Lesson 9 Developing Relationships and Prayer

Praying Together

Developing Relationships and Prayer


Lesson 9

Developing Relationships and Prayer


Note:  This lesson is about reaching out to others because of our relationship to Christ and having others join with us in prayer due to a relationship being built.  Relationship to Christ in prayer has been a central focus in this course.


When we pray for others within our prayer group, we can encourage them to share God’s compassion in reaching people for Christ, because of God’s love for them. Relationship with others gives opportunity for that love to be seen.  That love can operate through building relationships and friendships.  The opportunity of praying together is very important in that it helps us in reaching out to others.


A major focus in praying together should include “praying for others”, starting with the people in our group, which could be considered ‘our Jerusalem’.  Prayer for others should come naturally, for a rood reason.  I Cor 5:14 says: “because the Love of God compels us to show that love to others”.  People need someone to stand with them through life’s struggles: By allowing the Holy Spirit to help us, as we pray with others, we can extend to them Christ-like care, comfort, and words of encouragement – actions and words that reflect God’s grace and love.  Praying for others in your group can have a domino effect.  Those prayers help those in the group to reach out and establish relationships with others outside of the prayer group.  This allows people from beyond the borders of your prayer group to receive both spiritual care and personal connection.  Caring action by members of the group bring forth a dimension of ‘caring’ and ‘love’.  Those actions have been reported to be possibly the two most cited reasons that have encouraged people to come to know Christ, and as well as to grow in Christ.


As we pray together, remember that there are people who need the Lord Jesus as their Savior. We are encouraged in I Tim 2:1-8, to pray for all men.   How should we pray?  Although there are many ways to pray, one good way to start is suggested in I Tim 2:4 -- by praying for all men (our friends, our loved ones, our business associates, and our leaders)  “to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.”



As we look around us, there are many people who need to know Christ.  How do we relate to them?  It might surprise you, that there are three  distinct levels of relationships that we can identify our interaction with the unsaved.  Let’s take note of these three types of relationships and briefly see how they relate to us:


1.   There are unsaved people whom you may know, and who freely will share personal concerns with you—When they do, this gives little risk of rejection when it comes to sharing.


2.   There are unsaved people whom you know, but who have not disclosed personal concerns with you.


3.   There are unsaved people-whom you do not know personally, but you have a yearning to reach out to them.


When a developing relationship with others starts, there is opportunity for new friendships that can be built—With this opportunity, let’s ask ourselves some questions about it.


Do you have regular contact with those who you have started to build a relationship with?  If not, can you take steps to develop a friendship?  Contact is very important in relationship building.


What about someone God has laid on your heart. As God reveals someone to you, take time to regularly pray for that person whom God has laid on your heart.  Ask God to prepare his/her heart to be receptive to you and to Him.  It is very helpful when others pray with you in this process.  I include a caution here:  In friendship development, it is best to develop one with someone of your own gender. 


Also, when you pray for the unsaved person, ask God’s leading for ways He could use you to “be a friend”. 



 As you consider what we have covered, please read and study the following guide which is available and provided to help you.  Try to identify areas where God could use you for His glory, in becoming a Godly friend to someone.  In the Friendship Guide, we have put together so items that can help us.  For that reason our friendship guide and is provided below in the lesson, or it can be accessed at the following link: http://www.wheatlandministries.blogspot.com/2013/07/friendship-guide.html on the internet.


Friendship Guide


1.  Identify what people would say about the relationship with you have with       someone.  Why would they say this?


            2.  How have you been a friend to others?


            3.  How can you become a better friend?

  • Could you learn to “be a good listener”?


  • Could you consider joining him/her in some activities, but being careful not to compromise your faith?  Examples of activities might be sharing your hobbies, or personal interests, or just being ready to offer help in projects they are doing.  Be careful not to talk too much about yourself.   Take time to take an interest in him/her!  Here is a guide that we will call a friendship guide


4.  What are some possible common interests between you and the other person? Take time to review the following list of ideas to help build friendships.  Consider:

  • Their likes
  • Their dislikes
  • Their hobbies
  • Their goals
  • Their dreams
  • Their fears
  • Their hurts
  • Their joys
  • Their struggles
  • Common Interests


             5.  Are you willing to be vulnerable and share your personal responses and opinions?


 6.  Can you “be sensitive” to them in your approach, avoiding judgment?


             7.  Can you “be faithful” to follow-up, being true to your word and commitments?


 8.  Are you willing to take time and not rush a friendship?  It may take several years.


             9.  Are you willing to find ways to encourage them?


           10.  Will you avoid gossip at all times?


Further notes on developing relationships:

  • Relationships are built over time
  • Do not jump to a spiritual encounter, prematurely-Ask the Lord to guide you.
  • Ask them if they would appreciate your to praying for them, and if they would allow you to follow-up on your prayer for them.  If there has been an answer to prayer, they would probably be eager to share what has happened. 
  • Consider taking reasonable prayer requests to the Lord, for them.  ---Unreasonable requests sometimes come up.  Don’t pray for unscriptural ones—when such a request occurs, consider asking the Lord how to discern and pray for the real need.
  • Remember, it is important that we allow the Spirit of God to work in the other person.
  •  Developing friendships involves listening to the Lord and His Holy Spirit
  • Allow the Holy Spirit to work, as you pray for God’s wisdom and direction.
  • The Lord can provide others who will pray for us, and who will also keep us accountable in developing relationships.
  • As a relationship develops, the Lord will show you how you can find ways to minister to his/her spiritual needs.  The Lord can also help you to encourage them to meet other Christians in events they enjoy.


