Lesson 8 Encouraging People to Pray

Praying Together


Encouraging People to Pray


Lesson 8


Encouraging People to Pray    


Recommended Reading: ‘Praying With the One You Love” Art Hunt.  Note:  Many of the principles utilized in praying with your spouse may also apply to any individuals praying together.


Over the past several lessons, many of us have learned to identify some things that block our praying together.  In previous lessons, we have learned that some items which can make a difference especially when it concerns being able to pray with others.  Let’s take time now to review a few areas that affect our praying together.  To start, let’s look at providing a safe environment.  

  • A safe environment provides an atmosphere where one can “open up” about their personal prayer needs and to pray comfortably with others.
  • A safe environment also avoids being critical or judgmental.  When there is the slightest judgment or criticism, it can destroy any incentive or desire to pray with others.  Judgmental responses and/or remarks destroy an atmosphere of acceptance, love and concern…It definitely does not encourage the other person to feel encouraged to pray.
  • A safe environment provides an environment where requests that are presented are significant.  When requests are ignored, it sends a signal that neither the request nor the person is significant.  That is contrary to God’s word, which says in I Peter 5:7, “Casting all your care upon Him; for He careth for you.”  Our cares are significant to God.
  • A safe environment should generate positive actions of love and support.


The items above help provide the atmosphere where we can consider praying together.  Another area that affects our praying together is our Understanding of Prayer Types. Understanding of various ways that people pray—ways which are often related to one’s nature and personality is very important.  Keep in mind that the way God has created and gifted us can and does affect the way we pray.


The way we pray can be called prayer types.   In learning about various prayer types we find:

  • A reflective type person will usually pray reflectively
  • A person with a “driver personality” would probably pray shorter direct prayers.
  • A person who has a “compliant nature” would probably pray using structure in their prayers.
  • A “Conversational-heartfelt”-person may suggest a topic by praying for it, and others can follow, praying alongside him/her.


In addition to understanding various prayer types, we encounter differing prayer formats that also affect our praying together.  Each of the types of prayer approaches, utilizes different formats.  In addition to the recognition of varying prayer types, the understanding of prayer formats used, also helps us to better understand how others are praying when we pray with them.  Here is a listing of some formats of prayer that are frequently used:

  • Format of the Lord’s Prayer
  • Praise in prayer
  • Worship in prayer
  • Some intercessors have interceded through using prayer lists-Those who do so are sometimes referred to as ‘list’ prayers..
  • Crisis Prayers-People who pray in crisis often focus on immediate needs. 
  • Prayers by personal intercessors-often have a specific focus in prayer related to the person for whom they are praying.
  • Strategic intercession or spiritual warfare-The area sometimes used by experienced intercessors or by a seasoned mature intercessor, focuses on what you might call warfare issues—what some call “spiritual warfare”.


The list of prayer formats could go on and on, and there are many methods of prayer formats used when praying together.  The important thing to remember when we pray, it is not the method that is important; but when we pray it should be from the heart. God sees the heart. See I Sam 16:7.  Recognizing prayer types and formats, helps us to appreciate the many different ways of bringing heart issues to the Lord.


**At this point, let’s look at some helpful “Praying Together Pointers”: 

  • When “Special Needs” are presented, and they often are—when possible, every session of prayer should allow some time for special needs.  If a special need is presented, make sure someone prays for itHearing  your request prayed for is a powerful relationship builder and knowing that someone agrees with you in prayer, builds hope and faith. 
  • The pattern of prayer in a group, should be flexible to accommodate diversity of prayer styles.
  • In group prayer:

            *Short prayers -- are generally better, and allow others to join in.

            *Don’t worry about periods of silenceThose periods of silence allow time to ponder requests and to listen to the Lord.  If we are too busy praying, we aren’t fully listening and miss out on ways to encourage others in prayer.


