I’m sure there are many versions of ‘prayer and share’ groups out there. Often these are called by different names. Sometimes they are practiced along with and under the guise of ‘Bible Study Groups’ or Sunday School groups, where there is some teaching and discussion of Biblical principles. But the really important ingredients of prayer and share groups are the following, a few people, seldom more than five or six, often as few as two or three; who meet once a week for about an hour. Everybody gets to share about what God is doing in their lives; what is happening to them and what they are doing about it, in the Lord. There is an atmosphere of trust and confidentiality in which people can be open and be vulnerable (call it unconditional love). The prayer and share groups I am aware of are usually just men or women, not both; that way there is more vulnerability and more openness. When people share about their lives in the Presence of the Lord, there is a supernatural amount of understanding and healing; a sense of unity in the Body of Christ that you just don’t find anywhere else. Having a small group is an important factor. If the group is too large, say 10-15 people, most are reticent to share what’s really going on in their hearts and lives. (But there are exceptions to every rule!)
Prayer and share with a small group of Christian brothers or sisters has a way of drawing you closer to Him and to them in a way that is qualitatively different from other Christian experiences I’ve been involved in. It is a sense of being a member of the family of God that I hadn’t known before I became involved in one. This really is what Jesus is talking about when He says, “Where two or three of you are gathered in My Name, there I am in the midst.” [Notice I didn’t say anything about praying. We always pray at the end, and sometimes in the middle when we feel a push from the Holy Spirit. By the way, you’ll know.]
What do you think? . . . What do you do?
1] Are you involved in a prayer and share group that meets regularly; say weekly?
2] Would you like to be?
You know, it’s been years since I was in a specifically dedicated “small group” where I felt comfortable mentioning actual prayer needs beyond someone’s illness or job loss or whatever. I do meet with a couple of friends (who are Christians) weekly to have a glass of wine or a beer and sort of dump all our messy life stuff out and try to help each other sort through it. We do pray for one another, but it somehow helps me that it’s less formal than a church group.
Jenny, I know exactly how you feel. I’ve often said that many people get more sympathy and understanding, love and grace in a bar than they do in a church. I am thankful that I have found a place where I can really tell the truth (most of the time) and get both empathy and loving accountability. A friend says “God is so good”, especially in those little meetings with people you know you can trust. Thanks for writing. Tex