Lesson 11 Group Praying Formats

Praying Together


Group-Praying Formats


Lesson 11 


Group-Praying Formats


Highly Recommended Reading: The Power of Praying Together by Stormie Omartian with Jack Hayford, Harvest House Publishers, Eugene, Oregon 97402


Have you ever tried to assemble something without first looking at the instructions?  Some of us must have instructions; others attempt to get along without instructions; sometimes, the instructions seem to be confusing or inadequate; still, things generally go better when we follow instructions!  Likewise, when praying together, many of us will pray without much instruction or guidance; this approach can cause some to feel disappointed when praying in group–prayer formats.  When that happens they walk away feeling discouraged, rather than encouraged.  When we do listen to instruction (Prov 8:33), we will find direction and encouragement helps us as we come together with others in prayer.


The purpose of this lesson is three-fold:


  1. Offering some helps and suggestions.


  1. Sharing some benefits of Group-Praying.


  1. Presenting some cautions about Group-Praying.


Let’s start with our first purpose of this lesson:  some helps and suggestions

At the start of this study, I would like to direct you to note some important elements that can make a significant difference in group-prayer.


The first one we will discuss is important to helping us.  It involves taking time to Hear the Lord as we pray – In a group, we need to allow time to hear the Lord.  – But what often happens is there are periods of silence—that we feel we have to ‘fill up blank time’ by praying something.   ‘Quiet pauses’ in Group-Prayer time can be important opportunities to hear the Lord speak!  When we pray together, we should be ‘listening to others’.  During quiet pauses in prayer time we have opportunity to reflect on the prayers of others and listen to and reflect on God’s Word.  It is a time that we can listen to God speak to us through His Word.  At this point, we should ask ourselves the question: ‘What is involved in hearing God’s voice?’  I can think of ‘three essentials’ which Biblically embrace the need to hear God’s voice:


1.  Knowing God’s Word.  Have we taken time to really learn what God’s word says on a matter?


2.  Allowing God’s Holy Spirit to minister to us by bringing the Word of God to our remembrance.


3.  Taking time to be quiet before the Lord.  The Bible says “Be still”.  That verse not only says “Be still” but it continues with why we should be still—that is “and know that I am God.”   (See Ps 46:10)   In quiet periods, we can hear better and recognize when God is actually speaking to us.  What He says will always be in accordance with His Word.


In learning to hear the Lord’s voice, we need to learn to recognize it.   Recognizing God’s voice as we listen—Involves applying the above three essentials to hearing God’s voice.  They are important in understanding how we can be certain that we are hearing God speak.   When God speaks, there are three primary ways that one can hear His voice.


  1. one—we  might hear an quiet audible voice; I Kings 19:11-12


  1. another—we  may experience a definite impression;  This can be the Holy spirit speaking to us.


  1. Still another way—we could see a vision, or a ‘real picture’.  Sometimes the Holy Spirit brings something to our mind so we can pray for it. Joel 2:28


Always remember that God never speaks contrary to the Word of God.  He always speaks in accordance with His Word.


As we grow in our relationship with the Lord, and take time to learn to really listen to the Lord, we will find our spiritual ‘ears’ becoming more sensitive to God’s Voice; that sensitivity will help prepare our hearts to want to listen and seek God’s help in through prayer.  Let’s suggest an application of what we just covered pertaining to  Group-Prayer.  You may not always know how to pray for someone.  Consider then, to quietly ask the Lord to impress upon you some thoughts concerning a need that was presented.  The Lord will do this, if you let Him.  He will help you to focus upon an area that needs prayer coverage.  You will find with that guidance that you will be praying specifically Remember, what you sense after asking God for help, should be in accordance with God’s Word.


Let’s move forward to looking at the 2nd purpose of this lesson.  That is to look at Pro’s or Benefits of Group Praying.


When we pray together, we find that there are a number of benefits.    I’ll list a few of them here, although there are probably many more:


  • Group-Prayer Provides Opportunity to Search the Word of God—When we pray, answers can be long in coming, but during this wait, we have the opportunity to search God’s Word  to learn how others in the Bible—I.E. David, Job and others, dealt with long waits and learned to trust the promises of God.  In addition to learning how they learned to trust God’s promises, we also learn how often they gave praise to God, during their trials, prior to receiving God’s answers!  Their examples will encourage you and help you, as you wait for God to answer your prayer. 


