Let's look at the focus of our prayers. Are they too wide and general...or very focused and specific? What difference does it make? As we bring this series to a close, we hope that you will consider sharing some of the stories related to answered prayer within your group in the comment section below. Everyone is encouraged and God is glorified when we testify to His faithfulness in this way.
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Without a deliberate effort to keep prayer concerns as wide as God's world, groups (and people) tend to get ever narrower in what they pray about. This can be prevented by creating a structure in which a broad range of concerns are addressed each meeting. Most common is to start with praise, then introspective and contemplative prayer, then move to prayers for self and family, then intercessions for each other and the faith challenges/opportunities faced each day, then the congregation, then the community at large, the nation, and the world. Then, bring the focus back down to one: Jesus. Then, end with prayers of thanks and praise.
No matter how broad the prayer concern is, the prayers need to be specific. God didn't incarnate as a generic human, but came to be like us. And we are specific beings: our life events, experiences, hopes, and needs are all tied to specific times, places, people, and decisions. Even on the broadest of matters. The same goes for our prayers. So it's not "Hold Dick's family together", but "Give Dick patience and insight, give Jen focus and fortitude; rebuild the love between them." Or, it's not "grant peace in Palestine", but "release the hostages recently taken near Nablus, help alleviate the maze of travel checkpoints, comfort the family of Moishe and the others who lost loved ones in yesterday's bombing, and bring jobs to those in poverty, especially Khalil and his son". God's already connected to us, and God is connected to them; the cycle is incomplete until we are connected to them. For that to happen, we have to care enough to get down to the details. If you know that a certain general subject will come up in prayer, someone in the group should take on the task of finding out more, to focus in on what the specific needs are, and then share that with the group in its pre-prayer discussions.
Source: Prayer in Small Groups