Lesson 10 Group Prayer

Praying Together

Group Praying

Lesson 10    

Group Praying

Recommended Reading Chapter 4 of ‘the Power of Praying Together’, by Stormie O’Martian/Jack Hayford


Matthew 18: 20 Christ said  “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”


Moving forward in Praying Together, we will now be examining the benefits and blessings of praying together.  In this lesson, we will be suggesting some criteria needed to help develop viable ways of praying together, in a prayer-group.  We will be focusing on areas which are important to effective prayer in groups, regardless of the group-prayer form


In Group prayer, there are definite benefits and blessings which our loving God wants to give us.  Before we cover these benefits and blessings, we should do a ‘brief review’ of principles (which were presented in previous lessons) that encourage Christ-like relationships within the prayer group.  These principles are necessary to help build-up each other in love and unity.   You will probably recognize some of them. Let’s take time to review them:

  • A group needs to be a ‘safe environment’ where members feel free to ‘open up’—confidentiality is a must.
  • Items that are important in providing a safe environment include:
  1. Willingness ‘to listen to each other’.  Listening includes ‘learning to understand’ what has been shared.
  2. Willingness ‘to stay daily in the Word of God’, so we know what it says.
  3. Willingness ‘to listen to the Lord’.   He always speaks and guides according to His Word. 
  4. Willingness ‘to listen to God’s Holy Spirit’.  God’s Holy Spirit will use God’s Holy Word and give us better understanding.   (Proverbs 3:5 & 6)
  5. 5.      Willingness ‘To be committed to each other’—the action of commitment is very important in building trust.


Note: The above 5 items we could label as the 5 W’s of group prayer.


Continuing forward in items that are important in building group prayer:

  • Another important area in group prayer is that scripture can help groups focus on the Lord.  The scriptures provide ‘guidance’ to us and also they reveal ‘God’s Heart’ which includes ‘His desires’ for His children.  It is important to have God’s Word in our hearts and to ‘be sensitive’ and ‘open’ to the leading of the Holy Spirit, as we pray for others and their situations.
  • Prayer in a group, needs to respect differing styles of praying.  (note:  there are some styles of praying that may be best to practice when you are alone with God, i.e. in the privacy of your ‘prayer closet’ at home.)
  • Lastly in group prayer, we need to recognize ground rules, which help each person to show respect and courtesy to each other.  Here are some possible helps to consider in making ground rules:  


  • ·         The Leader needs to ensure the time is focused on prayer.
    • Encourage group members to prepare requests ahead of time, especially if  requests tend to be many.
  • Confidentiality, as mentioned earlier—is very important.
  • Do not dominate the prayer-time.
    • Don’t cut prayers short; wait a few seconds before taking your turn to pray—to guard against cutting-off another’s prayer.


Working together using the above ground rules and items that we have discussed, it should help the group come together.  You will discover that the result may be a greater unity in time as the group prays together.  Being unified in prayer brings glory to the Lord, and we will see more answers to prayer.  Those answers are God’s benefits to us, and blessings, and they will encourage every group member.   Let’s look at the benefit of unity a little closer.



In verse I Corinthians 1: 10.  It says: “Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.”  


Let’s take a moment and develop a definition of unity for our study.  For our purposes here, it could be defined as the culmination of agreement—people coming together in one heart--and prayer focus.  (You may want to also look up unity in Webster).  Before we can attain ‘Unity’ within the prayer-group, there are three conditions that should be present.  Rules and Courtesy help, but alone, they are not enough to bring unity. 

The following conditions can help in the development of unity:

1.  Willingness to ask God for His wisdom.

2.  Willingness to allow His Holy Spirit to guide us, as we pray.

3.  Willingness to accept His will—His plans for us, to be accomplished. 


A note:  In group praying you may sometimes encounter differing expectations of people.  When you meet with others to pray, you will discover that they have come with various expectations---perhaps differing from those you have.  This raises the question, how can the group develop unity?  Unity can be encouraged by applying the 5 W’s which we previously discussed, when praying for a personal need or for a situation, such as relationship, whether in marriage, family, work/school or church.  In addition, for a group to pray in, ‘unity’, it will need a firm foundation that is scripturally based. 


