Charles Spurgeon once said, “Prayer is the powerhouse of the church.” His statement was true then and it is true now. Unless God’s people are actively praying for His hand on His Church and His leading in His Mission, they will be devoid of power and without direction.
Luke tells his reader in Acts 2:42 four things that the followers of Jesus devoted themselves to: the apostle’s teaching, prayer, communion, and fellowship with other believers. At its core, it was these four things that comprised the meetings of the early church. However, many churches today have a skewed view of prayer. The pastors and worship leaders pray on stage once or twice a Sunday, and individual Christians pray in private, before a meal, or if they are in trouble. Of course, these are all valid uses of prayer, but if prayer stops here as Spurgeon said, the church loses much of its power.
As a Lifegroup leader, you have the tremendous privilege and the tremendous responsibility of leading a small group of people as they seek to grow together and in their walk with Christ. This is no easy task, but one that is well worth the effort. At Lifepoint Church, as you lead, we want you to do three things: pray, prepare, and pursue. This blog will focus on how to pray in your Lifegroup. As stated before, prayer is vital to the health of the church (and your Lifegroup), but many of us struggle with how to utilize this spiritual weapon that God has given us. Here are 3 simple, yet effective ways to pray during your Lifegroup meeting.
1. Pray at the start of your Lifegroup.
This may sound obvious, but it is extremely important to begin your time meeting with one another in prayer. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 2 that unless one has the Spirit of God, they cannot understand His Word. Humbly approach God in prayer and ask Him to allow His Spirit to open your hearts to understand His Word and apply the truth to your lives. Unless the Spirit is active, there will be no transformation. As the leader, you can lead this time in prayer, or you can appoint a few people to pray for these things at the start of your time together. Another great way to open your group is to read and then pray through a Psalm. Many of the psalms are songs or prayers addressed to God that reflect a wide range of circumstances and are a great way to prepare your hearts for studying the Word of God.
2. Pray during your Lifegroup.
One of the misconceptions about prayer is that it can only be done to open or close something, but this is not what we see in Scripture. Paul says in 1 Thessalonians 5:17 that Christians should pray continually. We should never cease to pray. This verse applies in the Lifegroup setting, too. Whenever your group reads a command of God in the Bible, pause and ask God to grant you obedience to His command. If a promise of God comes up, pause and ask God to help you hold onto that promise. If a physical or spiritual need of a group member arises, pause and pray for that need right then and there. It may feel awkward at first, but cultivating an attitude and practice of continual prayer in your group will draw you closer to God and each other. Sit back and be amazed at how God responds to the prayers of His people.
3. Pray at the end of your Lifegroup.
Again, this may seem obvious, but don’t forget to save a few minutes at the end of your group to approach the Lord in prayer. Ask Him to help you be doers of the Word, not just hearers only (James 1:22-25). Ask Him to let His Spirit transform your lives this week as He brings your lives under submission to His Word and conforms you into the image of Jesus. This is also a great opportunity to take prayer requests. It is important that you take time to pray for the physical and spiritual needs of those in your group. Don’t forget to send out the prayer requests in your group communication platform so that you all can be praying for each throughout the week. Feel free to mix up how you pray. There is no perfect format. You can break up into smaller groups, divide up guys and girls, or go around the circle having those members who are comfortable pray for a request or two.
“Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace in time of need.”