Tuesday, April 28, 2020

6 Ways to do Prayer During Online Small Groups (Part 2)

Learning to pray as a new believer can be similar to a young child learning how to speak. When our son was 2 years old, he would repeat back a word after my wife and I said it. For him, it was his way of confirming to us that he understood the word. He may not have understood all of the uses of the word, but at least he was understanding the application of the particular word within that particular moment. Just as a toddler first understands individual words, a new believer begins to understand individual verses and succinct prayers. And similar to how a toddler learns to speak in full sentences with proper grammar, Christians gradually learn to apply overarching biblical truths to everyday life through prayer and meditation.

As we grow in our prayer lives with the Lord, we communicate to Him that we understand biblical principles (especially within the context of the circumstances that we are experiencing). From here, continued communication in prayer can convey a readiness to receive more of God through the Holy Spirit. Not only can a small group help solidify this process for new believers, but it can also generate opportunities for mature believers to discover new truths that the Lord is wanting to reveal to us. Indeed, we never stop learning about the infinite nature of God.

Last week, we explored Leader Prayer, Praying over a Single Word, and Intercessory Prayer. This week, let us unpack 3 more ways you can do prayer during your online small groups that are meeting.

Neighbor prayer
My personal favorite method of prayer within small groups, Neighbor Prayer is when each person prays over the person next to them, clockwise or counter-clockwise. Once everyone has given their prayer request, the group leader announces the direction that group members will face in order to pray over the person next to them. In the case of online groups, the leader can assign each person, making sure that everyone has someone praying over them and is also praying over someone else.

Breakout prayer
Typically utilized for groups of 6 or more, Breakout Prayer splits up larger numbers of individuals into smaller groups, thereby allowing more group members to become involved during prayer time. Depending on the time remaining within the meeting, the leader can split up the larger group into sizes of 3-6 individuals (The more individuals per group, the more time needed for the group to pray). Not only does this method allow the group to focus on the prayer requests of each individual member, it also gives each person the opportunity to gain more experience and grow more skilled in praying over another individual. To learn more about how to utilize the Breakout Room functionality within Zoom, click here.

Praying Scripture
Sometimes when we read Scripture, we do so out of intellectual pursuit, rather than out of a desire to rest in the presence of Jesus’ love. However, praying through the Scriptures allows us to set aside our own agenda and calls us to be more open and attentive to God. A simple form of the exercise is to read the Scriptures and respond by meditating in an organic manner (rather than a timed/scheduled manner). Another form of praying Scripture is lectio divina, where the group reads through the selected verses in 4 different meditative movements, focusing on a different perspective each time (reading, reflecting, responding, and resting). Instead of coming to the Lord with a premade list of appeals, practicing the method of Praying Scripture can be refreshing when the group is able to simply open the Bible and let the Lord guide them through the Spirit. When we pray the Scriptures, we can know with absolute confidence that we are speaking words that please the Lord (after all, He is the author of them!).

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