This is a condensed version of this longer list of suggestions; Conversational Prayer
“For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them” (Matthew 18:20)
Having been the Director of the Canadian Prayer Alert for nineteen years and having worked with many churches and prayer organizations, I have made some interesting observations. It seems that most denominations and Christian organizations have developed their own prayer culture – one in which they feel comfortable praying.
Sometimes we become so familiar with how we pray that we become insensitive to new members in the group who may never have prayed aloud before. Or maybe you yourself don’t feel comfortable praying aloud in prayer groups.
Do you avoid praying aloud in public or in prayer groups? Have you been part of a prayer group where one person dominated the prayer time and didn’t let anyone else pray? You wanted to pray aloud but because you didn’t want to be rude, you ended up praying silently?
Have you been in a prayer group where someone used the time to pray/preach to someone in the group? Have you wanted to pray aloud, but didn’t think your prayers were acceptable to the group because you are a new Christian?
I suppose we have all experienced one or more of these scenarios. Remember that the purpose of your prayer time is to communicate with God. It should never be viewed as a ritual or as a time to “preach” to one another.
Conversational prayer is a group of people who talk to God in the same way they talk to a friend. Members use everyday conversational language. If you are the leader of the group, encourage all the people in the group (especially a group unfamiliar with group prayer) to feel free to pray sentence prayers, expressing only a brief thought in one or two sentences.
Here are some ways to pray conversationally:
Leader Introduce Topics
Introduce a prayer topic or request, one at a time. The group will then pray about this topic or request. Then the leader will introduce another topic or request.
Shared Prayer Requests
Allow the group to share prayer requests. As a prayer request is offered you could ask another member to 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.
Pray Through Scripture
This method allows the group to use one or more passages of Scripture as a prayer guide. You can choose any passage that you feel will be appropriate. Here are some examples:
Choose a Psalm of praise such as Psalm 103, Psalm 145 or Psalm 150.
Pray for Workers
Recognize the problem of the labor shortage in the spiritual harvest. (Matthew 9:37-38; Romans 10:13-15)
Sing a hymn prayerfully and then use the words of the hymn to guide the prayer time.
Use the Attributes of God
Select one or more attributes of God and spend the time meditating on those attributes and praising Him for His attributes. Share answers to prayer and spend the time thanking God for the answers and His faithfulness.
Father, help us to teach new Christians and older, shy Christians how to pray in small groups. Amen