I believe small groups are critical to the health of a church. Not only are they the place where we learn, grow, and fellowship, but they also ought to be a place of intentional prayer. Much of our praying, though, is focused only on ourselves. In contrast, here are some simple ways to lead your small group to pray outwardly:
- Prayer progressive dinners. Plan a progressive dinner (where the group goes from house to house and eats courses of a meal together), but change the focus of the evening. After eating at each home, pray specifically for that family and for the neighbors they are trying to reach. You can cover several neighborhoods in prayer this way.
- “Focus on the Family” praying. Each week, pray the entire week for one particular family in your small group – and for one family the group is trying to reach. That is, pray for a family that attends and one that does not. Who knows what God might do as you pray for many families over the course of a year?
- Prayer outreach surveys. Do a simple survey in your neighborhood or even at your workplace, asking this single question: “Our church small group is praying for our friends and neighbors. Do you have any prayer requests we might include when we pray?” Record the information, pray, and then follow up later. You might build a relationship that leads to someone coming to know the Lord.
- “Drive-by” praying. Challenge your group members to pray as they drive to and from your small group gathering. Pray for churches they pass, asking that the gospel be preached there. Pray for believers who teach and attend public schools they pass. Intercede for children they drive by, praying they would hear the good news of Jesus. As your members pray, they will begin to see their community as their mission field.
- People group praying. Through the missions group with whom your church works, select an unreached people group and begin praying for them. Consider contacting missionaries in the area to see how you might assist them. If you want to learn more about unreached people groups, go to https://joshuaproject.net.
- “Fathers Focus on Prayer” group. Call the men of your small group to meet monthly or quarterly and pray for their families, with specific focus on their children knowing the Lord. Then, pray that their families will be a strong witness for Christ.
What other ways might you add to this list?