How to Lead a Prayer Meeting
Purpose of Group Prayer Time
Group prayer was a characteristic of the early Christians.
- Acts 12:12 - Peter went to the house of Mary where others gathered for prayer.
- Acts 1:13-14 - scripture records that all with one mind were continually devoting themselves to prayer, along with the women.
Old Testament characters also participated in group prayer.
- 2 Chronicles 6:13-42 records how Solomon prayed as all Israel gathered around.
Remember that the purpose of your prayer time is to communicate with God. It's not merely a ritual to get done or for preaching at each other.
During conversational prayer group members should 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 ‘one sentence prayers". Everyone is free to pray, or not to pray, as the Spirit directs. Don't worry about silence. Allow God to speak to everyone in the group during times of silence.
Enjoy different approaches to prayer
Be Creative! You can switch elements of prayer around, eliminate some of them or do something completely different. Don't make prayer boring or monotonous. It's an inspirational and enjoyable time where you leave feeling refreshed and renewed.
- As a prayer request is offered, have another member be responsible to pray for that request during the prayer time. This ensures that each person's request will be prayed for by at least one other person.
- You may wish to have group members record on a sheet of paper each request as it is given. They can refer to the list during the group prayer time as well as throughout the week.
- Ask group members to volunteer to pray for requests.
- You can pray for each request as soon as it's given, before sharing the next request; you can also share everything, have everyone write down the requests, then have a general time of prayer, covering each of the requests
Suggestions for Creative Prayer:
PRAYING BY TOPIC
Introduce a prayer topic or request, one at a time then allow the group a few minutes to pray for that request. When finished, the leader introduces another topic or request. Designate a specific person to close at the end of each time. This helps insure that the prayer time will not get stuck as everyone has had the opportunity to pray if they so desire. Below are some examples of topics that can be used:
"Thank God for His love, forgiveness, the beautiful day, the ways He is working in people's lives, etc." (then give the group time to thank God for these things before introducing another topic.)
"Thank God for something that has happened in your life in the past 24 hours."
"Please help _______________" (yourself or someone else).
"Please work in this _____________" (situation or need).
"Thank God for how He will answer your requests."
PRAY FOR INDIVIDUAL GROUP MEMBERS
Ask everyone present to write down their prayer requests, fold the paper and then have each person choose a prayer request to pray for during your time of prayer.
Have one person share his requests, then have the group pray for that one person, then have another person share requests and then the group prays for that person, continue until you have prayed for each person in the group.
OR, try praying without having a time of sharing requests first. You can have the group members introduce a need in as part of the prayer time then have others join in prayer for that request. After one person has been prayed for the next person can introduce the topic of prayer for himself or herself by praying a simple request and then allowing others to continue to pray for them. [For example: "Lord, please give me Your strength and courage to share the gospel with my group-mate." Others can then continue in prayer for this request.]
PRAY USING SCRIPTURE
Have the group use one or more passages of Scripture as their guide for praying. Choose any passage you feel is appropriate. Here's an example:
Phil.4:6: "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus."
‘Lord, you know how concerned I am right now for my upcoming exams. You tell me in Your Word not to be anxious for anything but to bring all my worries to You in prayer. Thank You for the privilege of studying here at this university. Thank You that You have given me an ability to learn and thank You for tests that challenge me to learn more. Will You direct my mind to the things I need to study right now? Will You give me Your peace in place of my anxiety? Please guard me from worrying about this and please allow me to rest in You."
Read a Psalm of praise (e.g. Psalm 104; Psalm 145; 150) or teach the group to pray using the following:
1. As a leader choose a Psalm or passage of Scripture.
2. Read a verse or part of a verse (phrase) aloud then prays a simple prayer relating to the phrase or scripture verse.
3. Other members of the group may add additional prayer or may silently agree.
4. The next person reads the next verse and then pauses to pray aloud.
5. Others follow with their prayers.
PRAY USING AN ACROSTIC
Here's how the ACTS guide works:
Adoration: Worshipping and praising God with your heart, mind and voice.
- Praise and pray through a Psalm, sing, adore God, praising Him for His attributes such as: loving kindness, holiness, compassion, majesty, etc. Praise Him for who He is.
- Sing a hymn and use the words of the hymn to guide your time for prayer.
- Select a few of God's attributes and spend the time meditating and praising Him for His character. Share answers to prayer and notice how these answers reflect different aspects of His character. Spend time thanking God for the answers and His faithfulness.
Confession: Agreeing with God concerning any sins He brings to your mind.
- Review I John 1:5-9 God will bring to mind what you need to confess.
- Allow time for confession.
Thanksgiving: Giving thanks to God for who He is, what He has done, what He will do in our lives and what He is doing in the ministry; a prayer expressing gratitude.
- Spend time in thanksgiving by reviewing I Thessalonians 5:18, Ephesians 5:20, Psalm 108:3, Psalm 50:23.
Supplication: Asking God for His divine help to meet needs, solve problems, work in someone's life, etc.
- Read Philippians 4:6,7; Psalm 116:1,2 and lead the group in supplication by praying aloud.
Introduce the PRAY acrostic.
- Ask for someone else
- Your own needs
USE SCRIPTURES TO PRAY FOR THE FULFILLMENT OF THE GREAT COMMISSION
USE SCRIPTURES TO PRAY FOR THE FULFILLMENT OF THE GREAT COMMISSION and the three other critical path steps in your Strategic Plan.
- Ask God to raise up others to join with you in praying for the lost students at your university.
- Pray that God will prepare individuals to understand and respond to the gospel (John 6:44).
- Pray that God will motivate believers to share the gospel with the unbelievers (Matthew 9:37-38; Colossians 4:3).
- Recognize that Satan has blinded the unbeliever, and acknowledge Christ's victory (Ephesians 6:12; II Corinthians 4:3-4; II Timothy 2:25,26; I John 3:8).
- Persist in these prayers (Daniel 10:12,13a; Luke 18:1-8).
- Thank God for your disciples (Philippians 1:3).
- Pray for deliverance from evil (unprincipled) companions (II Thessalonians 3:2).
- Pray that they will walk worthy of the Lord (Colossians 1:10).
- Pray for wisdom and revelation in knowledge of Christ (Ephesians 1:17).
- Pray for them to be strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man (Ephesians 3:16).
- Pray for their unity in the Spirit with other believers (John 17:23).
- Pray that their love may abound and that they may approve the things that are excellent (Philippians 1:9-10).
- Pray for boldness and opportunities to present the gospel to others (Colossians 4:3, Ephesians 6:19-20).
- Pray that they may mature and become fully assured of God's will (Colossians 4:12).
Sending disciples to the world with a vision and burden to reach the world around them
- Recognize the problem of the labor shortage in the spiritual harvest (Matthew 9:37-38; Romans 10:1315).
- Make a list of you want to send as missionaries (Isaiah 6:8; Matthew 9:37-38) and pray persistently for them.
- Pray for the fulfillment of the Great Commission in your area and around the world, according to His command and promise in Matthew 28:18-20 and 1John 5:14-15.
- Mobilize and teach others to pray for laborers (2 Timothy 2:2).
- Help expand the group's world vision by praying for specific country, overseas mission worker or group. (Your group may want to adopt a country to pray for regularly.)
OTHER IDEAS FOR PRAYER REQUESTS
• Christian students would confess their sins to God and choose to be filled with the Holy Spirit. Especially that Christians would break off immoral sexual relationships and be restored and walk in purity (I John 1:9; Joel 2:23).
• Non-Christians seek God and come to know Christ.
• The Holy Spirit convicts professors and administrators to receive Christ.
• God calls out committed believers in every area of campus. (dormitories, faculties, administration, teachers, etc.)
• Evangelistic surveys and outreaches are done in every study group, dorm, faculty.
• Christians of different ethnicities become united in spirit, intent on one purpose.
• Spiritual awakening revives believers and brings large numbers of unbelievers to Christ.
• Students gain an eternal perspective instead of defaulting to the usual temporal perspective that pervades college life.
• Graduating seniors would go where God calls them and they wouldn't seek security or materialism but instead serve God as full-time missionaries in their careers after graduation.
• The Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20) becomes the most important mission for every Christian on your campus and that Christians become pioneers of faith.
• Christians end all gossip and criticism.
• Spiritual awakening on campus affects the surrounding community and hundreds of students fill churches every week.
• Your zeal and love for Christ touches many campuses nearby.
• The greatest skeptics of Christianity on campus are won to Christ.
• For a growing worldwide network of prayer movements, a college student uprising for Christ around the world and thousands of missionaries go to the world.
HOW TO LEAD A PRAYER WALK
Consider the value of location. If you are praying with other students for lost students at your university, then it makes sense to pray at your university. It may not be possible to reserve a room where you have privacy to pray in the way you are accustomed to praying. So change your way of praying to adapt to the situation. A great biblical example of this is Nehemiah 2:4-5 where silent prayer was offered as he responded to the king of Persia.
You can talk with God as you walk. Many of the suggestions for a prayer meeting are not practical in this situation. You can't read scripture as you walk, you can't take notes as you walk, and you can't pray in a group. Other ideas fit well such as conversational prayer, using an acrostic, or praying through a written list of needs or names.
Prayer walks are best done with a partner, but you can also walk alone. If you have 5 people you can divide into two pairs and one person can pray by himself. Don't draw attention to yourselves. It is awkward to walk and pray with more than two people, but an alternative is to find a corner of a quiet hallway or building where you can stand and pray. Don't forget to keep your eyes open so you don't embarass yourselves or others walking by.