Every church in our community is unique. I am thankful for the church in our city comprised of many local churches. Each one is serving Jesus in a distinct way. A distinctive of the Heartland Vineyard is the desire to equip and empower our members to do hands on, Spirit led ministry. As we enter the holidays, people’s needs may be more obvious. The opportunities to pray for people who are experiencing brokenness, pain and heartache is always before us. But during the holidays, as we gather with friends and family, the needs can be magnified. I want to encourage you as a follower of Jesus when faced with a need to ask a little six- word question that can be the most powerful question you can ever ask. The question is, “May I pray for you now?”
For the remainder of my blog, I’d like to refresh you in the Vineyard five step pray model that John Wimber, founder of the Vineyard Church Movement patiently taught. This prayer model becomes an authoritative tool in the hands of God’s people and useful to heal, deliver and free many people stricken by the works of the devil.
I want to share these five steps with you. What I am sharing with you is a model, not a method. The “five steps” simply help Christians engage in prayer ministry and is useful as a compass to lead followers of Jesus in praying for the sick, the broken and the outcast.  Jesus is the healer. The Holy Spirit is the guide. With the holidays upon us, we will have many opportunities to pray for hurting people. I want you to have an idea of how to engage people in prayer. Here are the five steps:
1.    The Interview – prayer ministry starts by simply asking the question, “Where does it hurt?” This is not a time for a detailed medical interview. It is best kept simple and to the point. As you listen to the person describe their pain, as one of God’s children, you have the capacity to listen to the person and the Holy Spirit at the same time. This short little interview will lead you to the second step.
2.    The Diagnostic Decision – this answers the question, “Why does this person have this condition?”  We have listened to the person explain the need but now we are asking God about the cause. Have they contracted a disease; hurt themselves, experiencing the effect of sin committed by them or sin committed against them?  Is the root of their pain emotional, demonic or physical?  This moves us the third step.
3.    The Prayer Selection – this answers the question, “What kind of prayer will help this person?” The ultimate issue is this:  What is God doing at this particular time? We are asking God how we should intercede for this person. Do they need prayers of:
a.    Blessing and affirmation?
b.    Petition, joining them in asking God for healing?
c.    Prayers of command by speaking directly to the pain or condition?
d.    Intercession, praying on their behalf?
e.    Rebuking demonic presence?
As you pray, do so with your eyes open. Be aware of what God is doing in the person’s life as you pray for them.
4.    The Prayer Engagement – this answers the question, “How are we doing as we pray for you?” During this process we are evaluating how effective our prayers have been. All the while, we have been praying WITH OUR EYES OPEN, watching for signs of God’s activity in the person’s life. Prayer ministry should be specifically directed toward the diagnosed problem while looking for indications of the Holy Spirit’s presence. As you pray with your eyes open, be watchful for some of the physical signs of the Spirit’s presence such as warmth, tingling, heat, muscle spasms, shaking, deep breathing, fluttering eyelids, taut fingers and many others. Simply ask the question, “What’s going on?” This does not disturb the prayer ministry and is helpful in guiding further prayer.
5.    The Post-Prayer Directions – this answers the question, “What do I do now?” This is not a time where you and the person praying gives advice, share negative “prophetic words,” or put any responsibility on the person receiving prayer that they may not have enough faith. Listen to the Holy Spirit. He may have you share a verse from the Bible, share encouragement. Direct them to follow through on any areas of repentance for areas the Holy Spirit have begun dealing with during the ministry time.
In the entire process, which takes little time, all things should be done in love and a desire to help the person receiving prayer to live in new dimensions of freedom, peace and joy. To enter into prayer ministry requires a little courage, a sensitive heart toward the Holy Spirit’s leadership and a measure of compassion that is given by Jesus Himself.