I get a lot of questions. Some from readers and some from attendees at a workshop I’m giving.
Here’s a very common question, especially when I’m talking with new leaders.
“What is the best way to close a group meeting in prayer?”
Great question! But if you’re looking for a script (or a model closing prayer), my answer may be a little different than you’re wanting.
Four Things to Keep in Mind
First, keep in mind that your meeting structure will most likely change over time according to the bond developed between group’s members. For example, brand new groups will be much less willing to share genuine needs. Groups that have been meeting longer may gradually spend a greater portion of their group time praying. Long-term groups may also develop the habit of praying as a need arises during the meeting (instead of waiting for a prayer time).
Second, the way your group prays together ought to change over time. The closing prayer at the very first meeting might be more of a blessing by the leader than anything else. As the group begins to get to know each other you may find that what used to take 5 minutes now takes 30. Just as important, what was once fairly superficial and surface level can become very authentic and deep.
Third, you may also find that without some intentionality the authenticity of your member’s prayer requests remain stuck at a fairly superficial level. This is the point when it will benefit everyone to take advantage of sub-grouping for prayer or developing spiritual partners for accountability and prayer. See also, Skill Training | Sub-Grouping for Deeper Connection and The Power of a Spiritual Training Partner.
Finally, if the only person that can close is the official leader you’ve missed a great opportunity. As early as possible you’ll want to begin to help your members learn how to pray together.
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Image by Loren Kerns