Let’s continue further and consider some criteria that will help to establish effective group-prayer, and will glorify God and help to develop unity.  Some items needed to develop unity within the prayer-group, are:

  • Agreement on basics
  • Agreement on Elements of God’s Covenant--

                  -God’s Word



                  -Basic agreement in prayer

  • Establishment of a prayer-focus—focus will foster unity within the groups, helping us to pray in unity.  ‘Unity’ is a very important principle that Christ addressed in Matthew18 vs 19.   Throughout the Bible, we find that ‘Unity’ is strongly encouraged and even prayed for.  When our hearts and minds are focused on God, we will be truly ‘praying in unity’.    
  • If something is preventing unity, then examine yourself to see if sin is hindering your unity with others.   In the process, study II Chronicles 7:14, I John 1:6-9 and James 5:16.


Moving forward now to benefits of Group-Prayer, when we are involved in a “prayer-focused” group we find that group prayer often provides a number of benefits that will scripturally encourage every group member.  Below is a list of a few benefits that may result when we come alongside others, to support them in prayer and in action.  


  • Group-prayer can help you connect more closely to people by abiding in God’s love as we pray.  It allows relationships in our group to develop a spiritual bonding.
  • Group-prayer provides encouragement -- both to us and to others, especially as we see our prayers being answered. 
  • Group-prayer gives the opportunity to serve the Lord by coming along side others -- giving of yourself to help others.
  • Group-prayer helps one to feel supported by others---through their prayers and actions.
  • Group-prayer provides an opportunity to share-- Job 32:20 Job said: “I will speak, that I may be refreshed”.  When we hold something in, it is like a dam holding water back.  It can grow stagnant like water that is never refreshed.  When we share with others, it is letting the water flow and allows fresh water to refresh us.
  • As a group prays for other peoples’ needs, we will have the opportunity to respond to them in humility.  When we put disagreements and judgments aside, we are reminded that “God’s grace is sufficient” for all of us.  See II Corinthians 12:9  

Obedience to God in prayer has another important benefit:

  • God’s Peace  In group-praying, a very important principle is found in the Bible.  That principle is God’s true peace.  God’s peace will guide us Colossians 3:15 says: “Let the peace of God, rule in your hearts”.  Praying together can bring peace.  However, if for some reason, you or anyone does not have peace, take the time to examine’ why’.  This is best done by listening to each other and praying for God’s help.  God’s peace is based on scripture, and if we do not have peace, perhaps it may be just us needing to confess a wrong; or possibly something in the group that may not be in agreement with His word.  What ever the case, adjustments based on scripture will be needed for unity to occur.

Here are some verses to study concerning what the Bible says about peace:  

  • Psalms 23:2 “..He leadeth me beside the still waters.”
  • Psalms 29:11 “The Lord will bless His people with peace.”
  • Mark 9: 50  “..and have peace one with another.”
  • Luke 1:79 “..to guide our feet into the way of peace.”
  • John 14:27 “My peace I give unto you; not as the world giveth..”
  • Colossians 3:15 “And let peace of God rule in your hearts, ..called in one body..”
  • James 3:17 “But the wisdom…from above is first pure, then peaceable…”

Perhaps you can think of a few other related scriptures to add to the above list.      


As we conclude this discussion of Group Praying, recapping benefits and blessings often found in group prayer, we find that they provide encouragement and support of others, as well as ourselves, and encourage unity in the body of Christ.  


Reflection questions:  Take one of the reflection questions and do try to share your thoughts with us. Consider Job 32:20 “I will speak that I may be refreshed...” 

                  What happens when we pray differently than another person, is that unity? In reflecting on this question, consider our spiritual giftings.  For example—how do they affect “how we pray”. 

                   How can a prayer-group pray “in unity” inspite of our differences?

              Sometimes a group prays without its people being “in agreement”;  Why would this happen?

             Have you experienced times when you have prayed “with humility”?  Could you share what you experienced, and how you saw the Lord work?  Did it bring encouragement and possibly peace in your situation? 

           What role does scripture play in our having “God’s peace”?

          For those who have experienced praying with others, how has such prayer encouraged you?


When we follow scriptural principles, there should be more answers to prayer including scriptural benefits and blessings.

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  • With regard to the first question, about praying differently than others, there are many facets we could look at.  Since you specifically asked about spiritual gifts, that seems like a good place to start.


