A prayer group is a group of Christians who meet regularly to pray.
Prayer is a powerful weapon against the devil, and it is also an important tool in encouraging and uplifting others.
A prayer group needs people committed to praying together. A prayer group invites and encourages others to share their prayer needs and as a group, offers prayers of praise, petition and thanksgiving to God. It should be a safe place for people to share their concerns, joys and heartaches, knowing that many are praying on their behalf.
Table of contents
- 1 How to Start a Prayer Group
- 2 Tips for Prayer Group Leaders
- 3 Tips for running prayer group meetings
- 4 Essentials of a successful prayer group
- 5 Who or what should your prayer group pray for?
- 6 Use a Prayer List
- 7 Pray in Groups
- 8 Distribute Information
- 9 Pray for an Unreached People Group
- 10 Pray for Leadership
- 11 Keep a Reminder of Answered Prayers
- 12 Assign Prayer Requests
- 13 Your Prayer Meeting Ideas?
How to Start a Prayer Group
- Seek out other Christians and ask if they will pray with you on a regular basis.
- If you are finding it difficult to invite others to join you, don’t be discouraged. Pray that God will lead you to someone.
- Remember: you only need two to start a prayer group.
- Pray that your group will grow.
- Choose a suitable meeting place. For example, meet in each other’s home; meet outside in a park; find a spare room in the office during your lunch hour.
- Make a commitment to meet at a certain time once a week, fortnightly, monthly, or whatever suits you.
- Set aside a specific time period — most groups are comfortable with one hour.
- If you wish to bring your prayer group to the attention of others, begin to advertise as soon as possible. A notice could be placed in church or school newsletters and bulletins, or in community noticeboards. It will attract other Christians to your group, and it will let your church and/or community know that you are praying for them.
Tips for Prayer Group Leaders
- Pray regularly for your group, that it will grow in love and unity.
- Encourage your group to support one another. The care that you give each other can be a powerful witness to those around you.
- Keep a book with names, addresses and telephone numbers of your group.
- Keep another book with a record of things prayed for.
- Work out dates, times and venues of meetings for six months ahead, and give a copy to each member of the group.
- If you are praying for specific institutions, such as local schools or businesses, make an appointment with the appropriate people and convey the following (as appropriate):
- Your concern for the pressures people face today (whether those people are school children, people in the workforce etc)
- The formation of your prayer group
- Your willingness to pray for specific needs
- As your group grows, consider a co-leader to help and support you.
- Allow another person to lead the group from time to time, so that it doesn’t become dependent on you.
- Be mindful that if you leave, someone needs to replace you.
Tips for running prayer group meetings
- When you meet, reassure people that they don’t have to pray out loud. Some people need time before they feel comfortable praying in front of others.
- Have a list of prayer points ready before each meeting. This can be added to when you get together.
- If the meeting is in a home, and you are going to offer refreshments, consider offering them at the end rather than at the beginning of your time together.
- As far as possible, keep to the agreed time schedule.
- Begin with an opening prayer, dedicating your time together to the Lord.
- Give a short devotional, or nominate another person in the group to do so (having asked them ahead of time).
- Sharing time: this period will develop as people begin to know each other better and as special needs become apparent.
- Combined prayer can begin with praise and thanksgiving. Try to vary input, such as reading of Psalms, singing, or play praise music.
- Remember: There is no right or wrong! If a particular format suits your prayer group one week, but doesn’t seem right the next, that’s alright. Choose the style of prayer group meeting that’s right for your group.
Essentials of a successful prayer group
Be committed to praying with others
Jesus responds to united hearts. When we show our willingness to pray in harmony and love, the Lord promises to be present.
Take advantage of any opportunity to pray with others
Accept the invitations offered to pray with others. Ask others to join you for informal prayer. Offer to pray about concerns or problems raised in conversation with others. You don’t have to wait for the prayer group meeting to pray with someone or to pray for their needs. God loves to hear your prayers! Do it informally, simply and briefly on the spot. If the person is not a member of your prayer group, first ask their permission before sharing their problems with your group.
Confidently suggest prayer when problems are faced.
