I’ve been writing about the Top 5 Essentials for our Volunteers . . . #5 – provide resources, #4 – provide training, #3 – thank and encourage your volunteers and #2 – a listening ear. Last week I said, “A listening ear is one of the most precious things you can give your volunteers . . . it communicates better than words, you really do care!” Today I’m going to look at #1 – give your volunteers prayer!
This may seem like a “no-brainer”, but when I talk about praying, I don’t mean the casual, “Lord please bless my volunteers.” I mean real prayer which shows itself in a three ways . . .
- First, ask your volunteers for specific prayer requests. Don’t just tell them you are praying for them, stop and ask them what they would most appreciate having your pray about for them. Don’t assume you know what is going on and what to pray for . . . ASK them. When you take the time to actually ask someone what you can pray about, it shows you are genuinely concerned. Plus, when you have specific things to pray about, it is easier to avoid the trap of “generic prayers”. Plus, when you show you actually care enough to ask for specific prayer requests, it may be the thing a volunteer needs to open up to someone and there is no telling how God could use you in their life!
- Secondly, pray WITH your volunteers. When you have asked for specific prayer requests, stop and take a moment to actually pray with your volunteer for those prayer requests. It is very powerful to hear someone actually pray for your requests – and very moving. Eight years ago I was diagnosed with MS and Lupus. From time to time someone from my church would tell me they were praying for me, but I always wondered “what” they were praying for since they never actually talked to me to find out how I was or if I had anything specific for them to pray about. Then one day when I was experiencing a “flare”, I mentioned it on the CM Connect chat and Michael Chanley stopped and prayed right then and there. It brought tears to my eyes. The idea someone actually cared enough to stop what they were doing and pray with me right then and there . . . well, it was powerful, and greatly appreciated. Always, stop whatever you are doing and pray WITH your volunteers.
- Thirdly, make praying for your volunteer’s specific requests a part of your regular prayer discipline. Pray regularly and specifically for them! Be sure to check back with them to see how things are going – this will let them know you cared enough to continue to pray for them and will give them the opportunity to share how God is working in their lives! I’ve found praying the Scriptures is a tremendously powerful thing – in and for my own life and for others. In closing this series, I’d like to give you a Scripture Passage and a personalized prayer which you could use for your volunteers . . .
Psalm 46: 1-11 – “God is our mighty fortress, always ready to help in times of trouble. And so, we won’t be afraid! Let the earth tremble and the mountains tumble into the deepest sea. Let the ocean roar and foam, and its raging waves shake the mountains. A river and its streams bring joy to the city, which is the sacred home of God Most High. God is in that city, and it won’t be shaken. He will help it at dawn. Nations rage! Kingdoms fall! But at the voice of God the earth itself melts. The LORD All-Powerful is with us. The God of Jacob is our fortress. Come! See the fearsome things the LORD has done on earth. God brings wars to an end all over the world. He breaks the arrows, shatters the spears, and burns the shields. Our God says, ‘Calm down, and learn that I am God! All nations on earth will honor me.’ The LORD All-Powerful is with us. The God of Jacob is our fortress.” (CEV)
Dear God, I ask You to help (volunteer’s name) remember You are his/her Mighty Fortress and are always, ALWAYS ready to help in times of trouble. I ask You to give him/her peace in place of his/her fear. Help him/her remember when You are with him/her he/she won’t be shaken! You will help. Thank You LORD All-Powerful for being with (volunteer’s name)! Thank You for being his/her fortress! Please help him/her listen as You say, “Calm down, and learn that I am God!” Please strengthen him/her with the truth of knowing “The LORD All-Powerful is with me!” Thank You! Amen!
All five of my Essential Things to Give your Volunteers are, in my mind, essential, but if you are only able to do one of these, make it the #1 thing – give them prayer!