7 Reasons Digital Prayer Meetings Can Be Positive

As I write this post, I’ve just stepped out of a digital prayer meeting with our Distance Learning students at Southeastern Seminary. Because we offer multiple graduate and doctoral degrees that don’t require moving to Wake Forest,* we have many committed students who live elsewhere—and we want them to be part of our community life as well. I grant that distance education makes this approach necessary, but I also think local churches can use this approach at times, too.

While I’m not arguing that all of our prayer meetings should be online, I do believe we can share prayer times that way. Here are some reasons why:  

  1. We still need to be praying together, even when the COVID-19 situation has made it more difficult. Perhaps, in fact, we need to be praying together as much as we ever have as we seek God’s guidance in these troubled times. Social distancing doesn’t preclude us from praying together via online means. 
  2. Some folks who can’t attend in person (for various reasons) can sometimes attend via Zoom or some other means. Thus, they can (a) virtually join a group where others are meeting in person, or (b) gather with others who are joining online from varied locations. In either case, prayer grows and disciples increase. 
  3. Believing family members and friends who live elsewhere can join the prayer meeting as well. Frankly, it wouldn’t hurt us to include other praying brothers and sisters – even if they aren’t members of our church – in our intercession. Christian unity that goes beyond our own congregation ought to mark our lives, and we can help build that on our “online knees.” 
  4. Our church’s distant college students, military personnel, and missionaries might occasionally join us – or, we might invite them to be the focus of our praying. Too often, we almost forget these folks because they’re out of sight. It’s our responsibility, though, to stay connected with them through various means—including online prayer times.  
  5. Shut-ins can stay better connected to the church through online prayer meetings. Sometimes, our shut-ins are the best prayer warriors our churches have. If we’re concerned they may not be internet-savvy, we surely have church members who can help them get connected. 
  6. If the prayer meeting is recorded, others can later join us in the praying. Just because they watch a recorded meeting doesn’t mean their prayers are somehow less significant. They might even pause the recording after each request and pray with great focus and diligence.  
  7. God just does something when His people pray together. Read the book of Acts, and you’ll find that prayer is evident in most of the chapters of this story of the early church. These believers had prayer in their DNA, and they turned cities upside down. That’s the kind of praying we need—including in digital prayer meetings. 

Again, please hear me: I am not calling for eliminating in-person prayer meetings. I’m simply encouraging us to take intentional advantage of the online opportunities we have to pray together more.  

*If you’re interested in an online degree, check out our SEBTS options here.


  • mark says:

    It is the only way some people can figure out the big issues in people’s lives. It also helps the leadership class to understand the real world.

  • Ed says:

    Can someone recommend a good outline or plan for an online prayer gathering that seems to work for your group?

  • Robin G Jordan says:

    I recommend what is called “guided prayer.” In guided prayer you invite group members to pray for a particular concern of need, every one prays either silently or aloud, and then the prayer leader moves onto the next concern or need. Form II of the Prayers of the People in the 1979 Book of Common Prayer illustrates the basic patter to follow. It doesn’t have to be as formal as Form II. At some point the group participants are invited to share prayer concerns or needs in turn and the everyone prays after each concern or need is shared. One of the participants then closes the prayer time with a short prayer. This prayer does not need to reiterate all the concerns and needs It also should not be turned into a pastoral prayer or mini-sermon. The use of guided prayer is to encourage all group participants to pray.

    Form II

    In the course of the silence after each bidding, the People offer their
    own prayers, either silently or aloud.

    I ask your prayers for God’s people throughout the world;
    for our Bishop(s)__________; for this gathering; and for all
    ministers and people.
    Pray for the Church.


    I ask your prayers for peace; for goodwill among nations;
    and for the well being of all people.
    Pray for justice and peace.


    I ask your prayers for the poor, the sick, the hungry, the
    oppressed, and those in prison.
    Pray for those in any need or trouble.


    I ask your prayers for all who seek God, or a deeper
    knowledge of him.
    Pray that they may find and be found by him.


    I ask your prayers for the departed [especially______________],
    Pray for those who have died.


    Members of the congregation may ask the prayers or the thanksgivings of those present

    I ask your prayers for_____________.

    I ask your thanksgiving for________________.


    Praise God for those in every generation in whom Christ has
    been honored [especially ___________ whom we remember today].
    Pray that we may have grace to glorify Christ in our own day.


    The Celebrant adds a concluding Collect.

    • mark says:

      The really formal might use the prayers of the people according to RIte 1.

      Almighty and everliving God, who in thy holy Word hast
      taught us to make prayers, and supplications, and to give
      thanks for all men: Receive these our prayers which we offer
      unto thy divine Majesty, beseeching thee to inspire
      continually the Universal Church with the spirit of truth,
      unity, and concord; and grant that all those who do confess
      thy holy Name may agree in the truth of thy holy Word, and
      live in unity and godly love.

      Give grace, O heavenly Father, to all bishops and other
      ministers [especially ], that they may, both by
      their life and doctrine, set forth thy true and lively Word,
      and rightly and duly administer thy holy Sacraments.

      And to all thy people give thy heavenly grace, and especially
      to this congregation here present; that, with meek heart and
      due reverence, they may hear and receive thy holy Word,
      truly serving thee in holiness and righteousness all the days
      of their life.

      We beseech thee also so to rule the hearts of those who bear
      the authority of government in this and every land [especially
      ], that they may be led to wise decisions and right
      actions for the welfare and peace of the world.

      Open, O Lord, the eyes of all people to behold thy gracious
      hand in all thy works, that, rejoicing in thy whole creation,
      they may honor thee with their substance, and be faithful
      stewards of thy bounty.

      And we most humbly beseech thee, of thy goodness, O Lord,
      to comfort and succor [ and] all those who in this
      transitory life, are in trouble, sorrow, need, sickness, or any
      other adversity.

      Additional petitions and thanksgivings may be included here.

      And we also bless thy holy Name for all thy servants
      departed this life in thy faith and fear [especially ],
      beseeching thee to grant them continual growth in thy love
      and service; and to grant us grace so to follow the good
      examples of [ and of] all thy saints, that with
      them we may be partakers of thy heavenly kingdom.

      Grant these our prayers, O Father, for Jesus Christ’s sake,
      our only Mediator and Advocate. Amen.

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