We know praying together as a group is valuable. Unfortunately, it can often feel rushed, forced, or stale. Sharing prayer requests allows our groups to share what’s really going on in their lives . . . if they choose to. It allows them to connect with their heavenly Father . . . if you devote enough time to it. It challenges people to step out of their comfort zones . . . unless nobody talks.
How can you take group prayer time to the next level?
If you read the first ten chapters of Luke, you might be struck by how often Jesus broke away from his routine to get away an pray. I’m sure Jesus prayed every day as part of his routine, but there was something about changing his schedule and location that took his prayer time to a different level.
As a group leader, I’ve taken this cue from Jesus. I try to regularly shake up prayer time in my groups. Here’s a few ways to do just that:
Follow-up on earlier prayer requests. This demonstrates that you care. It's an opportunity to celebrate answered prayer. It begins with, “I want to check in about what we prayed for last week.”
Pray at the beginning instead of at the end. You and the group will feel less rushed.
Split up the group. You’ll give people more time to share. Plus, it's less intimidating for those who are hesitant to pray out loud.
Write down prayer requests. Group members can share what they write or keep it to themselves. Either way, it may help everyone think of something to pray for.
Pick a theme and pray about it. Almost everybody has something they can pray for related to a relationship, family member, career, or worry. Begin prayer time by saying, “I thought tonight we could specifically pray about our ________________.”
Pray silently. Put on a worship song in the background and let everyone be still. You might encourage them to quietly write out their prayers, or take a moment to get centered.
Prayer can be a game-changer for a group. Mixing up how and when you pray may help take your group's prayer time to the next level.