Today is National Day of Prayer, and across the country men and women are gathering at prayer breakfasts to hear special speakers and be challenged to make prayer a more integral part of their lives. Churches have opened their worship centers today for the purpose of inviting members and those who live in the community to come and pray throughout the day.
2 Chronicles 7:14 reminds us that God hears our prayers and desires to forgive and heal us. Our role? Have a humble attitude, pray, and earnestly seek God. How can you as a Bible study leader help your group members strengthen their prayer lives? Here are 3 ways:
1. Set aside adequate time for prayer when you meet. If you want to encourage your group to pray, then make the time. Don’t rush into your Bible study too quickly, but instead give group members time to open up and express their needs. On a side note, this is a good reason to keep group size smaller. A Sunday School group of 25+ adults will have too many people who are bashful about expressing a need and showing vulnerability in front of people they may not know well. Smaller groups can develop intimacy and a trust level that encourages prayer requests to be shared. Starting new groups not only helps a church grow, but it will strengthen the prayer life of groups!
2. Take time to celebrate answered prayers. Every Bible study group, whether on the church campus, in a home, at a restaurant, or in the workplace, needs to stop and celebrate how God has answered the prayers of group members. It’s one thing to make the time to share and pray, it’s something else entirely to look back and encourage one another by the way God is answering your group’s prayers. The fact that God is active, listening, and answering prayers will fuel the prayer life of your Bible study group. Some members will realize for the first time that God cares about them.
3. Practice praying in pairs or triads. We’ve all been in a Bible study group in which group members share prayer needs with the entire group. Consider placing people in pairs or triads to pray for one another and watch the change that happens relationally between members of your group! People begin to take ownership of relationships when you pray this way, and they tend to naturally follow up with the people they are praying with.
There you have it. Three easy ways to strengthen your Bible study group’s prayer life. How will you change things up in your group this week?