How to Lead a Prayer Meeting Effectively
Your prayer meeting’s primary goal should be ensuring everyone can participate and pray, so make sure participants share any specific prayers requests they have.
After sharing, ask people to consider what they heard from God during the listening time. This can be especially useful if your group is new to praying together.
An effective prayer meeting takes careful planning and organization. Communicate to attendees the expectations for the prayer meeting and set some ground rules if anyone is new to praying with others. Doing this helps avoid issues from occurring during a prayer meeting, such as someone dominating or discussing matters that don’t pertain to its overall goal.
Assure all participants know the call information in advance by disseminating it several days in advance, then reminding people on the day of prayer meetings. You should start the call five or ten minutes early so people have time to log on and become comfortable before starting prayers.
Preparing for a prayer meeting requires sending out a list of topics that will be covered during the meeting, giving attendees time to prepare prayer requests and focus on those most pressing. Furthermore, including an overarching topic for everyone in the group to pray over such as world peace or the needs of certain missions is also helpful in preparation.
Leaders of prayer meetings face one of the greatest challenges in managing difficult participants: managing difficult attendees. If someone is taking up too much of your group’s prayer time, intervening by praying out loud for them could help keep things on track and the meeting on schedule. Depending on your setting and circumstances, speaking directly to that individual afterwards might also help explain that their behavior was inappropriate and must change.
Set a Theme
If your prayer meeting involves people with different needs, introducing themes can help bring everyone closer together and focus prayers more effectively. A short talk or Bible passage on your theme might also serve to prep people for what they will be praying about during your meeting and generate excitement around its topic.
After an introduction, you can launch the prayer time by inviting all attendees to share personal prayer requests. Set a length of time aside for this activity and let everyone know you will pray for each request as it comes in. Keeping a record of these prayer requests on a board, large piece of paper, or group text message so people can revisit them later during the week is also useful so everyone remembers them for future prayer sessions.
Once everyone has shared their prayer requests, you can move onto corporate prayer. One method may involve reading a Psalm and encouraging those present to respond with praise, worship and/or prayer inspired by it; alternatively you could share a specific scripture passage and ask participants to respond through silence or verbal agreement.
Scripture can also help us pray for particular issues around us. You might ask your group to select an issue and then pray in groups of three or four; this type of prayer allows for varied responses – praise, surrender, confession, lamenting and singing! – which can make it extremely powerful.
Encourage a Time of Silence
At prayer meetings, it is essential that people take time for reflection and solitude. While this may be difficult for some people, this form of silence and listening can open the way to profound moments if people are praying for themselves or other individuals.
Before beginning prayer time, consider reading from the Bible a short passage that helps bring everyone into an appropriate spiritual mindset. While not required, reading such passages will provide all with an opportunity to focus on praying together as one.
Once silence has begun, introduce a topic or prayer request, and allow people to pray silently for five minutes without distractions such as phones ringing. At the conclusion of prayer time, encourage participants to share what they heard from God either collectively or individually.
Repent – Confronting sin is rarely easy, yet essential in order to find forgiveness from God and start over with life. By acknowledging our transgressions and asking His forgiveness for them, repentance allows us to move forward in relationship with Him.
Pray for Others — Asking God to meet the needs of others can be an extremely powerful way of enriching both our church and world, while simultaneously building community.
Make the prayer time count by asking someone else to lead in closing prayers, which helps the meeting run more efficiently while giving everyone an opportunity to say their own personal prayers before leaving. Or close it yourself; either way make sure your voice is clear and concise – do not ramble, move with reverence and don’t get caught up in emotion as you speak!
Encourage Personal Prayer
Encourage individuals to pray personally during prayer meetings is key, yet can sometimes be challenging for some participants. They might feel awkward praying out loud or are concerned their personal prayer will be interrupted by other people; to make this easier for these participants, creating a time of silent prayer before group prayer or providing some other option may help make their prayers feel more secure and confident.
Before beginning the prayer meeting, it can also be beneficial to provide people with some instruction about prayer. This could simply involve providing an overview of its purpose and expectation – especially useful for newcomers to prayer meetings.
One way to foster personal prayer is through using various methods during a prayer meeting. These could include various types of prayers, Scripture reading and worship services – it’s helpful if each method was explained before beginning and again at the start of each prayer time session.
Establishing a clear mission and theme for a prayer meeting, setting specific prayer times, and hosting an opening and closing liturgy can all serve to encourage attendees. When attendees know when the meeting will end, and aren’t concerned that an individual is taking up too much of their time with personal prayers, they tend to become more open in sharing their needs with the group.
Many people do not enjoy long hours of unending prayer. If this is a concern for your church prayer meeting, try starting off with shorter periods of group prayer before breaking off into smaller groups or encouraging individual prayers before returning to sharing requests and needs again.
Encourage Group Prayer
Encourage group prayer throughout a prayer meeting by setting aside some silence at the start, having someone open with an opening prayer or employing conversational style prayer where people pray for those nearby. You may also have someone record requests and send them out later via paper list or group text/email blast.
One way to foster group prayer is through gratitude. Reminding one another how good the Lord has been can help people be more thankful and realize how praying together with other believers can bring blessings not just individually but collectively.
If your prayer meeting will focus on specific issues, inviting those with expert knowledge or experience in those fields to share their insights can help encourage group prayers by better understanding needs and praying accordingly.
Groups who are just getting acquainted with group prayer should begin the time by opening with a short prayer or reading from Scripture to help ease them in. This can especially benefit if they need to pray for each other; volunteers could then be recruited before instructing them that when praying for each individual they need to discuss what God may be asking of them as well as any specific requests they have for that person.