If you lead a large Bible study group, prayer time can take up the majority of your group session. I’ve found several effective ways to help large groups effectively handle prayer requests, balancing the group time so that there is adequate time for the group leader to guide the Bible study. Here are 3 ways large groups can manage their prayer time:
- The Basket Approach – Provide each group member with an index card, and ask them to write their prayer request (or requests) on one side, and their email, phone, and name on the reverse side. Pass a basket around the room and instruct group members to place their prayer request cards in the basket. Then pass it around a second time, and ask group members to mix up the cards and remove one. Whoever’s card they draw, that becomes the person they pray for throughout the week. I’ve asked my group members to email and/or call the person to let them know who’s praying for them. I’ve found that this saves time in the group study, and it helps connect people to one another.
- Quads – In larger groups, simply break the group down into smaller groups of 4 people. Ask them to present prayer requests to one another, and to pray for one another’s needs in smaller groups. This creates intimacy, and it helps people get to know one another. Plus it has the added benefit of encouraging people to pray out loud (it’s less intimidating in a group of 4 than in a group of 24…or 34!).
- The Group E-Mail – On occasion when I can see that the Bible study is going to run long, I will say something like, “I’ll send an email to the group later today, and summarize the study for us and those not here. If you have a prayer need this week, just “reply all” and let us know what it is. We’ll jump into action and begin praying for you.” I then control the length of the prayer time by simply praying for the Lord’s blessing on the group, our study time together, and those not present.
What tips would you suggest to help larger groups manage their prayer time?
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