As you prayerfully and patiently wait for God’s answer, when you meet with a group for prayer, it is an excellent time to ask others to join with you in prayer, especially during times that are difficult and trying.  Prayer partners can help provide direction, encouragement, and support (Gal 6:2)—a benefit of Group Prayer. 


  • Christ is with us—Whether your prayer group is small or large, remember that God’s word says that where 2 or 3 are gathered together in Jesus’ Name, He is there in the midst.  (Matthew 18:20)  Not only is He there with you, but He is hearing your prayer and He is also interceding on your behalf. (Rom 8:34)  It is a benefit to know God’s presence is with us when we assemble together in prayer.  (Matthew 18:20)


  • Relationship—In time, as you better connect with others in Group-Prayer—here is an added thought:  When possible, write down names and notes about requests; it will also enable you to hear clearly and to see others ‘face to face’, when a prayer need is shared; Having good eye-contact with each other, gives you the opportunity to ask questions, and to confer with each other to confirm your understanding of the prayer request.  This will enables you to pray more accurately.  


  • Connection with others—For some people, smaller groups help them to feel more connected with each other with in the church body.  That is a benefit of Group-Prayer.  Remember Jesus is present (Matt 18:20).  His Love can help us ‘to connect’, when we pray together in Jesus’ Name—regardless of the group’s size.  A note about smaller groups: the smaller group many times may enable us to connect with less intimidationthis a significant benefit for those who are shy or reserved. 


  • Corporate prayer unites—A benefit of large group-praying, I.E. when a church corporately prays together, it provides opportunity to unite the whole church together through prayer.  When people purpose in their hearts to pray in one-accord, and yield to the Holy Spirit of God—allowing Him to work in their hearts—then His Love can begin to spread to others.  In a large Prayer-Group, the action of this love can benefit the whole church,  enabling them to reach out to others, and encourage everyone’s faith and service to the Lord.  Then, as a church, through the power of God’s Holy Spirit, we can better reach out to our community. (Zechariah 4:6)


The ‘benefit-list’ could be further expanded.  However, those presented in this lesson are significant considerations which should challenge all of us to desire to praying together, and seeking the Lord from our hearts. 


Now let’s look at our third purpose and discuss some Cautions that need to be considered about group praying:


With all the benefits of praying-together, there are some areas in which we need to use discretion:


  1. Fear of praying out loud—Some people have a fear in praying ‘on the spot’, especially when praying around a circle or in triplet praying.  A person shouldn’t feel ‘expected’ to pray aloud.


  1. Some people monopolize the time—Some people use longwinded-prayers, leaving little time in the group for others to pray.


  1. Some people show judgment in prayer—Some  people may allow a judgmental attitude to affect how they pray for someone—this approach can cause another person to feel condemned, or a person may feel ignored because that action of judgment can be perceived negatively.  The effect of judgment can also convey that the person’s prayer request was not important to others.   A word of caution is needed on the subject of judgment—during prayer and after prayer.  Be careful to avoid giving ‘quick comments’ about a situation or prayer request.  This can be received wrong and as a judgment.  If something is needed to be said, allow the Lord to work freely and within His timing.  If you feel led by the Holy Spirit to say anything, be certain that it will ‘be building someone up’ –or ‘a word of encouragement’—or if it has to be said, it should help ‘clarify how to pray’; then share it in love in humility.


  1. Personal prayer needs are not always spoken—some prayer-groups may be meeting for a ‘special focus’ on broad church prayer needs and may not give time for praying for ‘personal needs’.  Personal needs are important, but in a ‘focused’ prayer meeting, they may have to be handled separately, at another designated time—some ways to consider of handling the need of covering special personal needs are:  they can be briefly prayed for at the beginning of a prayer time, or at the end of a prayer time—that would not let them distract from the special focus of the prayer time.


  1. Not allowing time to be quiet—Many in the group may seeing quiet times may try ‘to-fill-in silent times with prayer’ when those times should be ‘quiet listening times’.  Quiet listening times are needed during prayer to allow the Holy Spirit time to speak to us.


