Prayer Warriors

Please, I am wondering if anyone knows of a less militarized way of labeling a group of people who commit to praying for an event or process. I am gathering a group of people to give SERIOUS prayer support to the process of pastoral transition at church. Traditionally, the term “prayer warrior” has been used. I like the sense of commitment, power, authority, determination, and passion that this label carries, but it is just too violent. Warriors kill and train to dominate and decimate their enemies. We are pacifists and so need a better term…one that connotes all these qualities above but isn’t war-like.

We have all the plans in place for a professional transition team and search committee. We act like calling a pastor is OUR doing and by OUR power. While we are certainly involved, if God does not act and help us to discern well, and bring the person to us…it doesn’t matter how professional we are. A designated prayer group will be formed to “hold the congregation in the light” (as the Quakers would say) and repeatedly turn the process over to God and to spiritually nurture the search committee through prayer.

One thing I have learned from my experience with the church in Ghana is that even the best-laid plans by humans can be thwarted…and that everything we do as a church must be bathed in prayer. In Ghana, people are not afraid to use the term “prayer warrior” because they see these people (often the older folks in the church…but can be an intergenerational group that meets as well) as fighting back the evil spirits and the devil.

Prayer Support Group (PSG)- sounds dry, or maybe like a pharmaceutical solution
Prayer Pacifists-doesn’t communicate.
Prayer Team- dunno.

OR perhaps it’s okay to call it prayer warriors…since our struggle is not against flesh and blood but against the powers and principalities… (as our radical-eschatological Anabaptist ancestors would cite)

HELP! thanks

Comments (16)

  1. Ben Kickert

    I don’t have the answer, but I will follow this post closely because I am interested in what others have to say.

  2. carl

    For what it’s worth, I learned a broader interpretation of the term “warrior” from Lakota friends: that a warrior is someone who protects the people, not necessarily through violence (though possibly so).

    I know the etymological root of the English word is connected with “war”, but we use words in ways that are disconnected from their etymological roots all the time.

    Anyway, just worth remembering that “warriors kill and train to dominate and decimate their enemies” is just one possible interpretation of the word.

  3. dave

    Prayer activists?

  4. ST (Post author)

    that’s just it…i’m trying to figure out “what it’s worth.” if the definition of the term is broad enough, then i am flexible enough to use it. i am just not sure how broad it is.

    prayer activists- hmm, thanks. let’s keep thinking.

    what do people use in their congregations?

  5. DavidC

    What about using a different term altogether?

    Something like this: “The Intercessors.”

  6. ST (Post author)

    ahhh, interesting.

  7. Josiah Garber

    I think prayer warriors is appropriate. But at our church we are called intercessors. Remember there is a spiritual battle, and it cannot really be described in less severe ways. I don’t think many people will think that prayer warriors are going to be killing people.

    I do appreciate that people are trying to get away from violence. We don’t need any more violence.

  8. Adam T

    Prayer Choir!

  9. RyanH

    I understand your reluctance to use militaristic imagry. It carries a lot of baggage, depending upon who is hearing or reading it.

    “Intercessors” is a tried-and-true one. It’s easy, safe, and works.

    You could also give yourselves a personal name, and describe yourselves using terms like “prayer team” or “intercessor.” That name could be anything you want. Something meaningful to you, but it wouldn’t need to communicate much beyond your community. “The Circle” “The Watch” “Vigil” or the even The “PPP” (Power and Principality Patrol), if you want to be a bit cheeky.

    The point is, name your group. Then worry about describing it.

  10. Tim B

    Prayer Warriors? Like this?:

    Can you say “AWESOME!”? I picture costumes for all of your various groups that meet in prayer.

  11. Skylark

    Prayer Vigilantes? Gate Shakers? (The whole “knocking on Heaven’s door” imagery) The Praying Mantises? The (Inter)Mediators? The Interagents?

  12. Tim B

    I like Gate Shakers.

  13. Joseph P

    At a feeling level I cringe at the term “prayer warrior” because of its violent intonations.

