Lesson – Altar Workers
Definition: Altar work is instructing, assisting, and/or leading the seeker to an experience with God.
Objective: To pray with, instruct, encour and to assess needs of the seeker as you help them pray through to the baptism of the Holy Ghost.
The Basics: It is important that you pray with family members and friends who are seeking the Holy Ghost. Friends need a familiar voice. Woman to woman, man to man, is preferable.
- Often, when there are several seekers present, you can assess who is most ready to receive the Holy Ghost by watching their body language (note intensity) – if they are kneeling, crying, quiet, excited, shaking, smiling, calm, tight, scared.
- Don’t be afraid to have a conversation with the seeker, before praying, and there may be times you have to ask them to stop praying.
- What is your name? Are you praying for the Holy Ghost? Is this your first time to pray for the Holy Ghost? Do you know how to worship the Lord?
- As you talk to the seeker, use their name.
- If many people are assisting the seeker, it is important that only one person speaks in the seeker’s ear – giving directions – at a time.
- Teamwork is important (unified effort).
- You should always be sensitive to the needs, feelings, frustrations, and fears of the seeker. Many times, a seeker does not understand what they are supposed to be doing and how they are to do it.
- Help them by giving clearly spoken, easy-to-understand directions.
Common Problems: It is common in our services today to have many people who have never prayed before in their life. They don’t know how to pray for the Holy Ghost. Some don’t even know to whom they should pray.
- Take the time to tell the seeker how to pray. Tell them that Jesus hears their prayers. Tell them that He wants to answer their prayers.
- Many people, especially chronic seekers, do not receive the Holy Ghost because they have preconceived ideas as to how the Holy Ghost will come. Discuss their preconceived ideas. Let them know that rarely does anyone receive the Holy Ghost the way they think they will.
- Chronic seekers often get into a rut of saying the same things over and over again, like a “stuck needle” on a phonograph. Get them to say and do something else.
- For quiet people, discuss scriptures that relate to speaking out, shouting, lifting one’s voice, etc.
- Others: Sometimes you will work with people that cannot seem to break through to the Holy Ghost. You may consider that they have not repented, or they doubt God’s willingness and ability to forgive them of their sins.
- Don’t hit or slap a seeker on the back, arms, shoulders, or anywhere else. Control your emotions while you are working with seekers.
- Don’t shake the seeker. It is very important that you keep your attention on assisting the seeker. You are not there to get a blessing yourself and forget about helping them.
- Don’t work the altars with bad breath or body odor.
- Don’t spit in the seeker’s face when you are praying with him.
- Don’t yell in the seeker’s ear. Altar services can get very loud. Get close to the seeker’s ear and ask in a low voice, “Can you hear me?” If they are having trouble hearing you, you can turn up the volume a little at a time until they do hear your instructions clearly.
- Don’t mess up their hair or clothing. Though many tries, we cannot shake the Holy Ghost into a person.
- Don’t put words in their mouth to get them to speak in tongues. Never tell a seeker to repeat after you or to say something (i.e., “la-la-la,” etc.…).
- Don’t get in their face (remember infectious diseases).
- Do get consent from the seeker before you lay hands on them.
- Do be sensitive, inoffensive, empathic (feel what they feel).
- Do be perceptive. Observe what they are saying and what they are doing. Look for both positive and negative signs.
- Do touch (shoulder, back, arms, head). You lay your hands on the seeker to transmit faith.
- Do be positive in all your comments. It is good to tell the seeker often that they are doing well. They are usually in unfamiliar territory, and your positive comments will set their mind at ease.
- Do encourage them to press on. Many times a seeker will get the Holy Ghost on the second or third attempt. Answer any questions they might have. Give your opinion as to what is hindering them from breaking through to the Holy Ghost. Then encourage the seeker to pray again.
- Do pray out loud with them. When the seeker hears you pray, and even speak in tongues, it helps them to know how to worship as well as how to yield to the Holy Ghost.
NOTE: The Seeker Must Repent: Hopefully this will have been done before beginning to pray for the Holy Ghost. It is impossible to receive the baptism of the Holy Ghost without first repenting. To come to Jesus, the Bible says you must first repent.