Dynamic Prayer Meetings
“WHEN TWO OR THREE OF YOU ARE TOGETHER BECAUSE OF ME, YOU CAN BE SURE THAT I’LL BE THERE.” – MATTHEW 18:20 (MSG)
After Jesus returned to heaven, His friends gathered in a room to wait for the promised gift of His Spirit. Their encounter with God, recorded in Acts 2, was the first fundamental step towards birthing the Church and transforming the world. Full of God and fuelled by prayer the disciples proved contagious as they spread the Jesus virus across the world.
Praying with others has power. As you gather your friends, your church or the wider Body of Christ in your area to pray together try some of these simple ideas to engage and motivate others.
PREPARE TO LEAD PRAYER
Prayer is the best way to prepare for leading a prayer meeting. Pray for the people you want to be there. Pray for wisdom as you plan the time. Pray for anyone taking part. Pray for the Holy Spirit to fill and lead you afresh. It sounds obvious but people will not catch what we ourselves are not contagious with!
KNOW WHY YOU’RE PRAYING
When you tell people you’re gathering to pray let them know why. Tell them why this is more important than the TV program, social engagement, work or other commitments in their lives. Share from scripture and communicate the purpose behind the prayer you’ll be leading. If your praying for your city, explain why and how. If you’re waiting on God together, help people understand the value and power of the presence of God. If you’re praying for a certain occupation, make sure everyone employed in that arena is invited!
When beginning the prayer meeting encourage people that prayer works to build faith. Share a short thought inspired by a verse or promise in the Bible and tell stories of answered prayer in your area to build faith.
Know why you’re praying together and explain it clearly. Use photos, video or story telling to inform the mind and engage the heart. If your prayer topic is quite large you could break it down into smaller, more manageable needs to pray into.
If your community struggles to stay focussed and engaged in prayer meetings then organise the prayer time into short sections. It will help those who feel unconfident or easily distracted to have a fresh focus every ten minutes or so. Vary the style of prayer in each section to engage as many people as possible.
Here are a few different models and styles of prayer to try:
Worship: Psalm 100 says that we enter God’s gates with thanks giving and His courts with praise. Worship is an amazing tool for prayer. Why not have a time of musical worship at the beginning and use music throughout. By worshipping we’re welcoming the Holy Spirit, as well as reminding ourselves of whom we’re praying to and what He’s capable of. We recommend weaving worship throughout your time of prayer.
Involve experts: if you want to lead prayer for a particular issue like education, marriage, illness etc., then make room to show a video or interview someone in your community with knowledge or experience. This will help inform people about the issue and hopefully move them to care about the needs they’re praying for.
ABC: split the group down into threes, asking them to allocate themselves the letters ‘A’, ‘B’ or ‘C’. Give a prayer point to each letter relating to the need your focussing on, and get all the groups praying at once.
Get loud: Jesus sometimes prayed ‘in a loud voice’ and the early church: ‘raised their voices together in prayer to God’. Even if it feels uncomfortable, there’s something in praying out loud, all at once.
50/50: split the group in half. Ask one half to cry out to God about a particular issue, and the other half to sing in worship. Then swap over.
Zones: split the room into zones and focus each section on a different topic. Encourage people to move around the room praying into the issues they choose.
Get creative: engage all five senses in focusing people in prayer. You may want to give them something to hold or pass around, something to taste, watch, listen to or do as you pray through a topic.
Petitioning the King: place a chair at the front of the room. Ask everyone to imagine that the chair is a throne and that God is lovingly inviting them approach with one request. What would that one request be? Play music and make space for people to come, one at a time, to kneel and pray.
Liturgy: there is a wealth of liturgy written throughout the centuries from all streams of the church. Many groups find great meaning in reciting written prayers together. If you’re interested in exploring modern written prayers then check out the liturgies available in the section exploring ‘Offices’.
MAKE SPACE TO LISTEN
Here are a few ideas on how you could facilitate listening as a group:
Some people don’t feel confident that they can recognise God’s voice so encourage them by sharing the ways God can speak through our thoughts, the Bible, pictures and more, as well as how we can be confident it’s Him (does it match what He says and what He’s like in the Bible? Do we feel the Holy Spirit confirming it? Etc.) Share times that you personally have heard God in different ways.
Start with a prayer dedicating the listening time to God and asking the Holy Spirit to speak to each person
Give a designated amount of time to silence and listening (5 minutes is a great start if people are new to this)
If appropriate ask each person to briefly share anything they heard from God, felt, saw or words from the Bible that came to mind as they listened. If you have a larger group then you could break people into groups to share and have summaries fed back to the whole. If you would prefer you could also ask for people to write down what they’ve heard the Lord say and have it read before sharing particularly clear words by someone you’ve asked in advance to weigh what’s brought
Record what each person shares and highlight any repetition or themes emerging
Pray together for the things you feel God is saying
Prayer ideas for small groups
Praying in small groups is a great way to grow closer to God as a community. Whether your gathering with friends, a prayer triplet, a cell, a house group, with fellow students or co-workers, small numbers make for a flexible and engaging time of prayer. If you’re not in a small group already then gather a group of three to eight people and find a place and time to meet regularly.
PRAYER IDEAS TO TRY TOGETHER:
Keep a Prayer Journal: Have a prayer journal to record the things you pray for and note how God responds to them. It is an amazing reminder of the way God works and a great thing to look back on each week.
Prayer Walk: Pick a place and walk with the intention of asking God to show you where He’s at work, what He cares about and how you can pray. See our Prayer walking page for further ideas.
The Lord’s Prayer: Divide the Lords Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13) into sentences and take it in turns around the group to reword it, expand upon its meaning for you and lead the rest of the group in prayer around that theme.
Pray For Each Other: Put a chair in the middle of the group and have one person at a time take turns in the chair while the rest lay hands on them and pray. If people are unfamiliar with praying aloud then start by asking everyone to pray one short, positive prayer of blessing over each other. You can dedicate a prayer meeting to praying for everyone in the group or you can pray this way for one person each week.
Get creative: engage all five senses and try varying the style and method of prayer. Use silence, speaking out and song. Try eating something as you pray for hunger for God to increase in your area. You could even write, draw or paint the thing you’re praying for. For more ideas read ‘Encouraging Creative Prayer’.
Study Prayer: Read a chapter of a book on prayer each week. Discuss it and practice what you learn. Try The Prayer Course and explore prayer through videos, discussion and practice over six weeks.
Pray for your city: Take a recent local newspaper and go through it finding things to pray for. Cut them out and create a board you can pray through around the needs and opportunities in your city.
Don’t stop because your times up: at each meeting every member of the group could write a prayer request on a small piece of paper. These can be swapped and everyone take someone else’s need home with them. Each week you could have a different person and request as your prayer project.