Somewhere during the “Living to Honor God” and the “Growing by Helping others” processes, we really want to learn to pray. Often it seems that prayer is one of the more difficult practices for a new believer, and it can be a challenge in your small group. But, we need to remember that prayer is one of the most important actions your group will ever take.
Ephesians 6:18 (NLT) Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.
When we pray incredible things begin to happen. We take our problems and battles to a new level when we pray. So, when your group learns to pray, your community will enter into a new and much more exciting relationship with God and your world.
When We Pray Together, We Learn how to Pray
It is doubtful that anyone would be comfortable praying out loud with a group of people for the first time. Any new experience creates a measure of anxiety, but there is something about prayer that tends to intimidate us. We cannot let that happen. Learn to pray as a small group.
Acts 2:42 (NLT) All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer.
We see here that prayer was foundational and critical from the very beginning. In fact,
Acts 2:42-47 really does a great job of demonstrating the most important activities in the life of any small group. And it is there that we find prayer blazing the trail into healthy small group life. So pray together as a group. You will find that more you do it, the easier it will become.
When We Pray Together, We Win the Fight
There is an amazing story in Acts. Peter and John got into quite a bit of trouble for telling people about Jesus. The Jewish High Council called them on it and told them to stop. For the first time the spread of the Good News about Jesus was being resisted, and the believers refused to give in to the pressure.
Acts 4:24, 31 (NLT) When they heard the report, all the believers lifted their voices together in prayer to God:… 31 After this prayer, the meeting place shook, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit. Then they preached the word of God with boldness.
When the early christians encountered their first real problem, they prayed together. Prayer was their first line of attack against the resistance of their enemy. Prayer has the power to transform your group from a group of loosely connected people talking about the Bible into a real FORCE to reckoned with in your life and city!
When We Pray Together, We Experience God’s Presence
Matthew 18:20 (NLT) For where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them.”
Ephesians 3:12 (NLT) Because of Christ and our faith in him, we can now come boldly and confidently into God’s presence.
When the early church prayed together in Acts chapter 4, God showed up in a big way. They were filled with the Holy Spirit and they gave bold witness for Christ because of it. Often in the Bible, when people prayed or worshipped they experienced God’s Presence. One old prophet once declared to a faithless King, “The eyes of the Lord search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. …” 2 Chronicles 16:9 (NLT). Isn’t that an inspiring idea, that God is searching for those who are reaching out to Him, depending upon Him, and committed to Him?
When we pray together as a group we are essentially asking God to show up. We may desire that He teach us His Word as we discuss it and reflect upon it. We may need Him to affect some situation we are facing. We may simply hunger for more of Him. But the short answer is this, we desperately need God’s Presence.
Psalms 27:8 (NLT) My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.” And my heart responds, “Lord, I am coming.”
So let’s pray as a group and ask God to show up. It is certain that He wants to spend time with us.