Starting a prayer group takes forethought and self-knowledge. First, the leader must know why she wants to start the group; her reasons direct the group's growth and direction. They also influence her selections for potential group members. Although the leader does not need to be an expert in prayer, she should have a strong prayer life and be willing to lead prayers in the group.
Meet with your minister and other church leaders; inform them of your desire to start a prayer group. Ask for their suggestions and ideas. Find out if the church has any procedures for setting up a prayer group. Also, check the church calendar to make sure your meetings do not conflict with other activities.
Identify six to eight women you would like to be in the group. Consider whether the group will be composed of women who already have a rich prayer life, those who are beginning to incorporate prayer in their lives or a mix of the two. Invite the targeted women to join the group.
Decide where to meet. Consider meeting at someone’s home, as it is more informal and provides privacy. Rotate the meeting place among the group members.
Schedule the meetings for one to two hours.
At the first meeting, set some ground rules. For example, have the group decide if it will focus on a specific topic such as church leadership or pray for issues that arise during the week. Generally, it is better for the group to have an identified focus if its members are new to praying.
Inform the group that members may pray silently if they are uncomfortable praying aloud.
Realize that the prayer group may change over time. Be willing to adopt a new prayer topic or switch the focus of your agenda.
- ['Bible', 'Paper', 'Pens or pencils']
Ask the women to bring published prayers to share.
Begin and end each meeting with a song, scripture reading or specific prayer. A routine like this helps everyone join together in spirit and then signals the meeting’s end.
It may take a while for the group to get established. Call those who are absent repeatedly and let them know they are welcome.
Members must be careful when praying for others. A good rule is, “If you can’t say your prayer in front of the person you are praying about, don’t say it aloud in the group.” This eliminates the “gossip prayer.”
- Gary MacCluskey; Be Still Ministries
- Pathlights Press: Prayer Changes Things
- Arkansas Baptist State Convention: How to Start a Prayer Ministry; Dan Pucik
- Marili Forastieri/Photodisc/Getty Images