In the old days we used a calling list. One person initiated the prayer chain by calling, say, two people. Those two people called two more people each, and in a fairly short time the prayer request had been distributed throughout the church.
However, by the time the prayer request got repeated and discussed four or five times there’s no telling what the poor soul at the bottom of the list actually prayed about! I guess the Lord knew and he could easily sort actual prayer need from the extra material that had been added along the way.
Then, we got a nifty unit called a “Phone Tree.” Our folks loved it, and still do. I keep it in my office. When there’s a prayer request I record it and send it out. Everyone receives the same message. I’m also the “gatekeeper” of it. When the prayer need is for the immediate church family, and depending on how pressing the need is, I put out a prayer line right away. Otherwise, I collect the requests and try to not initiate a prayer line more than, at most, once a day. Generally, it works out that they are sent out maybe three days a week.
When I’m going to be away for an extended time, I used to pass the machine on to someone else who handled the requests. Finally, I decided to go with one of the newer on line services for that. A couple of people in the church have the information on initiating a phone tree using the service and it works great. We use “Call ’em all” as our backup. Anyone with a phone and the log in information can initiate a prayer line and it practically delivers all the messages at one time, rather than working through a list as our Phone Tree does. Still, the Phone Tree works great and it’s already paid for, so we use Call ’em All only as a back up.
A few years ago I asked folks if they’ed be interested in an email version of our prayer line and several said “yes.” I created an email group for our Prayer Line and removed their numbers from the Phone List. It works pretty good. I go to the computer and compose an email and then read the text from the email into the Phone Tree. I send the email and start the Phone Tree at the same time.
These days I’m thinking of adding a Twitter prayer line to the mix. Some of our real prayer warriors haven’t a clue about Twitter, but, know what? Some of our prayer warriors do…and they use texting and Twitter all the time. When I recently got my new Droid X I found out that there were at least 2 other people in the church with the same smartphone…both men in their 50’s. “Talking with your thumbs” isn’t just for teens!
One nice thing about all this is that we don’t need to be a member of a telephone prayer chain, or get calls from a Phone Tree or through Call ’em All or receive prayer request tweets to pray. God is the ultimate Communicator and he hears our prayers without the help of any technology at all!