    Our sinful natures can turn even the best gifts from God into sources of pride and temptation.  Spiritual gifts are no exception to this, if we do not receive and practice them with humility and an eye toward both God's glory and treating others in love.  Paul addressed one aspect of this in 1 Corinthians 14 in his instructions about orderly worship.  He loved the fact that the church was so gifted, but those gifts themselves had become a hindrance to worship.  Everyone wanted to express their own gift, and the result was chaos rather than a worship service that glorified God.


    I might as well say it - today, one of the most potentially divisive spiritual gifts is that of praying in tongues.  When done with other believers who also have that gift, the result can be great worship and encouragement.  When practiced with believers who either do not have that gift or maybe don't even believe it is still relevant, it is possibly the single biggest destroyer of unity in prayer that I've seen.


    This is where the principle of love comes in - and I think it's no coincidence that Paul begins the great "Love Chapter" (1 Corinthians 13) speaking to this potentially divisive gift of tongues.  Love toward others, in a context of praying together, means seeking the "lowest common denominator", as it were.  If I insist on practicing a spiritual gift despite the discomfort of others in the group, I am not acting in love, and I am a clanging cymbal. 


    Acting in love toward others should strengthen their faith, not confuse it.  Paul argues this in Romans 14:13-18 and again in 1 Corinthians 8.  So, if the exercise of my gift, be it tongues, healing, etc., causes distress to someone else in the group, I become a source of disunity.  I act from pride, not love.


    The same principle applies to certain topics of prayer that can be divisive - for example, so-called "Spiritual warfare" prayer.  I certainly believe that this type of prayer is valid and needed, but if I'm praying in a group who doesn't understand the terminology or maybe doesn't agree with my views on spiritual warfare, then again I cause disunity and confusion rather than unity in prayer.


    The point is that there should be agreement in the group before broaching potentially divisive topics or using spiritual gifts in prayer.  These things should be discussed and perhaps studied Scripturally before a group embarks down a road like this.  Otherwise, just plan on a split.

    • Andrew,


      I do appreciate your approach.  I  know there are some who will disagree, but it is important that we all need to stop and think--are we really acting in love to others?  That focus should work two ways, but it will not, until we all can seek Christ, with our whole heart. and let His love really lead us


      I have had the experience of being asked to be a prayer leader in my county because I was able to bridge the gap between the pentecostal community and the non pentecostal community.  We wanted to bring the whole body together for an evangelistic effort.  God gave us some leaders who recognized that we all needed to work together.  It can happen, and it did.  When we prayed together, we did ask that each respect that there are various forms of prayer, and to be considerate of others who did not pray as we might prayGod blessed that effort, and after a major event, prayer has still been kept in the forefront of our county.


      The focus that helps is to keep our eyes squarely on Christ and His Love, and the Word of God, is what is needed.  It is not for me to dictate what type of praying is right.  My responsibility again is to keep my eyes on Christ.  When the churches in the county that I live in prayed with our eyes on Christ, God blessed us.

  • With regard to praying without being in agreement, I have to agree with what others have said - the source of our agreement or unity is God himself.  When we take our eyes off that Source, praying our own agendas, we veer off into areas that can prevent unity.


    My church is a satellite of a much larger church.  When we first launched, some of our group members were praying that people would leave the larger church and join the launch effort.  This to me was a human-focused prayer, not a God-focused one, and I couldn't agree with it.  I did pray for God's leading of individuals and I asked God to bring the right people - but whether they were to come from the mother church or not, I didn't try to prescribe.


    The political example is a good one.  When we pray our political agendas, we will often come into conflict with others who have different agendas or viewpoints.  The temptation sometimes is to pray as though we already have the answers, and we're just sharing our wisdom with God so that He will know what to do(!).  If, instead, we can beseech God for His wisdom for our leaders, for protection from temptation and special interests, for hearts of servanthood and for courage to make the right decisions, we can pray in unity - without specifying what those decisions ought to be.  After all, if we think about it, whether we are conservative or liberal, wouldn't we rather have God's answer than our own?  


    I think one key here is also a verse you mentioned in the lesson - 2 Corinthians 12:9.  In that verse, God is essentially explaining to Paul why He is NOT granting Paul's request to remove the "thorn in the flesh".  Paul grew from God's "no" - he recognized the importance of humility and discovered the secret of being content in any and every situation (which he would later write to the Philippians).  Paul's ability to see that God's answer was better than his own enabled him to grow in ways that would otherwise have been impossible.


    So, if we together seek God's answer, and truly want His best for His honor and glory - regardless of the issue - we can pray in unity. 