At this point, I would like to make a special comment about a way that can encourage people to pray in a group.   It is important to understand in that praying with others, that the use of Amen as a prayer is important. ‘Amen’ is a statement of agreement.  It is actually a prayer.  If one is not ready to join in with prayer in a group.  It may be possible to encourage that person to say ‘Amen’ at the end of another person’s prayers. (Note: in some subcultural contexts, the word ‘Amen’ is a conclusion, and people may think you are finished, when you really are not finished.  If you do experience that, then instead say a phrase where you might have said ‘amen’, indicating you have heard the other person’s prayer and are in agreement.)


In encouraging group prayer, another area is:

  • how do you start prayer in a group—sometimes it is good to use scripture, especially when there is a special need or direction needed to our prayers.  It does help.
  • In a group it is important to try not to dominate the prayer  time, even if you have a lot to pray about.  Let others have a chance to pray.
  • An important courtesy is, when someone finishes praying, don’t jump in so fast and start praying too quickly.  That keeps others from having the opportunity to join in.  (Jumping in quickly when someone finishes praying can also cause a sharp turn in the direction of prayer and prevent full follow through on the current focus of prayer.)  Take time “to listen” to the Lord and others before you pray.
  • Remember that when we pray together, we have a helper, Jesus.  He is with us.  Jesus said “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”  Matt 18:21 


When we make our requests in prayer, remember the Bible encourages us in I John 5 vs 14 that our requests to be in-line with God’s word.  This is very important for group prayer.   The following are some principles that we should consider in group praying.

  • Guidance  Pr 2:1-11 “ My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee;  So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding; Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; Then shalt thou understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God.  For the Lord giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.  He layeth up sound wisdom for the righteous: he is a buckler to them that walk uprightly. He keepeth the paths of judgment, and preserveth the way of his saints. Then shalt thou understand righteousness, and judgment, and equity; yea, every good path. When wisdom entereth into thine heart, and knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul;  Discretion shall preserve thee, understanding shall keep thee:”
  • Ask God to knit our hearts together as we pray
  • II Chron 7:14 encourages A spirit of humbleness as we pray
  • Matt 6:11 encourages us to ask For spiritual food Matt 6:11
  • To help us confess sin-which is anything that would block our prayers and for God to give us recognition of what is sin that we need to confess.  See Ps 139:23-24
  • Wisdom to know the difference between false guilt (that which may come from personal interpretation and judgment) and what God’s word actually says.
  • Asking the Lord to be present and to come alongside of us.

In conclusion:  Prayer is an act of love and is like living water to a wilted plant.  It is the living water that brings encouragement and provides for us a safe place for us when we are praying with others.  Recognizing the types and formats of prayer that people pray and use, can help us to “join-in” with them. Finally, showing courtesy when we are praying with others, helps us encourage others to “join-together in prayer”.


Reflection Questions: 

When your requests have not been prayed for by others, how do you personally feel?


We talked about understanding Prayer-Types.  How do you feel when someone prays their own way but failed to reflect “an understanding” of your need?  How does this lesson help you possibly better understand how to respond to that person?                                                                                                                                        

Does it help you to know different formats of prayer?  In what ways, has it benefited your ability to pray successfully with others?


It has been stated that when someone prays for you, it is an “act of love”.  It may be difficult for you to project your reaction to this statement on paper, but could you give it a try?

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  • When someone leaves out your personal request one may feel hurt. It is important to give time for the other person to make that request. If the person leaves out any response you might  be sure that your inviroment is comfortable to all who are praying. After the session has past you may go and inquire how that person feels about what your request is. Hopefully,  you will be able to resolve the problem, and then keep in mind what you can do to make a way for that person to respond in the future. If the group is with more than just another person, you could wait and see if someone else will take your request and consider that that person is just giving others a chance to pray. If you are so led you could suggest that they can agree with what others pray, and that Jesus said Where two or three are gathered together in my name there am I in the midst of them. That by just agreeing in prayer that then this statement makes them a part of the prayer. In any case pray for God's help  to let you know what can be said or done,  be kind hearted and try to encourage group or partnership prayer.
    • Francis--some important ways to remember--especially when you are moved by the love of Christ in encouraging another person. 


