Conversation Prayer – The Six S’s – This idea came from a classic book by Evelyn Christianson, What Happens When Women Pray. It also works well with men! Use these six guidelines as you pray together.
- Subject by Subject - Pray one subject at a time. A group member prays a request. Other group members stay on the topic with agreement, affirmation, scripture, and additional prayers. When the topic has been covered, the group moves on to the next subject. The group is aware that they are ready to move on when there is silence or general agreement. Prayer requests are prayed as people pray or the leader introduces requests, collected earlier, one at a time. This method encourages group members to listen to what others are saying and to the Spirit’s leading.
- Short – Conversational prayer works best when people limit their prayers to phrases and sentences. Short prayers allow more people to participate; they take the pressure off those who are uncomfortable speaking in groups and encourage listening.
- Simple - Use conversational language. Be honest and authentic. State the request and prayers in everyday language. This style puts the focus on the request rather than the person praying.
- Specific - Pray specific requests not answers. Record prayer requests and celebrate answers. One member can record the topics of prayer.
- Silence - Silence is more than OK. Listen in the silence. How is God leading you to pray? Is there a verse, song or image that God is brining to mind?
- Small Groups - The group size is determined by people’s ability to participate. People must be able to hear each other. In busy settings, groups will be smaller. This method works in groups of three or more.
Praying Scripture – Praying scripture is a powerful way of praying in God’s will for your group.
- Prayers from the Bible - Use a prayer from the Bible as the outline for prayer. Let’s say you are using the Lord’s Prayer. Read the first phrase, “Our Father in heaven, hallowed by your name.” The group follows the theme of each line and adds praises, request or thoughts. Move on to the next phrase.
- Bible Study Passage – The group prays phrases or ideas from the Bible study. The leader opens. The group looks back through the study and prays something that caught their attention. If you have studied Acts 2, a participant might pray, “Lord help us to be devoted to your teaching, to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” This method works great for people new to small group prayer because they do not have to come up with a new idea. The passage shows them what to pray. This is very interactive and powerful.
- Pray a Blessing - Ask members to pray a blessing from scripture over each other. One member can sit in the middle; other members can lay hands on them and pray together, “Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Eph 1:3) Or, each member can pray this for the person next to them. Go around the group until everyone has been prayed for.
These are great helps Sam! One thing that has worked well in our small group, is to separate the men and the women for prayer. We find that when we are in different rooms, the prayers in both groups come more freely. I'm sure its the smallness of the group that encourages participation, but also the single gender in each group allows for some freedom in prayer.
In another Bible study group that I host, we also will divide into small groups of 3 or 4, for a short prayer time, which encourages each person to pray, while developing closer relationships. Our journey to God, is something that should be practiced in deep community with each other. Smaller groups for prayer encourages these deeper relationships.
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