Is Your Prayer Meeting “FIT”?

How can we increase the chances that our prayer meeting’s style will be dynamic and engaging?

Let’s make sure it’s “fit”!

“FIT” is an acronym that stands for Flexible, Interactive and Tangible.

Flexible

Prayer meeting can be such a  lifeline for some people. Remember that you are dealing with real people with real situation in real time. Be prepared for God to surprise you and everyone.

In my case, I had an outline focused on God healing people last night. We were about to close our worship service, but a woman came forward shaking because she wanted to be prayed for. She had a complicated procedure scheduled for the following day. She shared that she was a believer in Jesus and trusted him despite her poor prognosis. As people  spontaneously came forward, responding to her story by choosing to stand by her side, I asked her if she was open to being anointed. I almost always carry  a via of fragrant olive oil with me.

Flexibility opens us up to teaching moments on God’s grace. She and the people there were able to see the practice of anointing  as it was introduced through Scriptural passage from James 5 and its application. If there hadn’t been any  flexibility to our outline, we would have missed the opportunity to respond to a very real crisis. Be ready to change and be changed.

Interactive

Have you been to a prayer meeting where an elder stands up front, opens a book and starts reading or preaching for half and hour? The only prayer that happens is the benediction after a long litany of testimonies and recited list of  prayer requests? I really enjoy our prayer meetings and leading them because it’s like having a conversation with everyone and with God. A guided conversation. Don’t be afraid to ask questions after you have established some ground rules, of course.

Other ideas to increase interactivity  could include: Opening the floor for people to share Bible Texts that have encouraged them or for a story of how God gave them hope or  to share their impression of how a Scripture passage is affecting them.

When a young man struggling with depression came forward one night, I invited others who might be able to relate to come up and  join him to stand by him for silent prayers while another prayed out loud. Anything that engages people to actually pray and participate with the person up front or with one another will help make the meeting more dynamic and personal.

Tangible

Prayer is by nature mysterious. God is mysterious. It is all too easy to speak about prayer and stay with the theory of it. The task of the leader is to help make prayer real and accessible and visible. One of my favorite things to do is to  set up a table with dark paper and chalk. I even have extra crayons in case children want to “draw” their requests. I’ll often invite people to write the name of someone they are worried about and want  God to watch over. The act of getting up and writing the name of a loved and walking away? It’s a way to act out  the reality of bringing someone to the altar of God and walking away trusting  that God  will take care of them.

One of our  favorite and frequent practices has been to pray with  a quilt requested by a concerned friend who whenever possible then brings the recipient along with them to the meeting. Big disclaimer here. We don’t believe that there is some kind of magic in the quilts. The quilts are each unique, hand-made and produced by our Women’s Ministry group at church.  Strings that serve to connect the quilt’s squares are left dangling so that people in the congregation may come forward and tie knots on the quilt. When the persons who are ill or in crisis later pass their hand over their quilt,and feel these knots,we wish them  to remember: “The people of God are praying for me.” and experience renewed hope in God. Through these symbols, Prayer becomes for many something that they feel then and can wrap themselves with.

What about you? Do you have other ideas you’d like to share on creative ways to make the mid-week prayer meeting more Flexible, Interactive and Tangible?