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Recently, I have been thinking about some important people in my life who have committed themselves to pray for me, my family and my ministry. I am truly thankful for the prayer warriors that God has provided in my life. In many ways, if any good has come forth from my ministry to various people throughout the world, I believe it is a direct result, not only of God’s grace but also because of the people who are praying for me. I am forever indebted to all of you (even for those of you that I don’t know about).
David Staal, who serves as the president of Kids Hope USA, a national organization that partners local churches to provide mentors for at-risk students, wrote an article titled, “Find Your Own Pearl.” Staal shares the importance of having prayer warriors in a ministry.
Billy Graham, whose ministry has experienced amazing success over the years, describes the secret this way: ‘The three most important things you can do are to pray, pray, pray!’
And that brings me to 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 crusades 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.’
Some accused Pearl Goode of following after 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.
You know the secret, so now what? Find your own Pearl.
Search for someone to consistently and intentionally pray for you as a leader and your entire ministry throughout the year to come. He or she prays every week, and you share needs, concerns, and reasons to celebrate. Or imagine what might happen if you recruited a prayer partner for every room in your ministry, or each small group leader. Should a teacher share a lesson with children without someone praying specifically and fervently for him or her? Billy Graham didn’t try.
Cliff Barrows shares why. ‘Pray, pray, pray,’ he says. ‘That is the greatest need of our ministry still today. It’s not organization or great corporate structures or design strategy. All of that is good, but we’ve got to humble ourselves before God and put the emphasis on prayer.’
Funny, this greatest ministry need will sound as a trumpet in heaven through faith-filled whispers on earth. As Pearl Goode said, ‘Mine is a hidden ministry.’”
What a great joy when we are able to find our own “Pearl” in our ministry. They are a true treasure. I am praying that there will be more Pearls in our church. As more people are praying for me and the ministry, the more anointing and power I will be able to experience. What a great partnership! I am blessed beyond measure.