Starting A Prayer Group
By Richard McKinney
Richard is a member of Christ and Saint Luke's Church in Norfolk, VA
Tuesday is my favorite day of the week. On Tuesdays I set my distractions aside, sit quietly and open myself to God in an inviting atmosphere reinforced by like-minded people.
Our prayer group started because one person wanted to carve out time from her busy schedule to pray. Four people agreed to meet once a week for half an hour in the chapel. Then we added half an hour of reflection on our prayer life. Our group quickly grew to ten regular participants.
Building and sustaining the group did not result from promoting it in bulletins, newsletters or web sites like other activities. Our group developed from personal, one-on-one sharing of the impact the prayer group has had on us personally. Usually the conversations are spontaneous, but occasionally we call or email someone to invite them. The enthusiasm expressed by the person relating their experiences draws new people into our group.
There are a few points that facilitate group development:
- Start with a core who commits to meet weekly for, say, 3 months.
- Set a time limit so people know when they will finish.
- Meet at the same time and place each week.
- A small chapel or other intimate space facilitates the experience.
- Establish a ritual. For example, light a candle, read a scripture
verse, pray silently for 20 minutes and then conclude with the Lord's
Prayer spoken aloud.
- If you allow time for discussion, consider allowing people to leave
before the sharing if their schedules are tight.
- Observe strict confidentiality within the group to reinforce the
safety and sanctity of the experience.
My prayer group has met regularly for over two years. It has become an
important part of the lives of all our core people. Considering how prayer
meets a fundamental human need, the same is true for prayer groups
everywhere. See for yourself. Join or start one in your area.