Since small groups are predominantly made up of Christians, they can be an ideal context for missional prayer.
To make missional prayer a part of your weekly small-group gathering, try using 2+ Prayer Cards and this five-minute group exercise:
1 Minute: Remind
You can give a longer explanation the first time your small group digs into 2+ Prayer, but each week after, give them a short recap of what 2+ Prayer is, how you are trying to live this out together, and that you—as a group—are committed to it this semester or year.
2 Minutes: Share Stories
Tell stories of what God has been doing in the lives of your 2+ Prayer friends since the last time your small group met.
As you lead the exercise, expect that you will see God at work transforming your group as he enlarges your hearts for himself, his people, and for his mission to your campus. Your small group will see God answer prayer, sometimes quietly, sometimes spectacularly. And you will see God work on your campus as he chooses to change lives in response to your small group praying together.
However, if you experience more than one week where the above question is met with total silence, you should address it. Two non-threatening ways to start that discussion might be:
"Well, you guys, it seems that as a small group we have not had much to share concerning our friends' spiritual journeys the past two weeks. Let's talk about why that might be."
"Judging by our silence, it seems that maybe we as a group aren't spending very much time with our friends who need Christ. I wonder if we're too focused on just hanging out with our Christian friends. What do you all think?"
2 Minutes: Pray
While you can certainly spend more than two minutes praying for your 2+ Prayer friends together, start small. Sometimes have the small group break into pairs or threes.
This short prayer time should consist of two elements:
- Prayer for God (a) to draw your friends to himself, (b) that he would create spiritual interest in them and curiosity about Jesus, and (c) make them open to hear the gospel.
- Pray for yourselves that you would live lives of integrity. Pray that God would make you bold in starting spiritual conversations and give you courage to share the difference Christ is making in your lives.
Don’t be discouraged and give up if your group’s first efforts at 2+ Prayer are, shall we say, underwhelming. Remember, you're training your small group to think and pray toward the mission of seeing their friends become Christ followers. They are going through a learning curve and it may take awhile for them to “buy in.” Wait patiently. Sometimes the learning curve is big.
If you'd like to see your small group grow in evangelistic prayer, you can order 2+ Prayer Cards from the InterVarsity Store.
If you've used 2+ Prayer Cards with students in your small group, how have you seen students stretched and God respond? Leave your comments below.
Article adapted from Praying Toward the Mission (PDF).