Many years ago, evangelist S. D. Gordon said, "The greatest thing anyone can do for God and man is to pray." After 25 years of leading small groups and coaching small-group leaders, I have come to one clear conviction: prayer is the most important activity of a small-group leader. In fact, if a group leader could only do one thing to make his or her group more effective, that one thing would be to pray.
Prayer is a fascinating tool for the person with a heart to minister to others. It is one of the simplest things we can do. All we need to do is sit down and lift someone up to the attention of God. Yet most of us will admit that prayer is one of the hardest things to do for others. We get busy. We get distracted. We get discouraged, and we just don't pray enough.
Highly effective small-group leaders view prayer as a non-negotiable aid in their ministry to others. They use it often and well. They build it into their daily schedules and make it a high priority. They don't just pray a little; they pray a lot.
Here are some tips to help you effectively pray for your small group.
- Have a set time, and a set amount of time, for prayer. Those who don't have a set time for prayer rarely take the time to pray. Great people of prayer speak of their appointments with God. Most agree that the "when" of the time is not as important as actually having a time. So set aside a time when you will meet with God daily. Make it your unbreakable appointment with God.
It's also good to set a goal for the amount of time you will spend in prayer. A beginner may start with 10 to 15 minutes and grow from there. An hour in prayer would be a great goal to reach. If that seems like a lot, realize that the more we pray, the more God will work. The small-group leaders making the greatest impact are the leaders spending time in prayer.