There is much confusion in religious circles about the difference between calling and ministry gifts. It is true that all believers are “called” to “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: (Matt 28:19)
20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: . . . .Amen.”
Jesus “called: all believers and gave power to them and said “these signs shall follow them that believe: they shall cast out devils, . . . they shall lay hands on the sick and they shall recover”. . . (Mark 16:17-18)
These verses should not be interpreted to mean all are called to all of these ministries equally. All are not preachers, although we may be called upon to preach. All are not called to deliver, but we may be called on to do so from time to time. All do not have gifts of healing, but are called to pray for the sick. Some have been especially blessed with particular giftedness in particular areas. Those with specific gifts see more people healed or delivered than others. They seem to be more effective in some areas than others. These areas are discussed quite well in C. Peter Wagner’s book. Your Spiritual Gifts Can Help Your Church Grow, 1979, ISBN 0-8307-1681-5. (There are several later versions of this book, but they have been condensed. This original edition is the best one.)
It may be that you do not know which spiritual gifts you have, and whether deliverance is one of them. Your pastor may not have taught on this subject, and helped you and other members of the congregation to discover their spiritual gifts. If this is the case, obtain the book mentioned above, and after reading it, take the inventory at the end. It will help you determine which gifts you do have.
I Cor 12 talks about the body of Christ being like a human body. Some are a hand, some a foot, but all are needed. It is my belief that God provides someone in every congregation with the gift of deliverance and/or discerning of spirits. Many who have it just don’t know it yet, and will never know until they are exposed to teaching on Discover Your Spiritual Gifts, or hear teaching on deliverance. Those healing ministers who have the responsibility for healing ministry in churches must pray and seek out those that have such gifts. They must teach and train them. Those that do not have the gift, will not be interested in participating. But on the other hand if they have some of the characteristics listed above, and seem to be drawn to the ministry for the right reasons, they probably have a gift that needs discovery, teaching and experience under the hand of an experienced healing minister.
One of the purposes of this study is to help you determine if you have the gift of deliverance and/or inner healing. While deliverance ministers certainly should be interested in this material, all believers should have a working knowledge of the demonic so they can recognize the works of darkness and know what to do.
Characteristics of those that have the gift of deliverance:
• Strong faith-one of the signs of those that believe.
• Strong sense of right and justice.
• Self assured.
• Secure in his relationship with God.
• Desires to see all God’s people free from Satan’s Bondage.
• Enjoys ministering to the bruised and broken hearted and those enmeshed in sin.
• Many times works in the gifts of Discerning of spirits and a words of knowledge.
• Is not afraid to confront Satan in the name of Jesus Christ.
• Full of compassion.
There are many lists of desired qualities and characteristics of deliverance ministers in books. But how do you evaluate such qualities? Evaluators tend to place higher evaluations on people like themselves, and the process is highly subjective. There must be a balance between evaluations of lists of desired qualities with listening to the Holy Spirit. In some measure, good deliverance ministry team members self select. That is they choose to be a part of it, and after a time they will remain, or choose not to be involved. Another factor to consider is that none of us have well developed gifts when we first discover them. It is like a piano player who must practice and perform for many years in order to be accomplished. Spiritual gifts must be allowed to grow and develop over time. A person may not have many of the characteristics of a good deliverance minister when they begin. But they may develop them over time. They must be allowed to use their gifts in a “safe” environment that allows them to fail from time to time, without fear of causing damage to themselves or the seeker(s). This is difficult for most leaders to do. They know they can do it better with less chance of mistakes, but such an attitude will not allow new team members to grow and mature.
Few deliverance ministers would admit that they volunteered for the ministry in which they are involved. Most would say, they “were pushed into it” or were “hijacked” by need, circumstances or a supernatural act of God. Most pastors and ministers avoid it altogether. Teaching, preaching and ministering deliverance are rare within Western churches.