Finally, as the Holy Spirit of God works in a person’s heart, be responsive to his/her requests.

  • Answer questions clearly and compassionately
  • Encourage and introduce them to other Christians
  • Be clear when presenting the Gospel


An important concept to remember from this lesson is that joining together in prayer for others, provides the opportunity to bring God’s help to them -- developing relationships with others, and also helps in building relationships with people who are not a part of the group, who may not know the Lord.  It also gives the opportunity to share Jesus with others.



The reflection for this lesson is an exercise of what we have learned to-date in the course.  It is intended to encourage you to practice some of the principles we have learned which relate to prayer and building relationship.     

The exercise is a practicum to bring people together in prayer, and observe how they respond to group praying.  Your observations should relate back to what we have learned.  Those of you who are pastors and are a part of the class, it would be good to hear from your point of view.  Those who are not pastors, your reflective comments are also very important.  To help lay-students get started, perhaps they could ask their pastor if he/she would welcome your bringing people together for a prayer group.  If they do, that too is an excellent opportunity to learn and observe.  Sharing those observations with others on Pray!Network, could encourage someone else in the class. Maybe you will observe some other issues about prayer in a group that you would like to share for discussion – that too would be helpful.


Here are some possible ways to bring people together for prayer—consider praying for an event that your church is having, for example: Vacation Bible School, or a special function event, or a church activity.--that would help us grow in praying together.


With the help of God’s Holy Spirit, both pastors and lay students in the course, together, can offer their reflections and comments to the class on Pray!Network for discussion.  Doing this, would benefit all in the course, and it will help us have a deeper understanding of praying together.   During the exercise, we will continue with our lessons, covering the following: praying in groups; prayer circles; looking at the power of a praying church; and developing a prayer-culture in the church. 


If you are actually able to do this exercise, I pray that the Lord will make it a meaningful exercise.  For those who cannot do the exercise, please work on the reflections below, and draw from you past experiences in answering.


Exercise Reflection: 

  • How can we encourage prayer to move from inward self-focus to outward focus on others, but not forgetting the inward-personal need?
  • What have you observed about the action of prayer helping to build relationships?
  • If you could identify critical elements in “encouraging prayer with others”, what are they?  Why do you think they are important?
  • Ask your prayer group to discuss what factors they consider important that encourages others “to belong” to a prayer group.  -- Have the elements they have identified helped them to reach out to others, who are not in their prayer group? 

You may have other observations--please feel free to share them.  When your project is complete, please share about it on pray.




If you have any questions, please ask!

Looking forward to the upcoming reflections about this lesson!

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  • I have been with a new fellowship for about two years or so now and I joined the prayer group after a few months of attending.  I felt this was an important activity to help me to become known to the members of the fellowship, including the pastors, as well as to those who come.  This weekly activity has become the mainstay for me, outside of Sunday service, and I notice that those I pray with, I am much closer to.  Praying in this group also allows me to know the other members of the fellowship and about their needs, even when they are not at the meeting.  There is definitely a strong relationship building component to prayer together as trust is built and needs are shared, both for one's self and for others.


    • Opal--That was well stated--and very true when people are open to prayer. 

      May the Lord bless you richly as you encourage many in your church to pray.

  •  This is such a late response, but so much is going on right now. I have gotten involved in a few things at our church and haven't had time to be here for these classes. VBS starts July 10-15 and I am involved in making a costume for a dog that is in the skits called Cooper. It is a great costume and it has been a lot of work. I am taking a very thorough Bible Study by Beth Moore and doing home work for that. We are studying David- A heart like his. It is very detailed and the women in our church are doing it together. And we got a dog named Jasmine that I thought I could use in a ministry, but she is not material for the ministry I was thinking of. However God is busy teaching me things as I have taken on the care for this dog. Things like getting to know my neighbors better. Dealing with fear of how my dog and other people and other animals will react with one another has been a way God has brought many lessons my way. I need a lot of work I want to know how God wants me to serve Him that is the most important thing right now and I'm searching out that answer. I feel so distant from knowing His plan for me. I have had chances to pray for others at our church and within friendships I have made there. Sometimes it seems like so much is going on in the world I don't know where to start. So I begin as the Holy Spirit lays different people on my mind.


