Starting a Prayer Group:

1. Don't wait until there is a huge problem to start a prayer group. Yes, it can help solve the problem, but wouldn't it be nice to have it in place before then?

2. Pick someplace to meet. We found that a casual home setting worked better than a public meeting place which felt too formal.

3. Provide simple refreshments. People may be anxious about praying in front of others. A hot cup of coffee is a comforting thing.

4. If you don't have a formal program, ask someone to be prepared to introduce a topic. I've discussed labyrinths. We've read sermons on prayer and articles on how to pray.

5. Ask people to bring favorite prayers to share. This is a good way to get quieter members to participate.

6. Don't be disappointed by a slow start. No one can make every meeting and it only takes two people to have a meeting.

7. Keep a list of participants. If someone misses several meeting, contact them and make sure they are ok.

8. If you start meeting in a time of crisis, it may take a while to function as a prayer group. People may need to vent before they can pray, but do help them get to the prayer.

9. Limit your expectations. Take the situation and the people as they come. You may be surprised by what you learn about your friends and neighbors and even yourself.

Coming to You in Prayer

Help me lift my mind
and heart to You.
Let me come in reverence
for You are greater
than anything else can be.
Let me raise my voice in thanks
for You have given me so much.
Let me hold up
my brothers and sisters,
fellow humans,
in need of Your love,
Your strength
and Your mercy.
And last of all,
let me share with You
my own concerns
for You are the One
who listens when I pray
and holds my cares close
day and night.

-Sue Bradford Edwards


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