  1. Physical contact—If you are praying in a small group with mixed gender, you may want to exercise caution in the area of the ‘holding-of-hands’—Some small Prayer-Groups may be in the practice of taking each other’s hands when praying, and some don’t.  In large prayer groups, this practice may be alright—and it can be a way of unifying the group.  Physical contact can be an issue between the genders


  1. Personal prayer items can be an issue—Personal prayer must be handled with confidentiality, and we must also remember that for many, prayer is often very personal. The sharing of very personal prayer requests with others of the opposite sex, other than your spouse, could have long term problems.  Failure to heed caution in this area could inadvertently, encourage improper relationships to develop over time, or other issues.


Those are a few of the cautions.  In Group Prayer, I would like to share some a few helpful reminders:


  • Unity—To maintain unity in the group, a discerning leader should encourage acceptance of varying prayer-styles.  


We must remember that we all pray differently in ways that reflect our giftings and personalities; this is a fact that is not understood by some, who may think others must pray the same way as they do.  


  • Be sensitive and caring in prayer—It is important that the Prayer-Group be sensitive and caring; when others sense a spirit of loving kindness, it will encourage them to join in praying with others in group prayer.


  • Scripture—Some scriptures that should be considered when praying together: 


Matthew 7: 1.  “Judge not, that ye be not judged.”


Matthew 18: 19.  “Again I say unto you, that if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.  For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”


I John 5: 14.  “And this is the confidence that we have in him that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:”


Hebrews 3: 13.  “But exhort one another daily, while it is called today; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.”


There are many more scriptures that apply to prayer.  You will find them as you read your Bible.  Write notes in a journal when the Lord impresses you of something about the scripture. 


As we move forward with this lesson, I ask you to take time to review the following chart, which is available on Pray!network in the written lesson.  These notes are posted on Pray!Network or are at the following link:   The chart lists four major forms of Group-Prayer formats, congruently with “descriptions”, and “benefits” and “cons”.  After reviewing it, some of you may wish to add to it, or suggest changes to it.  I am willing to consider your ideas.  Understanding the purpose of this chart as a ‘reference tool’, should be helpful.  Even now, as you study this lesson, whether you lead a Prayer-Group, or are deciding what Group-Prayer format would be more appropriate to use, the chart will be a helpful guide for you, as you contemplate which type of group you may want to join. 


It is hard to cover every item or situation about Group-praying in detail, so an effort was made to simplify the chart to help you to quickly summarize which of the common four types of Group-Prayer would be useful to you, as you consider your situation.  






Group Prayer

Circle Prayer

Triplet Prayer

2x2 Prayer


A group of people who have come together for prayer.  The group may be small or a large group, IE a whole church praying together.



A group of people joined in prayer around a circle.


(A table that you sit down at is optional, but could be helpful.  An example might be a round table.)


A group of 3 people praying together.

Scriptural basis:  a three fold cord is not easily broken.  See Ec 4:12


2 people praying together

Mt 18:19


*There is often time for several to join in with an ‘Amen’ when one finishes praying.  Amen can actually be a prayer of agreement, it is use in that context, brings others into joining the prayer time. 

*While others are praying, it allows time to seek the Lord on issues. 

*A time for the whole church or a group to pray together. Lends itself to church unity.


*Time permitting, everyone gets an opportunity to pray, especially if prayers are kept short.

*People have the opportunity to pray for each other

*Sense of belonging

*Support (by several others in the group)


*May allow time for focused prayer on a person’s needs.

*Hear others pray

*Good eye contact


*Prayer power cumulative.

*Often can focus on prayer for others.


*Relationship builder

*Hearing others pray

*With ground rules in place it can be a place of safety when praying.


*less awkward when one or two are opposite in gender.


*Prayer power cumulative.

*Often can focus on prayer for others.


*Relationship builder

*Hearing others pray

*With ground rules in place it can be a place of safety when praying.



*Time constraints for everyone to participate.


*If it is expected that everyone pray, and you do not want to pray at that time, for what ever reason, you have an awkward situation.

*some may pray too long, barring others from praying.


*When you do not come together in humility and love for each other, that lack of humility will rob the group of the support and encouragement.

*Feeling you have to pray.


*When you do not come together in humility and love for each other, that lack of humility will rob the group of the support and encouragement.

*Feeling you have to pray.

*Can be an awkward situation when 2 of the opposite gender, other than one’s spouse.



