Leading a Small Group

How to Lead a Prayer Meeting

Whatever group you are a part of — whether you are meeting together to grow in your faith or to actively make a difference in the world— making prayer a part of what you do is essential.

Prayer quiets our hearts and reminds us that we are not in control — that apart from God we can do nothing. It’s an active way to say as individuals or a group, “I trust You, Lord, and need You to move.”

“Unless the LORD builds a house,
the work of the builders is wasted.
Unless the LORD protects a city,
guarding it with sentries will do no good.”

Psalm 127:1, New Living Translation

Choose one or more of the following elements for your prayer meeting.

Be creative! You can switch the elements around, eliminate some of them or do something completely different.

Don’t make prayer boring or monotonous. A time of prayer is an inspirational and enjoyable time. People can leave feeling refreshed and renewed.

Let the Group Members Share Prayer Requests

One way you can start your meeting is to go around the group allowing each member to share his or her personal prayer requests.

Make sure to set a specific length of time for this so that your whole meeting isn’t just sharing requests without time to pray together.

You can pray for each request as soon it’s shared, or you can have someone record the requests on a sheet of paper or in a group text message or email. That way people can refer to it as you pray and throughout the week.

Conversational Prayer

During conversational prayer, group members can talk to God as they would talk to a friend. Encourage the group (especially a group unfamiliar with group prayer) to feel free to pray short sentence prayers.

Everyone is free to pray or not to pray as they feel led. Don’t worry about silence. Allow people to take time in silence to pray and listen.

Introduce a Prayer Topic or Request

Introduce prayer topics or requests one at a time and allow the group a few minutes to pray.

When finished, introduce another topic or request.

Designate a specific person to close at the end of each time. This helps ensure that the prayer time will not fizzle out once everyone has had the opportunity to pray.

Below are some examples of topics:

  • Thank God for His love, forgiveness, the beautiful day, the ways He is working in people’s lives and so on.

  • Thank God for something that has happened in your life in the past 24 hours.

  • Ask for God’s help with specific requests.

  • Thank God for how He will answer your requests.

Pray Using Scripture

Have the group use one or more verses from the Bible as their guide for praying. Choose any passage you feel is appropriate.

Read a Psalm of praise (e.g., Psalm 103, 145 or 150), or teach the group to pray using the following method:

  • The first person reads a phrase or verse aloud then prays a simple prayer relating to the phrase or verse.
     

  • Other members of the group join in and audibly or silently agree.
     

  • The next person reads a different verse then pauses to pray aloud.
     

  • Others follow with their prayers.

Use the “ACTS” Acrostic

“Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.”

James 5:16 (NLT)

Another way you can plan your prayer time is around the ACTS acrostic:

  • Adoration: Take time to start in prayer by worshipping and adoring God. Praise Him with your heart, mind and voice by sharing things that are true about His character.

  • Confession: Next you can take time as a group or in silence to confess, or agree with God about, any sins or mistakes you’ve made that He brings to mind.

    Make sure you let people know that they don’t have to share out loud with the group but that they can do this in silence.

    It’s good to encourage people to find a trusted friend they can share with if they don’t want to share with the group.

  • Thanksgiving: After that, take time to give thanks to God for who He is, what He has done and what He will do in your lives and ministry.

  • Supplication: Last, ask God for His help to meet needs, solve problems, work in someone’s life and so on. This is when you could bring up your prayer requests if you collected them at the beginning of your time together.

Keep an eye on your time so you can make it through each part. You are the leader, and you’ll transition the group through the different phases of your prayer time.

Introduce the “PRAY” Acrostic

Similar to the ACTS acrostic above, the elements of a time of prayer could be praise, repentance (admitting our sin to God and asking for forgiveness), a time to ask God for help on behalf of others, and a time to ask God to meet your own needs.

Pray for the Fulfillment of the Great Commission

Jesus told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:18-20).

This is what is referred to as the Great Commission. When praying for the fulfillment of these instructions that Jesus gave to all His followers, you can pray through the three topics below.

Click on each word to see examples of specific requests to pray as a group.
 

  • Pray that God will prepare people to understand and respond to the good news about Jesus (John 6:44).

  • Pray that God will motivate Christians to share their faith with those who don’t follow Jesus (Matthew 9:37-38).
     

  • Thank God for people who are following Jesus’ example with their lives, being mentored by others, and mentoring others in their faith (Philippians 1:3).
  • Pray that Christians would mature and become fully assured of God’s will for their lives (Colossians 4:12).
  • You can pray through:
    • Colossians 1:10; 4:3.
    • Ephesians 1:17; 3:16; 6:19-20.
    • John 17:23.
    • Philippians 1:9-10.
       

  • Pray that the Lord would call people to go and make Him known through their words and deeds (Matthew 9:37-38; Romans 10:13-15).
  • Pray for the fulfillment of the Great Commission in your area and around the world (Matthew 28:18-20; 1 John 5:14-15).
  • Pray that God would give your group a heart for others and see opportunities to “go.”


Other Things to Keep in Mind

You can encourage your group to pray outside your time together by asking each member to be responsible to pray for specific requests that you recorded during the prayer time. This way every request will be prayed for by at least one other person.

Prayer is a crucial part of any small group, Bible study or ministry.

For more ideas on how to lead a prayer meeting, check out “10 Ideas for Your Prayer Meeting”, or to continue to grow in your understanding of prayer, look over our Prayer Starter Kit.

To learn more about leading your small group or Bible study, visit the page “(Almost) Everything You Need to Know About Leading a Small Group.”

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