  • I am hoping to place in a volunteer position at Pregnancy Ministries Inc. and will be taking a class. Since I am slow and need time to retain information,please pray that I will be able to complete the classes successfully as I so believe that this is where God wants me to be presently. There is a good way for me to also be in a prayer group there, and that would be fantastic.  Many thanks as we continue in this class you are providing. Fran
    • Blessings Fran,


      I will also be praying for you.  I know there are others in the group too who will be praying.  That is indeed a blessing.

    • Great! I'll be praying for you.
  • Speaking in unity and spiritual gifts. As I thought about this I remembered Galatians 5:22 and turning there to that scripture I realized that often we declare this verse without taking in consideration the verses before it and behind it. The verses before it leads us to why verse 22 was written. Beginning in verse 16 we come to the sense that our sinful nature and our nature that is led by the Holy Spirit are contrary to one another. If we pray according to our nature we will have a selfish nature to our request, but a spirit led by the Holy Spirit will pray selflessly for the cause for which we pray.We must then not please ourselves in prayer, but please God in our prayer. Then our prayer will be right and will be in unity. Verse 19 shows the nature we will support if we are selfish in our prayers and we will reap the same and become miserable in our lives. We must learn to check our bad feelings at the door and allow God to do the work and not we ourselves. In this case we must always take time have God examine our hearts and to show us if there be anything that is standing between us and God and confess our sins to Him so that we can have a clear heart and mind as we go before Him. We must also be humble and ask God to reveal His will about which we are about to pray. When you say differently here, I'm not sure what you mean, but our expressions of prayer may be different, but not necessarily out of unity,but could be expression of a different part of that which the problem is that is being prayed for. eg. If it is a need in the church there can  different aspects of that need that could be considered in the prayer like the 5 w's and how the need can be met. .But always we should as we follow the verses in this scripture should keep in step with the spirit and not become conceited, provoking and envying each other as we might do should we be subject to our own nature. Therefore we must always keep our old nature in check, listening for the nudging of the Holy Spirit within you and doing what He ask us to do. Then remember that all we do in prayer is in the name of Jesus and we should respect that.
    • Frances,


      I used the word 'differently' to refer to the fact that we often pray relative to our personality types. The focus of our prayers may be on the same point that the prayers are about, but approaching it in many different ways that relate to or reflecting our personality types.  Though we may pray differently, we are in essence praying in unity--praying for the same point or as some would call it focus.

      I hope that helps.  















  • I am involved with a prayer group that meets each week in a room of the basement of our state Capitol.  We come together & discuss for a short time what has been going on in our state/country, what our legislatures are voting on, and other things related to our state such as floods, etc.  We then pray about these things.  We declare and decree the Word of God over these things.  By praying the Word, our prayers are always on target and we are in agreement. 

    Another prayer group I am in is a women's community Bible study.  As a leader in this group, we have a meeting once a month and a prayer time.  We may give prayer requests regarding the decisions needed for the Bible study or we just pray what the Lord leads us to pray.  We don't usually pray for each other, but the decisions and positions needed filled, etc.  What God's will and purpose is for this ministry.  I will usually start the prayer & another person wil be assigned to end.  The others can pray as they are led.  It's usually a productive time in the Lord. 

    My church has a prayer group that prays during the Sunday services.  There is usually one or two, maybe three in a designated prayer room praying for the service as it is going on.  The prayer ministry is called the Best Seat in the House because it really does become the best seat in the house.  God meets us there everytime.  Our prayers are just for the service, the congregation, the pastor & other leaders, praise & worship, etc.  You may think that is a long time to come up with things to pray but the time really goes by quickly because we are usually experiencing the presence of God.  We do pray in the Spirit (praying in tongues) as the Lord leads us, which helps us pray God's will. 


    • Susan,


      It is good to see and hear of the prayer groups you are involved with.  I would like to ask you a few questions--which may further help others in our group to desire moving forward with prayer groups.


      1.  How long have the groups been goiing on--How long ago did they start?

      2.  Has the relationship of those in the groups grown?

      3.  How has the church leadership responded to the groups?  Are the indifferent to the groups, or do they rely on the groups to help them?

      4.  What training has the church given to encourage prayer or if none--what encouragement helped the groups to

      form?  (Perhaps there was both training and leadership encouragement--tell us about that)





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