Jesus spent time in prayer, talking to his Heavenly Father. 2 Chronicles 7:14 reminds us that God hears our prayers and desires to forgive and heal us. Our role? Cultivate a humble attitude, pray, and earnestly seek God. How can you as a Bible study leader help your group members cultivate their prayer lives? Here are 3 suggestions:
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 (or do this at the end of your study – whatever is the normal practice for your group). On a side note, this is a good reason to keep the size of your group to 12 members, plus or minus 4. A Sunday School group of 25+ adults is fun to teach and it can be an exciting place because of the sheer number of people present. But it can be an intimidating place to 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.
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 has answered the prayers of your group members. 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, triads, or quads. 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 or quads to pray for one another and watch the change that happens relationally between members of your group. People forge new relationships when you pray this way, and they tend to organically follow up with the people with whom they pray.
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