The Purpose of Prayer
Group prayer was a characteristic of the early Christians. We read in Acts 12:12 that Peter went to the house of Mary where many were gathered for prayer. Earlier in Acts, we read that the disciples
“went up to the upper room, where they were staying…. These all with one mind were continually devoting themselves to prayer, along with the women” (Acts 1:13–14).
Old Testament characters also participated in group prayer. For example, 2 Chronicles 6:13–42 records Solomon praying as all Israel gathered around.
Remember that the purpose of your prayer time is to communicate with God. It should never be viewed as a ritual or as a time to “preach” to one another.
During a time of conversational prayer, the group members talk to God the same way they would talk to a friend who is in the room with them. Members should use everyday conversational language. Encourage the group (especially a group unfamiliar with group prayer) to feel free to pray sentence prayers, expressing only a brief thought in six words or so. They don’t have to pray long, elaborate prayers. Everyone is free to pray, or not to pray, as the Spirit directs. Don’t be concerned about silence – allow God to speak to you and the other individuals in the group during times of silence.
Here are some ways to pray conversationally:
Leader Introduce Topics
Introduce a prayer topic or request, one at a time. The group will then pray about this topic or request. Then the leader will introduce another topic or request.