This section is
primarily targeted at church leaders and those responsible for leading a prayer group.
Prayer groups can be highly effective ways of keeping the church in tune with God's Spirit
and leading, and ensuring that the life and ministry of the church is fully supported in
prayer. Alternatively they can be poorly attended, boring sessions that the
committed few attend regularly out of a sense of duty.
First consider two questions about your church's prayer groups.....
i.) What would be the effect on the church if they ceased to exist?
ii.) What is their purpose?
Church prayer groups need encouragement and
leadership if they are not to lose their direction. A number of different approaches
may be needed to keep the group open; open to the changing prayer needs of the church,
open to welcome new members into it, and open to the prompting of God's Spirit.
The first question above is not as daft as it
sounds. Prayer groups need not meet in perpetuity. For example, a group which meets to
pray for a particular activity may meet beforehand, may pray during the event itself, may
give thanks afterwards and then disband. Whilst prayer should remain a constant foundation
of the church, on which the mission and ministries of the church is based, the nature of
the group and its membership is likely to change.
Here are some suggestions to breathe new life
into prayer meetings :
1. Try varying the format of
prayer meetings - involving praise, silence, praying in twos, or fours, or all together as
a church, praying on a theme, listening, ministering to those with needs etc etc. The
wonderful reality of God's character is that He wants to communicate with us in many
different ways on many different topics. All too often, it's we who restrict the
2. Consider providing a variety
of times and locations of prayer groups - some people prefer meeting in larger
groups, others with three or four. Some prefer evening prayer meetings, others are unable
to get out of the house in the evenings. What about a prayer breakfast??
3. Create special interest
prayer groups, with a focus on particular issues such as mission in a particular
country, local needs, schools and colleges in the area, the elderly and so on.
4. Develop pastoral prayer
groups - concerned to pray for particular individuals known to the church (both
church members and those outside the church. Many people will have needs that will require
prayer over a longer period of time, and in more depth than can be taken care of by public
intercessions in church.
5. Forty Day groups :
Encouraging people to pray about a particular topic for forty days is a great way of
bringing some special focus onto a current need of the church. This can be a virtual
group, with a guide for people to pray through the topic in their own homes, or it could
link to other groups within the church, that home groups would pray for the same topics
during this period.
gives another slant on praying for a neighbourhood. This can take a range of approaches
from individuals praying as they walk around the parish, to structured prayer campaigns
for particular streets and homes. Prayerwalking can also give us insights on our towns and
cities as the Spirit provides insight as we walk the streets. Such insight can have a
powerful effect on our mission and ministry strategies.
7. A Prayer Event is a
special act of worship, but which will focus on prayer, either for a specific topic, or
more generally. The event is likely to include some worship, and some bible
readings, but the focus of our worship meetings is often on the preaching of the Word,
rather than on the prayer. The event could blend time spent in celebration, praise,
intercession and listening. The mix of "musical" worship and
"prayed" worship is likely to be a little different from a normal
celebration, but the prayer event will need a good worship leader and group who can lead
sensitively. The choice of worship songs will also need to be well thought through to lead
people into the different prayer sections.