Do you wish your small group would spend more time praying? Here are three ways to incorporate more time for communicating with God during your gatherings. Praying together can transform your small group time because God loves to meet with us and make us more like Jesus.
1. Pray with the Bible.
Bible study is crucial, but we can also pray with God’s Word, trusting that his Holy Spirit will lead us and guide while doing so. Why not take a passage of Scripture each week and turn it into a prayer? For instance, here’s how you could pray through Ephesians 1:17-19 as a group:
Glorious God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, we ask that you’d give us your Spirit of wisdom and revelation so we can know you better. Open the eyes of our hearts and enlighten us, that we may know the hope to which you have called us—the riches of your glorious inheritance and your incomparably great power. Amen.
2. Pray Jesus’ prayer.
A wonderful truth of the Bible is that God promises to be with his people. When Jesus shared with his disciples after their last supper together, he promised that they would be united with him even as branches are connected to a vine (see John 15:1-7). Jesus then prayed for his friends, and his friends to come—us!
Spend some time praying through Jesus’ prayer in John 17:6-26. Lead your group in putting Jesus’ prayer into their own words so it sinks deeply into each person’s inner being. Encourage them to ask God to reveal something about how he dwells within those who follow him through his Son and the Holy Spirit.
3. Lament together with a psalm.
We all face troubles in this world; we all face loss. Together as a group we can bring our pain to God, lamenting before him. As we release our sorrows to him, he will meet us with his presence.
We can use the fourfold pattern of lament in Psalm 22 as our guide. You could read through the psalm together and discuss how David lamented and then give people time to write out their own prayers of lament. When you come back as a group, take time to share and pray together.
Following Psalm 22:
- Address God intimately (for instance, as David did, “My God, my God”).
- Name your complaint (“Why have you forsaken me?”).
- Present your request to God (“Lord, do not be far from me.”).
- Express your trust in God (“All the ends of the earth . . .”).
Trust that God hears your cries and will cover you with his love and grace.
What God promises to individuals he will also follow through on with groups—when we seek him, we’ll find him (see Proverbs 8:17). Know that as you incorporate more prayer into your meetings, God will pour out his responses of affirmation, truth, and grace on each person, binding you together with his love.
This article is adapted from Amy Boucher Pye’s book 7 Ways to Pray, a resource with many other hands-on prayer ideas. Amy is an author, speaker, and retreat leader. Connect with her at amyboucherpye.com.