Prayer is a vital part of personal and small-group life. Consider this:
"In a recent study, the number one factor in the multiplication of small groups was the daily devotional life of the leader …. It is in our time alone with God that he gives us wisdom for leading our group."—Robert Logan and Jeannette Buller
We can too easily fall into the belief that our small group depends solely on us—our preparation, our knowledge, our skills. In reality, it is only through the Spirit that our efforts transform group members' lives. It's a good idea to regularly invite the Spirit into your small-group meetings, spending time in prayer together. And it's also important that part of your preparation puts you back at the feet of Christ. The next time you prepare, pray for your group and decide how you can regularly incorporate prayer into your preparation. Here are some suggestions:
1. Pray for clear vision and direction for your group.
2. Pray for the Lord to bring those to your group whom he wants to be there.
3. Pray for your group to be of "one heart and mind" in intent and purpose.
4. Pray for God to give you peace and confidence as the small-group leader.
5. Pray for God to protect you and your group from attacks from the enemy.
6. Pray for God's will to be done in the group and for a clear vision of what his will is.
7. Pray for God to reveal the person he wants to be your apprentice, and to place it on that person's heart to learn to lead alongside you.
8. Pray that God would use your group to reach and include those who are hurting and those who do not have a relationship with Jesus Christ.
9. Pray for the Lord to prepare your group to reach out and launch new groups out of your own.
10. Pray that God would help your group emulate the early Christian communities in Acts 2:42-47 and 4:32-35.
11. Pray for your host family.
12. Pray for God's presence to be in the group meeting, and for intentionality in growing closer to him.
—Reid Smith is the Community Life Pastor of Christ Fellowship Church in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, and the founder of the 2orMore small-group leadership training and resource ministry. Used with permission from the author.