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Small Community Ideas that Work: Leading Prayer

leading-prayer-in-small-groupsYou are a leader of prayer, and that’s something to ponder and celebrate. This is not everyone’s task or gift, but it is yours. What sets the prayer leader apart? You are welcoming, you are fully present, you project a calm confidence, and you create the atmosphere and set the tone for the gathering.
Can you appreciate the grace and gift that is yours in this opportunity? Can you enjoy the role and responsibility, too? Do you know that none of this is accidental? It’s all about you and God—your unique and special relationship and how this relationship is lived out in the way you lead your faith-
sharing group in prayer.
When you can celebrate who you are and how leading prayer is an expression of the love you and God have for each other and the gifts and talents God has generously given you, you can extend the opportunity for leading prayer to others whose gifts you can nurture.
You will see in others what they see in you—reverence, confidence, competence, attentiveness to the group’s needs, ease of manner, and a well-groomed appearance.
From your vantage point as a leader of prayer, consider the following steps:

  • Let your small group know that you are looking for future prayer leaders because the present leaders may not always be available and because the ministry belongs to all baptized Christians. Encourage volunteers to approach you.
  • Observe the group closely to identify those who are particularly prayerful and reliable. Begin a conversation with this person to determine if he or she is interested in a leader’s role.
  • Spend time explaining the process to your candidates and assure them of your continuing help.
  • Schedule time with your candidates to share your techniques and experiences, to help them get comfortable with the process, and to practice.
  • Use one of your group’s meetings as an opportunity for your candidates to lead or read parts of the session. Let the whole group know what you are doing and why.
  • Invite each candidate to assist you in preparing a group meeting.
  • Allow each candidate to conduct a session while you observe only as a member of the group. Plan the dates with each candidate well in advance.
  • Meet privately with each candidate after he or she has led a session, listen to the candidate’s reaction to the experience and give your own feedback—always being as positive and encouraging as possible.
  • Encourage the candidates to lead more than one session so that they can become more comfortable with the role.

May God’s grace help you to see and nurture in others the gifts he has bestowed on you and, through your encouragement, provide the Church with new leadership.
Based on Leading Prayer in Small Groups, Chapters 2 and 9

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