Skill Training: How to Add Meaningful Prayer Together to Your Group Meeting

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Skill Training: How to Add Meaningful Prayer Together to Your Group Meeting

Two things are true about many small groups (if not almost every group):

When your group is brand new feeling comfortable praying together is very challenging. New members often don’t know each other and aren’t yet sure  they can trust each other. Lots of people are very timid about speaking out loud, let alone praying out loud. And on top of everything, more and more people simply don’t know what to pray or how to pray.

When your group has been around for awhile it often settles into a routine that ends with sharing prayer requests and then listening to the leader pray. Praying together is intended and on the agenda. It just is often skipped in order to end on time.

Keys to Adding Meaningful Prayer Together to Your Group Meeting

Whether yours is a brand new group or you’ve been meeting together for years, paying attention to these keys will shift your prayer time from dull routine to deeply personal.

First, model for your members how to pray together. Use everyday words and an ordinary way of talking. Use short sentences with a single subject and verb (i.e., “Lord help Bob know what to say to his neighbor.”)

This is a key because so many people believe effective prayer requires special words (like beseech, thee and thou) and long run-on sentences. When you pray using simple everyday words and short sentences, you can help your members learn to pray.

Second, introduce the practice of prayer as acknowledging the attributes of God. If your prayer time has become nothing more than asking God to meet the needs of your group members, use the Lord’s Prayer as a template for meaningful prayer together. Remember, Jesus began his model prayer  (Matthew 6:9-13) by acknowledging God and His attributes.

Third, encourage your members to practice joining together to pray for the request of a particular member (i.e., “Let’s take a moment and each of us pray for Bob.”).

This is an important key to learning to pray together. When prayer becomes completing a checklist by successfully praying for each request, authentic community is cheapened.

Fourth, incorporate the practice that you don’t need to wait until the end of the meeting to pray together. For example, when Bob or Susan shares a concern, pause the discussion and say, “Let’s take a moment and pray for Bob right now.” A step further is to actually gather around an individual member and each pray for them.

Praying together in the moment can have a powerful impact on your group.

 Prayer together can be a meaningful part of your group meeting. It can also be nothing more than a formality. Use these four keys as a way to move toward meaning.

See also, Learning How to Pray Together and The Simplest Way to Help Your Members Pray Out Loud.

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