A Note from Mary Margaret West: Prayer is such a vital part of our relationship with God, and teaching prayer habits from a young age makes a big difference! If I can, I pray on the spot for requests so that I don’t walk away and forget them. You have an incredible opportunity to connect with girls through being aware of their needs and following up on how things are going. Kate gives us some great tools for leading prayer time in small groups that I think you’ll find really helpful!
You have probably heard of subtweeting. Urban Dictionary defines it as, “Indirectly tweeting something about someone without mentioning their name. Even though their name is not mentioned, it is clear who the person tweeting is referring to.”
But, have you heard of sub-prayer-requesting? Probably not, because I’m pretty sure I made that “word” up. However, I bet you’ve heard sub-prayer-requesting happen! Just a few weeks ago, one of my small group leaders pulled me aside to tell me that a girl in her group had asked for “prayer” for her friend who was being a “backstabber.” After small group was over, the leader was approached by another one of her girls who through tears explained that she was the alleged “backstabber.” As the leader told me the story, it dawned on me that she had just experienced sub-prayer-requesting!
Prayer within a small group is so important to personal, spiritual health and group growth. However, when there are issues like sub-prayer-requesting, gossip in the from of “prayer requests,” or battles over who has the most tragic story to tell, prayer request time can easily become a black hole of distraction and discouragement.
So many times in the New Testament, Paul asks for people to pray for him and his companions (1 Thess. 5:12; 2 Thess. 3:1; Col. 4:3, etc.). Praying for one another is foundational to godly discipleship communities. We are called to bear one-another’s burdens (Gal. 6:2), and often that is done through intercessory prayer. God has burdened my heart lately with the importance of redeeming prayer request and actual prayer time in my small groups.
I’ve been burdened to help my girls and small group leaders in these areas:
- Understanding the purpose and importance of group prayer time
- Spending more time in prayer than informing the group of requests
- Sharing appropriate, God-honoring requests
- Praising God for specific things (aka- not only making requests)
- Praying for the lost
- Praying boldly
Here are some practical ideas for helping your girls redeem prayer request time:
- Have each girl write down one prayer request and one praise on a card and trade that card it with a neighbor. This limits what the girls can share to what they can write down. It helps them hone in what they are actually asking for, and allows the girls to pray for one-another throughout the week.
- Have “praise only” prayer times. This helps them learn to pray prayers of praise instead of always stringing together lists of requests.
- Have each girl summarize her prayer request into one word. Example: Patience, diligence, clarity, etc.
- Ask for requests based on specific topics: lost friends, personal spiritual growth, etc.
- Challenge your girls to ask for big things (Ephesians 3:20) and to pray believing that God is able to answer.
- Assign a girl to pray for each request as it is made.
- Keep track of prayer requests and answers to prayer. This is an incredible way to help girls see God answer prayer.
What are some creative ways you are helping your girls redeem their prayer and prayer request time? I pray that you will become passionate about prayer and burdened to help your girls become passionate about it as well!
Kate Downing is a Georgia peach by birth with a love for student and girls’ ministry. She has served on staff in student ministries all over the east coast and Texas, and now has the privilege of serving as the Girls Minister at The Church at BattleCreek in Tulsa, OK. Kate holds a Master’s of Religious Education degree from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary. She has a heart for helping teenage girls come to know and build an ever-deepening relationship with Jesus Christ and equipping girls ministry leaders to do the same. She loves speaking, writing, college football, and wandering the aisles of Hobby Lobby.
Connect with Kate: Instagram