Finally, praying together, regardless of the form of Group-Prayer, can bring significant meaning and encouragement.  This is especially true when praying for personal needs—of ourselves and others.  When we see the Lord work in others and ourselves:


  • helps each of us to grow in our relationship with the Lord. 


  • Seeing the Lord work in Group-Prayer helps us to connect with others,



  • And challenges us to stay focused on the Lord Jesus Christ in our lives.


  • Finally, we will be blessed, as we walk alongside others and help carry their burdens to the Lord in prayer. 


Many of us have only limited experience of praying together.  I encourage all of us to look for opportunities to pray with others.  ‘Praying together’ may be the spark that will help us share God’s Love into the life of someone else.  See Is 42:3.


May the Lord bless you as you move forward in praying together.


Please try and answer at least one question and share that answer on Pray!Network.

Reflection questions:


Consider these reflection areas, and try to comment on one of them.  (Note—others have really appreciated ‘the comments’ and been encouraged in their prayer life and their walk with the Lord.)


  • Study the chart in the lesson, and suggest positive changes to it--ideas that can provide us a helpful resource tool for effective ‘Group-Prayer’.  


  • What about people sharing thoughts?  Is this one way we might hear God speaking? 


  • Why are quiet times of prayer—even in group prayer important? 


  • It is important to write down something you sense from scripture—especially about prayer?  See Hab 2:2.  Consider what actually writing down something does for you.








©Oct 2013 Lewis Turner

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  • Let's pray ....
  • Lewis,


    As far as the chart is concerned, perhaps you might want to consider adding a section called "Recommendations".  The point of the section would be to provide some guidance for people entering into each prayer situation, especially for those leading that type of prayer.  For example, it's important for prayer leaders in the first two scenarios (large group and small group prayer) to set some guidelines at the beginning so that everyone knows what to expect - that can really help people's comfort levels and willingness to participate.  In a large group setting, do you expect people to pray one at a time or multiple people praying at once (like in South Korea)?  Do you want to break up into smaller groups to pray?  You suggested that guidance regarding the topic of prayer might be appropriate, and I agree.  In a large group setting or even in a small group setting where the people are relatively new, it can be much more comfortable to pray "beyond the walls" than to pray for each other.  That can be a good starting point for developing a missional focus as a small group.


    Anyway, I think that adding a section with a few basic recommendations for each type of prayer would be helpful for many.

    • Thanks Andrew,


      Your experience which has helped make those recommendations is appreciated.  I'll work on it.



  • I look at the idea of haivng authority to pray in the name of Jesus as being very similar to when he sent out the disciples to minister in his name (Matthew 10 and similar passages).  The disciples acted in Jesus' stead, preaching, healing, and casting out demons.  Jesus gave them authority (verse 1) to carry out this ministry in his place.  He repeated this passing on of authority in the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20).  So we have the authority to pray in his name, or (probably a more helpful way of thinking about it) in his place.


    Unfortunately, we've commonly reduced the idea of praying in Jesus' name to a mantra that we chant at the end of our prayers.  Those prayers may be no more in Jesus' name than any other conversation in terms of their content and heart, but as long as we chant the mantra, we're meeting the "condition". 


    To pray in Jesus' name is to pray as he would pray in our place.  John 14:14 ties the idea of praying in Jesus' name closely to bringing glory to the Father.  Praying in Jesus' name is not just asking whatever we want and tossing in a closing line in order to meet a formula.  We need to take this authority very, very seriously.  He has left us both authority and His Spirit to complete the work of bringing his kingdom.  Praying in Jesus' name is using this authority to bring God's will to bear on the situations and people we pray for.

    • Andrew,


      That answer brings a depth of meaning to the 'Praying in Jesus' Name that some of us don't think about.  Thanks for bring that meaning to the forefront.  It is important to remember that that Authority to pray in Jesus' Name has real meaning to us.


  • I would think that God was speaking when thoughts are shared and they are supported by God's Word. Years ago I ran into a woman who said she had had this particular vision. I never doubted it, but ask her to insure that her vision was in accord with God's Word. She evidently made her own decision for she never mentioned it again! Oh, the power of God's Word.
    • Grover- 


      -Well stated.  We often get carried away and forget the standard that God gave to us. 



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