One of the great encouragements in a pastor’s life is to discover that members of the church are meeting up regularly to pray together. When our church works together on the principle that ministry is not something reserved for the elders but something we all do it makes our church life rich and fruitful.

If you’re one of those people meeting with others to pray then here are 5 tips (adapted from Habits of Grace) to help shape your time, and if you’re not, will maybe these will inspire you to get something started.

1. Make it regular

It won’t happen if you don’t plan it and if it’s always swapping time and place people will forget to come. The same slot each week or fortnight is going to work the best even if you can’t all make it every week. It might also be an idea to get people to commit for a fixed time “every fortnight for 6 months” and then review if it’s too open ended it can just fizzle out and be discouraging to those who want it to keep going.

2. Read a portion of the Bible

We speak to God in prayer because he speaks to us in his word. You don’t have to turn your prayer time into a Bible study but carefully choosing and reading a portion of the Bible will help your group remember that you come to a speaking God.

3. Limit share time

Here’s David Mathis telling it like it is:

“It can be easy to let the sharing of requests cannibalise the actual praying together.”

Sound familiar? Does to me! So as a group agree to work together to stop it happening. For sure sometimes things will come up that demand more time to chat through but often much rambling stops praying.

4. Focus on the Lord not just the problems

There’s a temptation for our prayer groups to become “God bless my plans” times. Why not one week suggest that you simply spend time thanking God for his plans and express together your confidence in them.

5. Remember to put others first

I’m not just talking here about letting others share their prayer points first but also about the dynamic of leading others in prayer. There should be a sense in your prayer group that you’re coming together before the Lord. Ask with “we” and “us” not “me” and “I”. You are asking with your friends what we might struggle to ask on our own. Pray to God but with your concern for others front and centre.