A policy for good practice for prayer ministry

The following notes are to be read alongside:

1. The Bishops Guidelines for the Healing Ministry (Appendix 1)

2. Diocesan Guidelines for Visiting the Elderly (Appendix 2)

3. Promoting a Safe Church (Green Book) Church House publishing 2006

4. The technical definition of a Vulnerable Adult and subsequent explanation of terms of abuse (Appendix 3 and 4)

5. Steps for growing a Prayer Ministry Team (Appendix 5)

6. Confidential Declaration Form (Appendix 6)

Principles of good care

  • Always ask permission before laying on hands and be sensitive to peoples personal space;
  • When laying on hands, always explain and ask permission in such a way that the person may accept or decline without prejudice;
  • Be aware of the difficulties that touch could generate;
  • Always work in pairs;
  • In pairs, ensure that a man is present for ministry with a man, and a woman for ministry with a woman;
  • In a worship setting, ensure that prayer ministry is conducted in pairs and within audible reach of other adults;
  • For the safety of prayer ministers, and when working outside of worship times, ensure that at least one other person is informed of the time and place of ministry;
  • In a street setting ensure there are witnesses; and
  • Ensure a high level of confidentiality see Bishops Guidelines no. 7.

Training and support

  • Ensure rigorous recruitment to the team and follow the steps for Growing a Prayer Ministry Team (Appendix 5);
  • Harm will be prevented through careful training, supervision, support and selection of the team members;
  • All staff and volunteers should receive ongoing and appropriate training and support;
  • During personal difficulties, it may be appropriate for team members to stand down temporarily e.g. during bereavement or trying personal times; and
  • Do not undertake ministry beyond your competence and if in doubt speak to the team leader and refer on as appropriate.

The Team Leader

The team leader should be: 

  • DBS checked;
  • Oversee any pastoral follow-up care and keep the P-i-C (Priest-in-Charge) informed appropriately;
  • Keep resourced with agencies for onward referral;
  • Mindful of both training and follow up care for the team members;
  • Build the team by regularly;
  • Praying together, worshipping together; and
  • Sharing together, training together.

Vulnerable adults and Safe from Harm

  • Be aware that anyone coming for prayer ministry may be regarded as vulnerable in some way and at some time (see Who is vulnerable Appendix 3); and
  • Some opting to receive prayer ministry may fluctuate in and out of vulnerability.

Safe from Harm

  • On recruitment to prayer ministry, use the Confidential Declaration Form on page 26 of the Green Book Promoting a Safe Church (Appendix 6).


  • All parishes undertaking prayer ministry in any form should investigate their Parish Guard insurance.
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