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How to Start a Prayer Group

Beginning a prayer group is a tremendously exciting thing, for it is here that we can encounter the greatest power in earth or heaven, and see our neighbourhoods, schools, friendship circles and communities transformed by the love and presence of a living God as prayers are answered and lives are changed. This page contains various tips and resources for starting your group, including some characteristics of a successful one, creative prayer ideas, and effective ways of communicating to your group.

The Characteristics of a Successful Prayer Group

1. Prayer groups provide a framework for commitment. If they are held on a regular basis (e.g. weekly or monthly etc) then it's possible to review areas where you have seen answers to prayer, and persist in the areas that are still awaiting the outcome you are looking for. (This approach to prayer is far better than just a one-off prayer event or meeting).

2. Prayer groups can also provide a place for mutual support. For example, it might be that you want to start a prayer group for single mums - this creates a space for mums to share some of the challenges they are facing with a group that will understand and be eager to pray about these difficulties.

3. A successful prayer group will be a place where expectation is nurtured. There is a promise from Jesus that we will encounter the presence of God when we come together in His name. There are also strong biblical precedents of God doing truly remarkable things when His children pray together - including miraculous escapes!

Creative Ideas for Prayer Groups

Prayer Triplets

This is a prayer meeting for just three people. Often they are single-sex (e.g. all male or all female.) It is a place for mutual prayer support, sharing and vulnerability. It is also a place of outreach - each person prays for three of their friends to find faith in God, and each person in the triplet prays for these friends. So in total nine people are being prayed for by the group.

Prayer Walks

This idea can be particularly effective if your group has a geographic or local focus. If you are considering this approach and you have a large group it is usually best to split into smaller groups (of two or three people) as you pray round your streets or neighbourhood. Remember to be alert to God's voice as you walk and listen out for what he may be saying to you. For further reading on this, see this useful prayer walk guide from Prayerscapes.

An Opening Prayer

A short creative prayer suitable for opening your prayer group with:-

Here are the words to the prayer in this video:-

Opening Prayer

As we gather here in the harbour of your safety
We thank you for fellowship and family.

We ask that you will strengthen us, restore us and inspire us with your love.
Lord, would you fill us with your peace
So that as we journey onwards
We would pour out your love and grace to others.
We ask that our souls would catch the wind of your spirit
so that we would take your promises to all the earth.


(an opening prayer from www.lords-prayer-words.com)

The power of a prayer group - a biblical example

One of the most striking examples of how God answers the prayers of people praying in a group can be found in Acts 12. James (brother of John) has already been executed by Herod, and on seeing how popular this has proved to be with the Jews, Herod has had Peter thrown into jail to await a public trial. However, "the church was earnestly praying to God for him". (v.5, NIV) Aided by an angelic visitation, miraculously Peter escapes from prison. He then went "to the house of Mary the mother of John, also called Mark, where many people had gathered and were praying" (v.12) This kind of dramatic answer to group prayer reflects the teaching of Christ on prayer. Jesus promises that when two come together in agreement to ask for something from God "it will be done for them by my Father in heaven." Matthew 18:19 (NIV) (This scripture is explored in greater detail here.) Note that you don't have to be an especially large group to be effective in prayer - two is enough!

make a prayer request
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Prayer is where the action is

John Wesley

Prayer Group communication tips

A good way of keeping everyone up to date with an urgent prayer request is by creating a prayer chain. To develop a telephone prayer chain, every person has one person they will contact e.g. person (A) contacts person (B), (B) contacts (C), (C) contacts (D) and so on. Eventually the last person in the chain contacts (A) to confirm that everyone has been contacted in the chain.

This is good if the request is urgent as people tend to monitor their phones more than their emails.
What happens if you get an answering machine? If they are away on holiday there may be a lengthy delay in communication.

Prayer Groups on the social media platforms
(For example, Facebook Groups, WhatsApp or Online Forums)

Information and prayer updates can be quickly shared and exchanged.
Keep a careful watch on what information you share - remember this may be publicly accessible.
Creating a Facebook Group page will only work well if all your members are already part of Facebook and/or comfortable with using this type of technology.

Group emailing
(With email programs such as Microsoft's "Outlook" it's possible to create distribution lists for sending emails to many people at once.)

An efficient way of communicating prayer requests to a lot of people at the same time.
Can be a little slow, depending on how often people check their emails.
Also, be careful when forwarding an email on to somebody outside of the prayer group. When emails have been exchanged between people they create a "trail" which then gets forwarded with your message.