There is nothing too big or too small to bring to God’s attention. Anyone may call their prayer group or their church to prayer when a need is recognised. Breaking off the discussion in a board or business meeting for a season of prayer gives God opportunity to apply divine wisdom to the situation.
Give others a chance to pray
When praying in a group, leave some issues for others to cover. Keep your prayers short and to the point. Long comprehensive prayers are better offered in private.
Affirm the prayers of other audibly
While in group prayer tell God you agree with the prayers already offered and you affirm and uphold these petitions.
Use the names of other group members in your prayers.
Make an effort to memorise the names of each person in your prayer group. Mention their name as you affirm their prayer in the group.
Treat the prayers of others with respect
Leave the content of your group prayers with the Lord. It is not helpful to carry information shared in prayer away from the group or to air it elsewhere.
Follow through on your prayer promises
If you have promised to pray for someone or something in your prayer group, follow through. If you are likely to forget their request, keep a notebook handy and write requests as you receive them. Give people confidence knowing that their needs will be taken to the Lord by yourself and, if they wish, your prayer group.
Pray specific prayers
Get specific in your prayers. Give God the details, and don’t be afraid to ask Him for what you want. He has promised to answer the prayers of those who seek His will.
Who or what should your prayer group pray for?
If your prayer group is struggling for ideas on what you could pray for, here are some suggestions. You can pray for:
- Your pastor and his family
- Those in service industries — nurses, doctors, police, ambulance etc.
- Volunteers in your community and overseas.
- Service organisations such as ADRA, Salvation Army, and Red Cross
- Your children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews — and don’t forget the children of your friends.
- Schools, both Christian and non-Christian, that they will teach our children to be responsible citizens.
- Christian teachers in non-Christian schools, that they might be an effective witness.
- Your neighbours and families in your street or suburb. Is there a family who is struggling? Ask God to meet their needs.
- Government leaders and officials
- Your supervisor at work
- Your colleagues
- People suffering from the effects of natural disasters all over the world, whether it is drought, flood, earthquake or any other disaster.
- Refugees and others who have lost their homes due to civil war.
- Those suffering from religious persecution. Pray that their faith will remain strong, and that their persecutors will come to know Christ also.
- Your family
- Your spouse
- Missionaries, both at home and overseas, endeavouring to share the good news of the Gospel.
When you come together with a group of friends, family or church members and you want to pray, it is helpful to have a purpose for your time of prayer. This purpose can be defined by a particular event, person or activity that you are praying for. When you are gathered around with fellow believers to pray you should also have a plan to go along with your purpose. Here are seven prayer meeting ideas that will help you plan your prayer meetings.
Use a Prayer List
This is a list of names or events that you are praying for. You may be able to assemble part of the list before the prayer time starts. If you already know specific things you will be praying about, have this list pre-populated. You can do that by giving people a prayer request slip at a previous meeting so that you will have time to create the list to give to those in attendance.
Make sure everyone in the group has a prayer list and give them an opportunity to add new requests from the group. One person can write the new requests on a whiteboard or blackboard. Optionally you can distribute pens and pencils with the lists so that people can add the new requests to their own prayer list.
If you are praying for a specific person or event, make sure everyone knows the important information to pray for. Allow the Lord to lead in the prayer time, but try to keep the focus on the main purpose for the prayer meeting.
Pray in Groups
Many churches have a prayer meeting in which one or two people pray aloud. Certainly that is fine, but if you broke up into smaller groups of 2 to 4 people at a time, you could have more people calling out to the Lord in a shorter period of time. I’m pretty confident He can understand 10 (or 10,000) people praying at once.
Often we are told to pray for the missionaries, but we don’t know what the missionaries need prayer for. If you are praying for a particular missionary or country it would be helpful to include some pertinent facts and prayer points about the country or missionary family.
When praying for a missionary or a group of missionaries, have recent prayer letters available for people to read. Many churches have missionary letters posted around the church. Take time to read the letters and jot down specific prayer requests the missionaries have. This will help you pray more effectively for their needs and requests.