One of the most challenging responsibilities of church ministers in charge of deliverance is to select those that should be on the deliverance team(s). There are several ways that potential members may be identified. (1) Personal choice because of education, or being set free themselves (2) recommendation of the pastor (3) spiritual gift inventories (4) Holy Spirit identifies them. Selection may involve several of these options. No matter how the person comes to the attention of the deliverance minister in charge, they should be interviewed to make sure they are seeking this opportunity for the right reasons. They also should be accepted for a probationary period. They should complete educational requirements before being allowed to be part of the team. They should begin as intercessors on a deliverance team for some time before they are asked to take the lead. Normally this ends up being a self selection process. Those who have a gift and are full of compassion will remain, others will decide somewhere along the way, that this really isn’t their calling after all. Obviously much prayer will help this process immensely.
Gift of Discerning of Spirits
Many deliverance ministers and ministers of inner healing have the gift of discerning of spirits, but not all. Some have gifts of faith, wisdom, and words of knowledge which serve them quite well. However someone on the ministry team should have this gift. This gift is many times referred to as the gift of “discernment”. The word “discernment” however does not appear in the Bible (KJV). Discernment in the context in which many use it refers to wisdom, inspiration, or revelation received from God. The gift of discerning of spirits is primarily to help ministers determine whether a spirit that is present (manifesting or not) is of the Holy Spirit, the human spirit, or the demonic.
It is very helpful in the ministry. Francis MacNutt speaks about this gift in his book Deliverance from Evil Spirits p 81-86 & 155.
“While we can work by ordinary discernment – figuring out which spirits are present by talking to the demonized person or by commanding the spirits to name themselves – the ideal way is to have someone on the team with the Gift of Discerning of Spirits to (1) know whether an evil spirit is present, and (2) help identify the spirit. – One of the gifts the Holy Spirit gives us to build up the Christian community is the ability to discern spirits. This gift of recognizing sprits is the seventh of the nine spiritual manifestations listed by Paul in First Corinthians 12:8-10. Discernment is the God given ability to know, whether an evil spirit is present. It enables us to distinguish whether a person (or his/her actions) are influenced primarily by (1) the Holy Spirit, (2) natural, human, psychological or created causes; or (3) an evil spirit.
Without discernment, when we are faced with signs (like changes in the voice), we must try to deduce the presence of a spirit from what people say or how they act. We are merely using our minds to argue from an effect (for example, a man convulsing on the ground) to the possible cause. We can make a good guess about the diagnosis, but unless God helps us in some way, we can never be certain what we are dealing with.
When a person has the gift of discernment, on the other hand, he/she is able to come closer to certainty. The only difficulty is that this wonderful gift does not seem to be fully developed in many people.”
The gift seems to be at different levels. At one level the person is able to recognize the presence of an evil spirit. At another level, they are able to know the identity or name of the evil spirit. At a higher level, some are able to know when and how the spirit entered, even if one or more generations ago. In many deliverance sessions that involve ancestral sin, my prayer partner was able to know the exact generation, the exact sin, and in many cases, the name of the person who committed the sin, and the name of the person who was the recipient in cases of abuse, or rejection. This is a God given asset that considerably shortens the time required for prayer.
If you have this gift, it will be a valuable asset in deliverance ministry. Significantly more women seem to have the gift than men. Perhaps that is why there are significantly more women that minister deliverance and inner healing than men. If you do not have the gift, make sure you have one or more persons on your deliverance ministry team that has the gift.
Many more individuals may have this gift when compared to past times. Perhaps God is equipping more saints to withstand the increased activity of the adversary in these latter days. It is changing the way we minister deliverance, by allowing the Holy Spirit to take charge and to identify for the seeker in his/her own mind whatever roadblocks, open doors, and strongholds He wishes to uncover.
Healing and Deliverance, by Peter Horrobin Appendix One, Qualities of a Christian Counselor p 517-522.
Deliverance from Evil Spirits by Francis MacNutt pages 81-86 & 155.