My small group loves to talk. We can talk about all sorts of things---golf, politics, kids, grandkids, our church. Our discussions around the study materials are lively and insightful. We’ve even gotten to the point where we dare to admit some things we struggle with as we go about our lives as Jesus’ disciples. Then comes the prayer time. A couple of people may ask us to pray for things going on in their lives and then…zip....no more talking, only deep silence. All eyes turn toward the table for fear somebody besides me will be asked to pray.
I understand their fear. We haven’t had enough time together to know one another all that well. Most are new to this whole small group thing and relatively new in faith. Today I’m asking myself how I can gently lead them to feel comfortable praying out loud as a group. Here’s what I’ve thought of so far:
- We could start the next session in prayer. Each person could say just one thing they are thankful for from their day.
- For the closing prayer, I could ask each person to pray one sentence, asking God to help them with one challenge from the lesson.
- We could read a Psalm together out loud.
- We could break up into a men's and women's group and see if a smaller group is less intimidating.
- I could lead through the prayer time by naming a topic and asking them to pray silently about that topic.
- I could write out sentence prayers, pass them out to the group and ask them to read what I've written.
- Each one of us could write a short prayer and give them to me to pray out loud.
- I could just say, "Tonight I'm not going to be the only one who prays. Who else will say a prayer?"
I'm sure some of you have some great ideas to share. Will you help me out by posting them?