    However, logically speaking, the term seems to coopt ownership of the word “warrior” for peaceful purposes; it has an Upside-down Kingdom ring to it. In a sense, the very notion of a “prayer warrior” is subversive to a system of violence, representing a Gandhian approach to conflict that is both confrontational and peaceful.

    Hmmmm, as I think out loud though, is the very notion of warring antithetical to what prayer should be? “Warrior” (even tempered of its violence by the word “prayer”) implies that you are on one side of a conflict that you have refused to reconcile. We all know that prayer at its worst can be very selfish. If our intent is to pray for vague notions of “justice” or “God’s will” (rather than for a specific outcome), then the imagery of a prayer warrior may be inappropriate. Yet even “justice” and “God’s will” tend to have relevant, concrete meanings do us. So how do we resolve the need to actually “pray for something” without being warriors for a particular human cause?

    Gandhian philosophies of conflict confrontation are rooted in the acceptance of fallibility: complete rejection of violence is essential because we may be erroneous in believing that justice is on our side. Nonviolent action allows us stand up boldly for a specific cause without becoming “warriors” who have rejected reconciliation; it is the antidote for many paradoxes.

    Gandhi’s movement early on had a semantical struggle over naming their technique of confrontation. They were in the midst of something like a war, but they were clearly different than warriors. They came up with the word “Satyagraha,” meaning “soul-force” (roughly equivalent to what we mean by “nonviolent action”). The practioner of Satyagraha is called a satyagrahi (the nonviolent equivalent of a warrior). A satyagrahi is committed to humility, compassion, nonviolence, and justice.

    Therefore, I humbly suggest “prayer satyagrahis” to describe the group that is praying over the pastoral transition process.

    I think that would be neat. But I also like RyanH’s idea of picking a personal name.

  14. stefan

    Prayer Monger

  15. robert Help. Wife left with kids

    Please Pray for my wife’s Shana salvation. She is hurting spiritually and blames me the marriage. She needs to find the hope and healing that ONLY the Lord can provide. May she find this hope and peace in the Lord. May all see His hand in our lives and may it be for His glory that He brings restoration to our relationship. My heart is hurting. Pray for my strength. Pray that my wife may see the Lord’s hand in our lives. May she come to a quick end of her own resources and fall on the Lord for everything.
    I really need the Lord to come in and give me a clear view on what to do.
    Please pray for me and my family.
    Blessing upon you for your prayers.

  16. Peter B. Jr.

    Dear Heavenly Father, God Almighty, Hallowed be thy name. I come and pray in the precious name of Jesus’s Christ that not my will, but Thy will be done. Holy, Holy, Holy! I Love you God and thank you for your only begotton son, whom died on the cross for our sins. I disregard all inequity and pray to you with a clean and pure heart. Thank you for your miracles that you create within me and around me in every moment of my existence. I Love you, and thank you for loving me and others. I pray for the Pastor of the anabaptist church (Living Hope) at which I attend. Please give Mark and His wife Ann your strength and love and focus concerning the healing needed from Her Father passing away. Bless them Lord, fill them with joyous memories and unshakable strength. Create in them a wellspring of your healing touch that washes away all grief. Protect the fatherless and widows in this World. May your light shine on them in a time need. Heavenly Father, please relieve me of any hurt that is in my life that is hindering me from living out with meaning the revealing purpose that Your Holy Words have spoken to me from the Bible. (Jer 29:11)NKJV. Protect me from persons, organizations and entities that wish to kill, cheat, lie and destroy your glory from my life to live. This love to live was worth Jesus’ dying for me. Forgive me of my debt and sins as I forgive those whom are indebted to me. Please give me courage and strength and perpetual wisdom, humble me Lord to exhault you. (2Tim2:7)Strengthen my understanding and the compassion of those who love me and want to help me. I ask for your grace to live in a family enviornment, so lift up the hearts of the children to the Father, to strenghten a mutual bond in provision and prosperity. I am knocking God, for you to please open the door and protect me and others from oppression and affliction. Mend broken relationships in my life and fill them with continual joy and learning. Lead me Lord to a desirable outcome and miracle that will allow me to thrive as a Christian and not just survive. Recompense me Lord. I wish to be an active leader in the community. I have and will follow you always. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen

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