Some people would rather have teeth pulled than to pray out loud, others look at prayer as an opportunity to gossip, and still others monopolize the time with long-winded prayers. Some groups spend more time talking about prayer needs than actually praying. And even prayer time can be dry and meaningless if it becomes just something you automatically do each week with little enthusiasm. How can your group keep your prayer time fresh and meaningful? Here are a few ideas you can try.
- Ask for volunteers to pray specifically for each need as it is spoken. The person can pray immediately before going on to the next request, or each person can voice his or her assigned prayers after all requests have been shared.
- Break into smaller groups of two to four for sharing and prayer.
- Use fill-in-the-blank prayers. Have participants fill in words to short phrases such as, "God is ________." Then have each person say his or her completed phrase. Then have them fill in the blank with the same word for this phrase: "God, you are _________." Again, have each person say his or her phrase. Then say, "Congratulations, you just prayed!" You can do a similar exercise using psalms, but having participants put their own word(s) in particualr places. For instance, use Psalm 8:1: "I love you, O Lord, my ________." Or Psalm 23: "The Lord is my __________, I shall not ________."
- As the leader, pray in short phrases. Ask others who usually pray out loud to also pray in short phrases. Then ask those who do not usually pray to simply say short phrases to the Lord. You may need to jump in with a short prayer especially after someone in the group says a long-winded prayer.
- Use guided prayer. One at a time, the leader suggests areas for the members to pray about silently. This works particularly well when dealing with difficult subjects in prayer, such as confession.