Prayer is a beautiful gift from God. But leading prayer may feel intimidating and can take time to become natural and enjoyable. Maybe, at first, the people you are leading are not inclined to spend their time and energy on prayer. Maybe that’s because they don’t yet know how to navigate entering God’s presence in prayer or have yet to experience the beauty of prayer.
Consider This Metaphor As You Lead Others in Prayer
Imagine you are a really good sailor. You know the time and hard work involved – maintaining the boat, navigating the sails, making sure you don’t find yourself in the Bermuda Triangle.
But you also know the beauty of sailing. How wonderful it is to escape to the middle of the waters, engulfed by God’s beauty. The sun shining on your face. The smell of ocean air filling your lungs. The sound of the waves. All of your senses are ignited in a most unique, extraordinary way.
And because good things multiply in beauty when they are shared, this is something you want to share with your loved ones. So you take some friends sailing who have never been before.
For at least the first time, you’ll put in the hard work and allow your friends to sit back, relax, and enjoy the marvelous gift of the journey – the incredible scenery, thrilling sensations, and breathtaking beauty. You want to show them that the hard work of sailing is worth it. You want them to see what you’ve been talking about and experience it themselves.
The next time you take them, you might show them a bit of the diligence and devotion it takes to really enjoy that sailing trip. You might show them how to get the sails up or ask for help navigating. You continue to show them more and more with each trip.
The more they experience it, the more they will know that all of the time and effort they invest will lead to an inexpressible, captivating adventure that they don’t want to miss out on.
What if we approached leading prayer in a similar way? Prayer can involve diligence and devotion. It’s a sacrifice of our time and sometimes even our physical, emotional, and mental energy. But it’s oh so worth it to get to that place where we’re communing with our Creator, sharing our heart with our Savior, seeking truth from the Holy Spirit.
So as you help those you lead learn to enter God’s presence in prayer, it’s important that you “take them sailing” to see just how deep and beautiful and marvelous the waters are.
Just as sailing is so much more than the work and preparation involved, prayer, too, is more. It’s a journey of opening ourselves to God’s presence. A taste of heaven on earth. In prayer, we can hear God’s sweet whisper to us. Feel His peace-soaked presence. Taste His goodness. All of our senses can be ignited when we get to that sweet place that only prayer can bring us to.
As you lead prayer, make it a goal to get those you’re leading to that place of awe, wonder, beauty, and love. Then, they’ll want to keep going back, and be willing to put in the time and effort to get there. How do we do that?
Some Things to Consider When Leading Prayer
- Share motivation to pray.
Our identity as God’s beloved children invites us to experience His love and express our growing love toward Him. His heart toward us is one of great delight and joy. He loves when we come to Him. He loves to spend time with His children. Help others embrace this truth. Like getting all the ropes properly in place on a sailboat, we prepare our hearts with the truth of God’s indescribable love for us. (For some inspiration, see 1 John 3:1, Zephaniah 3:17, Jeremiah 31:3, Matthew 11:28.)
- Set direction.
We need a map to navigate our sailing voyage, so pray and ask God to help you set a direction for your prayer meetings. Maybe God wants you to use a certain portion of Scripture to inspire your time of prayer or to spend the whole time adoring Him. Maybe you will intercede on behalf of a certain group of people. Whatever you and God decide on, be clear about that direction at the onset of your meetings to create an atmosphere of unity.
- Make a plan.
You probably wouldn’t want to plan a sailing trip without a set time. Be logical in setting a time for your prayer meetings. Will it be once a week for an hour? Do you want to plan longer prayer times once a month or once a semester? Maybe even an overnight prayer vigil?
- Find a prayer mentor.
Look for a mature believer whom you can learn to pray alongside. Look for someone to take you sailing. Cru staff or your local church should be able to help you if you are unsure who might help.
- Just enjoy the beauty.
It’s okay – even helpful – to have periods of silence in your prayer journey. Silence often helps us soak in the beauty of both God and nature. Embrace the silence and embrace God’s beauty.
- Trust God to do immeasurably more than all you can ask or imagine.
God is with you as you lead. And unlike the wind, which can be unpredictable, God’s wisdom, love, and grace are unchanging. He will always guide you and never forsake you. He will always love you and be proud of your heart for prayer. He will always give you grace. So trust Him. Trust Him to do immeasurably more than all you can ask or imagine through these times of prayer and through His power at work in you. You’re not on that sailboat alone because He is always with you.
Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen.