Here are 3 reasons why giving advice is a bad idea and 5 times it is appropriate.
It could be the all-night rambling. Maybe it's the complaining or the disguised gossiping. It might be the avoiding. It's certainly being contributed to by the chatting. And if we don't end on time, we can be relatively certain that those oh-so-spiritually-postured eyelids mean half of the group has fallen asleep.
Have you been frustrated with prayer time in your community group? I sure have. It can be hard as leaders to reign people in and foster God-honoring, sin-stomping, soul-working, growth-producing prayer time. How do we get there?
Enter: Community Group Prayer and Application Cards.
These cards help promote:
Spiritual Growth -- We stay focused on application of the group's discussion and intentional work towards heart-change.
Purposeful Prayer -- Our time gets guarded, everyone has a chance to share, and out-loud prayer becomes easier for those new to it.
Group Unity -- We have more specific things to pray for and connect with each other about during the week.
How to Use the Prayer and Application Cards:
Fill Them Out
When you break for prayer time, hand out the cards and give the group a few minutes to think quietly about how they're going to apply the last question from the group discussion to their lives.
Everyone writes their application and how the group can pray for them about it on their card. The space is limited to help people get specific.
A Tip from Our Group: We've recently started having everyone add a specific fruit of the Spirit from Galatians 5:22-23 that we want to see God grow in us through our individual life-application. It's been another great way to see continued life-change.
Share and Pray
Consider using a timer on a phone to divide up the remaining time and give each person an equal window for sharing.
One person shares from their card and then passes their card to the person next to them. That person prays about what's on the card, and can even just read the card out loud as a prayer if praying out loud is challenging for them. Then, it's their turn to share and pass their own card, and the circle continues.
A Tip from Our Group: We ask people to keep prayer requests for anyone else (i.e. relatives, friends, or co-workers) in emails and texts throughout the week.
When others are sharing, ask everyone to hold off on encouragement or advice.
Challenge everyone to write down their thoughts, take time later to pray, and listen to the Holy Spirit. Then, they can reach out to that person during the week, instead of at group.
A Tip from Our Group: We hand out blank cards right at the beginning of prayer time for this purpose so that everyone has a place ready to write comments down.
Collect the Cards
At the end, collect all of the cards.
Two suggestions at this point:
Send the prayer requests to the group in an email as a reminder of how to keep praying for one another.
Distribute one card to each person for focus praying for just one during the week.
- A Tip from Our Group: Try taking a photo of all of the cards on a phone and texting it to group members, to save time.
From the first week we used these cards, our group started to focus better, to pray more consistently, to recognize deeper growth, and to be careful to honor others. More than anything, the cards have been a catalyst for visible and ongoing life-change, and for many fewer prayer-time naps.
You can download and print copies of the Prayer and Application Cards HERE or bring 3x5 cards for the same purpose.
More Resources On Group Prayer
The Prayer Dashboard is designed to help you and your group members to better understand prayer - not for the sake of better understanding, but so that you can connect more deeply with your heavenly Father.
How do you make prayer safe for the new person? How do you improve the depth of prayer time? Check out these 10 ideas to develop a more meaningful prayer time.