In our church’s prayer meeting we are using the following format to guide our prayer toward a more God-centered orientation. This was taken from John Franklin’s And the Place was Shaken: How to Lead a Powerful Prayer Meeting (Nashville, TN: Broadman and Holman, 2005)
Focus on God (10-15 mins)
- Why? The purpose of this segment is to work with God in orienting people to him, to help prepare their hearts to pray from a God-centered viewpoint.
- Scripture. Speak from God’s perspective regarding how he acts, thinks, responds, prefers, wants, likes, dislikes, or what his purposes are. Show how God’s current activity corresponds to his pattern of activity in Scripture. Clearly communicate the relevance and how God wants everyone to respond. When you don’t have a specific word from God, use Scripture to highlight a truth about God or to stir expectation about what God could do.
- Testimony. Make sure that God is the central player in the story. Make sure the testimony’s relevance is clear. When someone gives a testimony, make sure you stand ready to keep the focus on God.
- Music. Make sure the music is not just rote. Pick music that fits with what you sense God is saying. Let music prepare hearts or be an expression as a response of the heart.
Respond from the Heart (10-15 mins)
- Why? The purpose of this segment is to allow people to respond to God or continue to prepare their hearts to pray.
- You will have to coach people on how to relate to God apart from asking what he can give them.
- You will have to coach people to pray based on what came to their heart and mind moments earlier.
- You will have to allow people time to let their hearts respond.
- [Responses can be silent meditation, praises and thanksgiving, confession/repentance, prayer for renewal of hearts.]
Seek First the Kingdom (20-30 mins)
- Why? The purpose of this segment is for people to move onto God’s agenda.
- They must put God’s interests ahead of their own.
- The heart priorities of your people must be transformed into Gods heart priorities.
- The identity of the people of God must be that of a servant to fulfill his desires.
- You must help the people of God wrap their heart around God’s heart.
- Pray in line with how God has been leading you. God does not jump around haphazardly.
- Guide the people of God to discover the will of God together.
Present Your Requests (15-20 mins)
- Why? The purpose of this segment is for God to minister to his people through his people.
- Help members see their request from God’s perspective.
- Mobilize the people of God to minister to one another. Pray for one another in pairs or small groups. Highlight certain individuals with critical or pressing needs. Guide people to touch one another. Encourage a close physical proximity.
Close in Celebration (5-10 mins)
- Why? The purpose of this segment is to let people affirm the blessing of having been in God’s presence.
- How? A leader may make a few encouraging remarks and then guide the people to sing a closing song. Perhaps they can read responsively, or it could be an open-ended time of closure where people break into small groups and praise God, finishing when they sense it is time. The leader’s role is to set the parameters of the ending of the prayer meeting and encourage people to express their gratitude to God for hearing and what he will do in response.
May we all experience in our prayer meeting what happened in the early church:
“And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness. (Acts 4:31 ESV)
- You can download this guide in pdf here.
- You can print the prayer meeting preparation template here.
- If you want your church or your prayer group to transition to this format, you can use this 26-week guide.
- If you need selected Scriptures to use for each segment in the prayer meeting, you can try these prayer guides.