Group prayer can be intimidating, especially if it’s with people you’ve just met or still getting to know. Prayers begin to sound better in your head than when spoken out loud—so you decide not to speak and are afraid you will embarrass yourself by saying something silly. But sharing your heart in prayer or sharing your prayer requests can be a place of healing.
Group prayer is a great opportunity to strengthen this spiritual discipline and grow your personal prayer life. I know this has been the case in my life. Here are three ways that I learned to pray more effectively in a group setting.
1. Pray Like God Is Near
In my role on church staff, I get to listen to pastors pray daily. This is both inspiring and humbling. It feels like these men are talking to God as if he were standing in the room. And that’s because he is!
God is near to us and hears us when we pray (Psalm 145:18). When we start to view prayer like this, as talking with a person and not just an open room, our prayers become more personal and helpful. This is true when we’re praying on our own, and it’s true when we are praying with group members around us.
2. Keep It Simple
When I started to get involved with groups that prayed together, I knew joining in was inevitable. I would have to embrace praying with others because I knew I couldn’t get out of it!
With this in mind, I decided to pray near the beginning of the group prayer time so that I wasn’t distracted. I did this so I could focus on listening to others pray and not just focus on my nerves.
When I did start to pray, I kept it simple and started with thanksgiving. There are so many things to thank God for, so I chose a few that related to my current situation. Then I added a sentence or two more with my requests and ended the prayer. Sweet and simple. This builds the muscle of prayer and removes the feeling of dread that can come when praying in groups.
3. Pray for Others
If you are not in a habit of praying in groups, your prayers probably tend to be self-centered. Praying for yourself can be a good place to start: praying for your health and sin struggles and for God to bless your day’s interactions. But it can’t stop there.
The best way to make it easier to pray in groups is to pray for others. Removes the attention off of yourself and onto those who are hurting. Doing so will soften your heart towards these specific brothers and sisters and expand your love for others.
The Goal of Praying in Groups
Ultimately, the goal of praying in a group is to point you to Jesus and help you meet with him alongside others. These suggestions can hopefully become a starting point for you to share deeply and pray boldly—because God hears us when we come to him in prayer with open hands and a humble heart.