    • Francis,


      Welcome to the non-stop world.  Who ever invented the phrase lazy summer—is wrong.  


      I know you will enjoy your dog Jasmine and God will use her to help you develop relationships with your neighbors—Good ones!  Many of those relationships will in time may open ways to serve the Lord. Praying for them as the Lord brings them to mind is an excellent start!


      I do trust your church’s Vacation Bible School will go well.  Perhaps some of our class will take time to cove it in prayer.


      Keep up with Beth Moore’s study—she is a good teacher.


      May the Lord order your day and the days of the others in the class to press forward in serving in the Love of Christ and Prayer. 



  • I want to share another thought about what has come about my praying with leaders of our VBS.  They also want me to teach the children about prayer next year.  The teaching would include instruction on -- How does God hear me, -- How to pray in a child's language, -- how to pray formally, -- How do we deal with prayers where answers are long in coming and it seems God does not answer prayer.


    I would only have about 5 minutes to present the material--then their class leaders would take over and work with the children on what they were taught.  On project out of this is to paste prayers or requests on a wall so others can pray for them.


    It is a great concept--  My private response and prayer:  --Lord you are stretching me--you know that I teach best with older students-- I need your wisdom to translate basic principles of prayer to a child's level.  In Jesus' Name


    I am open to suggestions on putting this together on a child's level--several levels very young 3-5 and 6-10 years old and possibly 11-13. 


    Often we teach only adults to pray--children need to learn to pray too.

  • I want to give an additional report of what is happening with my encouragement of  having a prayer time for my church's VBS going on right now.  One of the directors share with me a thought that came to her this week.  Next year she would like to use a wall in one of the halls of the church for children to put prayer requests up, and invite people from the church to come in and pray for those requests.  She indicated looked to me an hinted that this might be best accomplished by a team.  We do not have a prayer team at our church other than the few who come to prayer meeting.  That would bring a welcome expansion of prayer within the church.  I have not wasted time on this request, and have talked with an elder of my church, and have asked his help how best to start such a team.  I do know that it will take considerable prayer to start it and keep it before the people.-- We can use a special team of people to be available to be called when a need comes up--kind of a drop and pray group--drop to our knees and pray when you receive a request for prayer--and also be able to come alongside of leaders of various events in the church and pray with them.
  • I would like to give a progress report on the prayer group at my church for VBS. 


    The last two days we have had 4 people praying together.  Today, prayer covered thanking the Lord for the sensitivity of the leaders, as well as the word of God reaching the hearts of the children and their parents.  From the start the leaders have prayed from their hearts, but there was an opening up of a caring sensitivity to others at VBS--the children.


    Even one child joined with us in prayer.--perhaps we need to find someone to pray with that child and other children who would like to pray. Maybe someone has just come to know Chirst--maybe some Children want to pray for their friends.-My wife encouraged exploring this possibility.


    I also noticed, to have the leaders take time to pray together, they are more willing to do so, when you can take sometime to help them.


    Praying with others in situations like VBS, help you to get to know others better.



  • Class--


    I am going to share early struggles with starting a prayer group.  My wife and I are looking to set up a prayer group for the VBS at our church.  This years attendance may be so great that we may have to turn people away.  Currently we have about 80 workers and growing.  We are expecting 200+ children.  Every hall and room in our church is being used.--with this overload-->  Where can a prayer group meet  during VBS if all space--rooms and halls are being utilized?  Logistically it can't. That leads to considering an alternative--an alternative proposal has now been proposed to the VBS leadership.  Since many of the leaders will be packing a lunch to eat at the church, then cleaning up, why not take 15-20 minutes and invite them to pray.  Many prayer needs are the freshest just after the morning VBS.


    To encourage prayer we have to be willing to be flexible.


    I will keep you posted on if the prayer time does work and how it goes.  We also are planning to use e-mail to put requests out to the church. 


    Please keep this effort in prayer--Let us know about other efforts--no mater how large or small.

  • My wife and I want to let the class know that we are setting up a prayer group at our church for VBS which starts Jun 20th.  This prayer group is new for our church, but we are trusting the Lord to provide His people to join it.  I do ask the class to pray for it.  We should consider praying for all those able to do the practicum--AND--don't forget to pray for the others too.
  • My husband & I are involved with Road Riders for Jesus which is a motorcycle ministry group.  We use our motorcycles as tools to talk to other motorcyclists.  We will visit with other motorcyclists at the gas station or stores or motorcyle events, etc.  We always start out talking to them about their motorcycle and if there is time can get into other things like their jobs, family, etc and then will ask if we can pray for them, especially for safety.  There are times we run into these same people at motorcycle events and they always remember that we prayed for them & usually will allow us to pray again. We have business cards from RRJ with our name & #/email address and encourage them to call or write if they have any needs. I don't know if this is what you were talking about in developing relationships & friendships in praying with others.  There are other things, hobbies, etc. that can be tools that you can use to reach others and develop relationships & prayer partners.
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