Starting a Prayer Group
A prayer group is a group of Christians who meet regularly to pray.
Prayer is a powerful weapon against the devil, and it is also an important tool in encouraging and uplifting others.
A prayer group needs people committed to praying together. A prayer group invites and encourages others to share their prayer needs and as a group, offers prayers of praise, petition and thanksgiving to God. It should be a safe place for people to share their concerns, joys and heartaches, knowing that many are praying on their behalf.
How to Start a Prayer Group
- Seek out other Christians and ask if they will pray with you on a regular basis.
- If you are finding it difficult to invite others to join you, don’t be discouraged. Pray that God will lead you to someone.
- Remember: you only need two to start a prayer group.
- Pray that your group will grow.
- Choose a suitable meeting place. For example, meet in each other’s home; meet outside in a park; find a spare room in the office during your lunch hour.
- Make a commitment to meet at a certain time once a week, fortnightly, monthly, or whatever suits you.
- Set aside a specific time period — most groups are comfortable with one hour.
- If you wish to bring your prayer group to the attention of others, begin to advertise as soon as possible. A notice could be placed in church or school newsletters and bulletins, or in community noticeboards. It will attract other Christians to your group, and it will let your church and/or community know that you are praying for them.
Tips for Prayer Group Leaders
- Pray regularly for your group, that it will grow in love and unity.
- Encourage your group to support one another. The care that you give each other can be a powerful witness to those around you.
- Keep a book with names, addresses and telephone numbers of your group.
- Keep another book with a record of things prayed for.
- Work out dates, times and venues of meetings for six months ahead, and give a copy to each member of the group.
- If you are praying for specific institutions, such as local schools or businesses, make an appointment with the appropriate people and convey the following (as appropriate):
- Your concern for the pressures people face today (whether those people are school children, people in the workforce etc)
- The formation of your prayer group
- Your willingness to pray for specific needs
- As your group grows, consider a co-leader to help and support you.
- Allow another person to lead the group from time to time, so that it doesn’t become dependent on you.
- Be mindful that if you leave, someone needs to replace you.
Tips for running prayer group meetings
- When you meet, reassure people that they don’t have to pray out loud. Some people need time before they feel comfortable praying in front of others.
- Have a list of prayer points ready before each meeting. This can be added to when you get together.
- If the meeting is in a home, and you are going to offer refreshments, consider offering them at the end rather than at the beginning of your time together.
- As far as possible, keep to the agreed time schedule.
- Begin with an opening prayer, dedicating your time together to the Lord.
- Give a short devotional, or nominate another person in the group to do so (having asked them ahead of time).
- Sharing time: this period will develop as people begin to know each other better and as special needs become apparent.
- Combined prayer can begin with praise and thanksgiving. Try to vary input, such as reading of Psalms, singing, or play praise music.
- Remember: There is no right or wrong! If a particular format suits your prayer group one week, but doesn’t seem right the next, that’s alright. Choose the style of prayer group meeting that’s right for your group.
Essentials of a successful prayer group
Be committed to praying with others
Jesus responds to united hearts. When we show our willingness to pray in harmony and love, the Lord promises to be present.
Take advantage of any opportunity to pray with others
Accept the invitations offered to pray with others. Ask others to join you for informal prayer. Offer to pray about concerns or problems raised in conversation with others. You don’t have to wait for the prayer group meeting to pray with someone or to pray for their needs. God loves to hear your prayers! Do it informally, simply and briefly on the spot. If the person is not a member of your prayer group, first ask their permission before sharing their problems with your group.
Confidently suggest prayer when problems are faced.
There is nothing too big or too small to bring to God’s attention. Anyone may call their prayer group or their church to prayer when a need is recognised. Breaking off the discussion in a board or business meeting for a season of prayer gives God opportunity to apply divine wisdom to the situation.
Give others a chance to pray
When praying in a group, leave some issues for others to cover. Keep your prayers short and to the point. Long comprehensive prayers are better offered in private.
Affirm the prayers of other audibly
While in group prayer tell God you agree with the prayers already offered and you affirm and uphold these petitions.
Use the names of other group members in your prayers.
Make an effort to memorise the names of each person in your prayer group. Mention their name as you affirm their prayer in the group.
Treat the prayers of others with respect
Leave the content of your group prayers with the Lord. It is not helpful to carry information shared in prayer away from the group or to air it elsewhere.
Follow through on your prayer promises
If you have promised to pray for someone or something in your prayer group, follow through. If you are likely to forget their request, keep a notebook handy and write requests as you receive them. Give people confidence knowing that their needs will be taken to the Lord by yourself and, if they wish, your prayer group.
Pray specific prayers
Get specific in your prayers. Give God the details, and don’t be afraid to ask Him for what you want. He has promised to answer the prayers of those who seek His will.
Who or what should your prayer group pray for?
If your prayer group is struggling for ideas on what you could pray for, here are some suggestions. You can pray for:
- Your pastor and his family
- Those in service industries — nurses, doctors, police, ambulance etc.
- Volunteers in your community and overseas.
- Service organisations such as ADRA, Salvation Army, and Red Cross
- Your children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews — and don’t forget the children of your friends.
- Schools, both Christian and non-Christian, that they will teach our children to be responsible citizens.
- Christian teachers in non-Christian schools, that they might be an effective witness.
- Your neighbours and families in your street or suburb. Is there a family who is struggling? Ask God to meet their needs.
- Government leaders and officials
- Your supervisor at work
- Your colleagues
- People suffering from the effects of natural disasters all over the world, whether it is drought, flood, earthquake or any other disaster.
- Refugees and others who have lost their homes due to civil war.
- Those suffering from religious persecution. Pray that their faith will remain strong, and that their persecutors will come to know Christ also.
- Your family
- Your spouse
- Missionaries, both at home and overseas, endeavouring to share the good news of the Gospel.