      When people pray in a group, they sometimes pray from their own perspectives or just their own self focus and do not realize that praying for others is important. 


      It might also be good to consider praying before the group prayer time, that God's presence will be with the group.  That invites God's help in the group relating to each other.  I have seen this approach help in my own family. 


      Blessings and thanks for sharing.



































  • Sometimes in ending our prayer meeting, each person would pray for the person to our right and the prayers would move around the circle or group that was gathered. 

    I always found these prayers did two things--

    It helped us to grow closer together as a group and it helped us remember to keep each other as well as their needs in prayer throughout the next week.

    Since this group had been gathering for some time and we all had grown closer it was not hard to pray for one another because our relationship as believers was close.

    This was always a blessing to me, not just because someone was praying for me, but it made me realize how much others care.

    In the end I also learned the many ways or styles that people pray, it was just a blessing all around.

    • Raymond, I think you make an important point when you mention that the group has been gathering for some time and has a level of relationship that enables them to pray together meaningfully and comfortably.

      I wouldn't advise this type of prayer in a group that hasn't been praying together for some time.  People new to group prayer absolutely dread the "prayer circle" and if they're not comfortable praying in that setting, they're going to spend the entire time worrying about what they will pray when their "turn" comes and how it will come across, rather than entering into the prayers of others in the group.

      This is an example of where a practice that works well for one group may or may not work for another - as a group leader, it's important to be aware of where your group members are in prayer and how comfortable they are in a group prayer setting.

    • Raymond, 

      Thanks for sharing about praying for those around you,  to your right.  From what you shared we can see that it is a way of praying that can be meaningful.



  • We spent time learning that prayer should grow out of a relationship with God.  Now when encouraging prayer with others, what might keep it from being sought after by others?  If we take time to build friendship, would that help people to want to pray together?  Are there other things in relationship that should be considered when encouraging prayer?


    Andrew just presented some thoughts--do any of you have some others? 

  • In a group setting, I have experienced times when my prayer requests (or those of others) have not been prayed for.  Generally, my experience has been that it's not that people are trying to ignore me or others, but the typical "share-prayer" format that we use isn't really conducive to the most effective prayer.  If you have a group of 6 people and they all take 3-5 minutes to share prayer requests, you're possibly 30 minutes removed from what the first person shared by the time you actually pray.  Who can remember all that?  Unless you're writing it down (which actually makes it harder to listen), it's really tough.

    I have generally found it much more effective to divide the time up by person.  Let the person share, then pray as a group for that person, then move on to the next one.  So, for example, if you have 30 minutes to pray and 6 people, each person gets 5 minutes (this also helps keep some people from dominating the time).  Give them half of their time to share, then pray for the other half (which has the benefit of keeping the sharing time focused.  Ever had the experience of someone who needed to basically give you an autobiographical sketch in order to share a prayer request?).  This really keeps the time moving and encourages equal participation from everyone, as well as making sure that everyone gets prayed for.  Also, it really helps with the attention spans.  Alternating between sharing and praying this way keeps people engaged - and also makes sure that you're spending a sufficient amount of time actually praying.

    Another thing I've found helpful to make these times more meaningful is to start them with a question that helps focus the thoughts for prayer.  For example, rather than just saying, "anyone have any prayer requests?" I might start with something like, "What one thing do you sense God trying most to teach you right now?"  I wouldn't do this every time, but guiding a prayer time this way can help the group lift its thoughts beyond the typical health and financial problems which so often dominate the prayer times.  Those things are important and should be prayed for, but not to the exclusion of praying "kingdom prayers" (a la Paul's prayers for the churches) for each other.  I find that if you don't guide the time this way occasionally, the prayer requests will tend to stay on the surface.

    • Andrew,


      You present some interesting ways of managing time without people feeling controlled.  That can certainly help a group.  Thanks for sharing. 


      Perhaps some others might want to share their observations or thoughts on this area too.

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