Pray for an Unreached People Group
There are various agencies which have compiled information about unreached people groups around the world. The one I use most of the time for information is the Joshua Project. They have an unreached people group that they emphasize every day. You can visit their website and read about the group of the day or search for information on a people group you are interested in. Also, you can check out the video at the top of this article for more information on the goal of the Joshua Project.
Pray for Leadership
Each time you meet have a plan to pray for someone in leadership. This can be someone in government or a church leader. In one church I attended they had a weekly prayer bulletin in which they highlighted a church staff member, a government official and a government agency to pray for. They would give us the name and position of the person, or in the case of the government agency they would simply give the name. Specifically we were praying for local police, fire and rescue agencies.
Keep a Reminder of Answered Prayers
You can keep a journal for the group of the requests and when the prayers were answered. This can be visually represented in many ways. You can add a pebble to a glass jar each time a prayer is answered. Each request can be written on a separate paper or note card and have them in a file box or stack in a common meeting area. This will allow people to read the request, when you started praying for it and when God answered the prayer.
Assign Prayer Requests
If you are praying through a list of requests you can break the list down into smaller chunks and assign these to different people. This prayer meeting idea will insure that everything on the list gets prayed for during your prayer meeting. You will eliminate the problem of everyone praying for the same three requests and forgetting the other ten. Assigning people to pray also cuts down on the awkward time in many churches where the pastor says “whoever feels led to pray, speak up.” That can create long moments of silence when no one is praying. I know we should all pray during a prayer time, but those moments of silence are awkward and people stop praying silently because they don’t know if it is time to stop, if someone else will start praying, or if they should be the one to start praying aloud.
Your Prayer Meeting Ideas?
There are many different prayer meeting ideas that can be beneficial to the other readers. What are some of the things you do in your church or prayer group that might be helpful to others? We would love for you to share them in the comments.
For Some Prayer Ideas Check These Out:
10 Powerful Prayers For Strength
www.youtube.com “Joshua Project”
Image: podpad / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
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You can be creative in how you collect prayer requests by trying one of these ideas:
- Assign a group member to write down each person’s prayer requests on a board or large piece of paper for all to see. You can break into smaller groups, assigning specific requests to each group, or pause after each request is shared to pray as a large group.
- Do a prayer exchange by inviting people to bring pictures or letters from missionaries they support or children they sponsor. Take a few moments for those who brought information to tell something about each item, then trade the pictures or letters among group members.
- Pray for the world combining a globe or map, prayer requests from The Global Prayer Movement website , or other international resources, such as Operation World, a global prayer almanac published by WEC International. It will expand your vision for what God is doing elsewhere.
- Use pictures from magazines, newspapers or materials like Soularium. Spread out the pictures, have everyone choose one that best represents their request, and give each person the opportunity to explain the connection between the image and their need before praying.
- Pray for the persecuted church worldwide. Open Doors USA is an organization that provides important information about Christians who suffer for their beliefs and offers various ways to gather prayer requests.
- Conversational Prayer is praying as if you are having a discussion between all of you and God. Each prayer is brief, maybe a few sentences at a time, and related to what the person before said. This method works best between people who already know one another.
- Sentence Prayers, praying only one sentence at a time, creates a more interactive environment for a group. By limiting the words you speak, you open your mind and heart to what God is saying to others. This method can be combined with Popcorn Prayer, members praying aloud following no particular pattern or order.
- Korean-style Prayer, modeled after the commonly used method in Korea to pray out loud simultaneously, expands your vision of how God hears our prayers. It is a tangible experience of how He can listen to every prayer given at every moment from a limitless number of people.
- Prayer Walking gets you active and in the area you are praying for. With open eyes, you see the needs of the people and the area in order to pray more specifically for them.
- Prayer Acrostics are step-by-step guides to your prayer time. Two examples are ACTS (Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication) and PRAY (Praise, Repent, Ask for others, and Y our own needs).
In the end, it’s not which method you use that’s important.
“Prayer is difficult. It is not the techniques that are hard-most of the techniques are amusingly easy. Rather the difficulty lies in following through on the commitment to pray in the face of distractions that bear down on us or pick at us like annoying bugs, driving us away from the presence of God,”
— Daniel Wolpert in his book Creating a Life with God.
