by Andy Lee
Why do people attend small groups and Bible studies?
Most of us sign up for small groups to get to know other people. We hope to find some friends to feel at home in our church. We want to walk in the church on Sunday and hear someone say, “Hey (insert your name)! How are you?”
As a stay-at-home mom with little kids, my Bible study group was my salvation! I loved to study the Bible, but honestly, I attended the group because I desperately needed an outlet with other adults. I needed an hour that included freedom from spit-up and tantrums. I also needed other women who understood my struggle and would pray for me.
Church is about community. God designed it that way. Our faith was never meant to be journeyed alone.
So, while small groups are a venue for digging deeper into the Bible, the fellowship factor is huge. We need bonding time. That bonding is often formed as we share our needs and pray for one another.
Have you been in groups where the prayer requests took more than half the meeting, so the group didn’t finish discussing the lesson for the week? Did you write down all the requests only to get home and feel overwhelmed by all the needs?
As a small group facilitator, it’s often hard to balance the prayer needs and stay on task with the Bible study itself. There are weeks when the need for prayer will trump the study, and that is okay, but if it happens every week, we probably need an intervention.
I’ve found a solution to this problem that allows everyone to share his or her prayer request without taking the entire allotted meeting time. This method also draws us closer to one another because rather than trying to pray for all ten or twenty members, we only pray for one.
- At the beginning of the meeting give each member a 4×6 note card.
- Explain that the cards are for their prayer requests, and instruct them to write a request on their card.
- Ask the members to sign their request so the person praying can contact them during the week if they have questions or want to check on them. If they write a request for a friend or family member, ask them to sign those also; the person praying can pray for them too in relation to that request.
- Have the members place their card in a basket.
- At the end of the meeting, pass the basket for everyone to take a prayer request for the week.
Our group now starts with praises rather than requests. It’s wonderful to celebrate those answers especially as the one who was praying specifically for that need.
Sometimes requests do get slipped in for the whole group to hear, and sometimes that is necessary. We also have a Facebook closed group page where our members can add prayer requests through the week.
Some members of our group have held onto all the cards and requests they’ve gathered every week and continue to pray for them. This method of sharing prayer requests has united our hearts, bonded us together, yet allowed us to study the Word of God which is what transforms us.
My group loves this method and has thanked me for handling prayer requests this way.
What are creative ways you take prayer requests in your small group? Please share!
About the Author
Andy Lee is a Bible teacher, retreat speaker, Word Weaver International mentor, and author of two upcoming books: The Book of Ruth: A 31-day Journey to Hope and Promise (AMG, fall 2015) and A Mary Like Me (Leafwood, spring 2016). You can connect with her on her website: www.wordsbyandylee.com where she writes about faith and purpose and digging into the ancient languages of the Bible.