I want to share a ministry secret. Not my secret, mind you, this secret is much better. And the best part is that you can put it to use whenever you wish. Maybe you know about it already. Many do but, unfortunately, a small number actually do anything about it. I read about it in Today’s Children’s Ministry by David Stall.
Billy Graham who experienced amazing blessing over the years, described the secret this way: “The three most important things you can do are to 1. pray, 2. pray, 3. pray!” Perhaps your response is: Oh, another blog about prayer. But I learned about a part of Billy Graham’s ministry I was unaware of.
Her name was Pearl Goode. At Pearl’s funeral service, Billy Graham’s wife, Ruth, paid her tribute with these words: “Here lie the mortal remains of much of the secret of Bill’s ministry.”
When the 1949 Billy Graham crusade came to Los Angeles, Pearl ventured to the site and appealed to heaven for the event and the ministry team. “That night God laid those boys on my heart as a burden,” she explained in a 1963 issue of Decision magazine, “and I have been praying for them ever since. I went to the crusade every evening as long as it lasted, and began talking to God about them, asking him to anoint them individually and to give them boldness in proclaiming the Word.”
Soon she began to pray for every crusade, traveling to each city without attracting attention. Eventually, crusade organizers noticed that her name consistently appeared on volunteer lists. Arrangements were made for her to travel with the crusade teams, so she could continue this critical role.
As “Prayer Historian” for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, music director Cliff Barrows remembers Pearl well. “She made it her ministry to be on her knees during his preaching and invitation time,”
Barrows said in a 2005 Decision article. “She would call out, ‘Lord, bless Billy tonight as he preaches on the Cross. Pour out Your Spirit into his heart.’ When you have somebody praying, crying out to God like that, it gives you great confidence that God is going to honor ‘the effective, fervent prayer of a righteous person’ (James 5:16).”
Some accused Pearl Goode of following Billy Graham to gain fame. In her 1963 article, she invited her critics to spend an entire night fasting and alone in prayer “to see who gets the glory.” An amazing prayer partner for an amazing ministry.
So now you know the secret, so now what? Staal suggests we each find our own Pearl. Search for someone to consistently and intentionally pray for you as a leader and our entire ministry throughout the year to come.
He or she prays every week, and needs, concerns, and reasons to celebrate are shared. Or imagine what might happen if we had a prayer partner for every room in our ministry center or each small group leader.
Think of the possibilities Holy Spirit might bless Victory with should we take another step toward “ramping” up our prayer ministry. Is there someone you can commit to pray for regularly in our ministry?