The greater value lies in taking regular time to go to the Lord in prayer.
Last week I shared about the four years I spent in a prayer group and how you might start your own prayer group.
As promised, I’m sharing the Prayer Guide we used each week to keep us focused.
You are welcome to print and use it as is, or tweak it and make it your own.
You can download the free printable PDF file by clicking the link: Prayer Group Guide
We essentially followed the ACTS Prayer model which I shared about in my post Teach Your Team to Pray Out Loud.
Before we started to pray:
- One group member would pick a scripture verse to share.
- We choose 1 child each week to specifically and thoroughly cover in prayer. We had at least 11 children and grandchildren between all of us. It was impossible to cover each one in prayer every week. We didn’t make a list or rotate through the names, but instead prayed according to the greatest need that week.
- We wrote down each other’s personal prayer requests. We tried very hard to limit them to 2 personal requests per person. Remind your group to stick to the highlight reel as you share and write down requests. It’s so easy to want to give all the background info, share the story behind the request, and ask questions. There’s really not enough time for everyone to share in great detail without short-changing your time in prayer. Plus God knows the details!
We did not go around the circle, but would “popcorn” our prayers during our time together.
(You may want to print out or open the Prayer Group Guide before continuing.)
How our prayer time worked:
- After the scripture verse was read, we jumped right into a time of praising God for who He is.
- We never required anyone confess out loud. As our group became more comfortable with one another most of us did offer up prayers of confession. They tended to be more general than specific – I.E. bad attitude, hurtful words, and gossip. God knew the details of each one.
- Thanksgiving was a time for thanking God for what He has done. It was also the time we lifted up thanks for answered prayer.
- We prayed through our personal requests. Not everyone prayed over every request. We only added prayers when we felt the Holy Spirit’s prompting. We knew after a pause that it was time to move to the next person’s requests.
- We prayed general prayers for our marriages (protection, time to connect, God would strengthen, etc.).
- We prayed general prayers for all of our husbands (God would bless the work of their hands, time with God to be fruitful, spiritual leadership, etc.).
- We prayed general prayers for our children (safety, future spouses, health, school, spiritual growth, etc.).
- We prayed for our church (Pastors, upcoming events, congregation, etc.).
- We prayed for our nation (elections, wisdom for leaders, leaders would seek God’s will, etc.)
- We prayed for missionaries (often by name, for their safety, boldness in witnessing, provision, etc.)
- We always ended by praying for the lost (those have not yet acknowledged Christ as their Savoir). We made a list of names of friends and family members that we suspected were lost. (Only God knows where each one stands.) We made up a bookmark and would add names to the list as needed. We would pray for each by name out loud and would add specific prayers for their salvation (softened hearts, ears to be opened to the message, God would remove any strongholds, etc.). If we found out they had accepted Christ, we took them off the list and thanked God during our time of prayer.
Now that I’ve walked you through the Prayer Guide, let me share a few tips with you. After 4 years of meeting, we had come up with a routine that worked well for us.
Prayer Group Tips
- Make copies of the Prayer Group Guide for the group each week.
- Use the same format each week.
- Walk newcomers through your format before your time of prayer.
- Pray for what the Holy Spirit prompts you to pray. I was always amazed when what I was thinking was what someone else was praying out loud!
- Once it’s covered, it is covered. Everyone does not need to pray for every person or every topic.
- Often we added worship music to our time together. We’d play just one song and then we’d jump right into the scripture and time of prayer.
A few thoughts on posture:
- We prayed on our knees on the floor on top of cushions.
- We kneeled in front of soft cubes.
- We even laid on the floor at times.
- Get comfortable.
Whew! I know I shared a LOT with you, but I hope those details will help as you meet together in prayer with other women.
If your women’s ministry team meets regularly to pray, you may find using a similar format helps to organize your prayer time together.
Do you have any suggestions for participating in a prayer group? We’d love to hear them!
You may also want to read:
How to Start a Prayer Group
Teach Your Team to Pray Out LoudHow can I pray for you?War Room Experience and Prayer ResourcesMy Favorite Prayer Cards & 8 Ways to Use Them
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