"After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly" (Acts 4:31).
I've been waiting for this to happen after prayer in my small group meeting. Unfortunately, it hasn't happened yet.
Small group experts talk a lot about small group dynamics. But none of them is as important as the dynamic of prayer and worship. Other dynamics have to do with horizontal relationships; that is, relationships between two or more people. But prayer and worship bring into the group the horizontal relationship, the primary relationship between us and God. Prayer and worship invite God's presence into the group; they seek for his purpose to prevail in our meetings and for his power to be displayed.
Before I even start inviting people to a new group, I begin praying—for me as a leader, for the group as a whole, for individuals who will be invited to the group. I pray for people by name, especially those who are not believers, and I ask God to begin working in their hearts. When the group begins to meet, I take time each day to pray for each person in the group. Beyond that, however, I take time each day to pray especially for one or two individuals in the group. For instance, if there are ten people in the group, I write two people's names on each of the weekdays of my calendar in a given week. I consider it part of my responsibility as a leader to hold them up to my Father in prayer every day. And I encourage other members to do the same.
Churches that utilize small group ministries in countries like Korea have exploded in evangelistic growth. Most American small group ministries have not done so well. Why? One reason ...