Prayer is a critical ministry in a group. Every time the group meets, there are people present who have suffered the loss of a loved one, are concerned about their children, facing the loss of a job, or have other personal needs. But the manner in which we conduct prayer in many of our groups does not always allow for these needs to be expressed – much less prayed for. Sometimes there are so many people in the group and so many requests that some people don’t even bother sharing something that they are struggling through.
Another issue many groups have is that the group has so many prayer requests that many of them are not going to receive the attention they deserve, or even be prayed for at all.
The group that my wife and I belong to has found a method that helps address this issue. Our group does “prayer quads”.
Toward the end of each group meeting, we move our chairs and form groups of four people each. Here is what we do:
- Form a tight circle of four people;
- Men meet with men, ladies with ladies;
- Each person writes their name and two or three prayer requests on a 3 x 5 index card;
- Pass the card to the person on your left (or right);
- Pray around the circle of four. Each person prays for the person whose card they hold;
- When everyone is finished praying, the cards are collected and handed to the group’s prayer leader.
This plan for group prayer time accomplishes several things:
- It involves everyone in prayer. We no longer have a list of requests and then ask one person to do a blanket prayer for them all. Instead, each person in our group actually gets to pray.
- Every person has their 2-3 requests prayed for by the person next to them.
- The requests tend to be more personal. It is often difficult to share a personal request with the entire group. It’s much easier to focus your thoughts and write them down on an index card to hand to another person.
- Time is well spent. A process that might take 30-40 minutes now takes 15 minutes.
- More requests are shared, and more meaningful requests are made.
Our group meets on Sunday morning. By Sunday evening, our prayer leader takes all of the index cards she received back and compiles them into a list and emails them to everyone in our group. The end result is that everyone still gets to see and pray for all of the group’s prayer requests if they so choose. If anyone has a highly personal request that they don’t want shared in the email, they simply write “personal” or “private” by the request so that our prayer leader knows not to include it in the group email.