Once the time has closed, each member is encouraged to pray for the prayers they received as well as any other shared prayers from the evening throughout the coming week.
These three methods have a natural progression that helps people grow in their comfort of praying out loud. For some group members, this may be the first time they’ve ever prayed out loud. We must respect where they are. At the same time, we must be willing to gently push them outside of their comfort zone without shoving them off a cliff. This process takes time and the leader needs to discern how to help each group member grow in this area.
My wife and I lead a group, and we struggled to engage all the members in group prayer. When we asked people to pray, Jim would always avoid eye contact and joke about how he was never going to pray.
Eventually we incorporated Guided Prayer, and though Jim was very uncomfortable, he completed his sentence. As weeks went by, we saw Jim become more and more comfortable. The Teaspoon Prayer and Guided Prayer gave Jim more confidence and comfort, and now Jim prays freely. By introducing a variety of prayer methods with the expectation that everyone would eventually pray, we have seen not only Jim, but our whole group grow leaps and bounds in their group prayer life.
—Brad Himes is the Involvement Director at Broadway Christian Church in Mattoon, Illinois.