7 Days of Praying for Your Family

Have You Been Concerned About Your Family Lately?

So often, we remember to pray for other people, but we forget to pray for ourselves and for those closest to us. We simply forget the power of prayer and that God longs for us to be in prayer with him! He especially desires for each of us to be in prayer about our family, the people closest to us on this side of heaven. To help you pray for yourself and for your family, here is a short, bullet-point, seven-day prayer guide that covers nearly every aspect of life.

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Weekly Prayer Requests

Prayer Button

We invite your group to include into its prayer time a weekly list that comes from the leaders of McLane Church. Please feel free to use these prayer issues in any way that fits within your own small group prayer time.

Thanks for helping to expand the depth of prayer intercession for McLane Church!



Prayers for this week - 3/20/19

  • For people to realize God’s great love for them.

  • For God’s leading and blessing of Mike as he preaches our Lenten sermon series “Road to the Cross.”

  • For the planning of our Good Friday and Easter services.

  • For our children and youth to experience Christ in a new way during this Lent season and at Easter

  • For a willingness for people to continue serving...with passion.

  • For people who really need Jesus to find him at McLane church and among all of us who attend.

  • For God’s blessing on Pastor Brian as he teaches the New Testament study on Wednesdays through Lent.

  • For our wonderful Life Group leaders to stay strong in their call to shepherd others in God’s kingdom.

  • For a deep desire for growth in the Lord.

  • For people who are struggling with health issues both mental and physical.

  • For Holy Spirit inspired teaching.

Group Conversation Prayer

How to Turn Your Group Prayers Into a Real Conversation with the Holy Spirit

Conversation prayer is praying with a group using a direct, simple, and brief conversational style. It's natural and scriptural. The prayer is based on the premise that God is concerned about everything in our lives, and the essential elements are an embrace of the Holy Spirit's presence and a dependence on the Holy Spirit to guide the prayers.

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Using the Lord's Prayer as a Model

"I'm praying for you." Have you ever said this to small-group leaders under your care, only to realize that you have no idea how to pray effectively for them? If so, you're not alone. How should you pray for those that God has entrusted to you? When asked how to pray, Martin Luther's answer was, "Use the Lord's Prayer." Luther saw this prayer as the model, the go-to prayer appropriate for nearly any situation. But Luther didn't merely recite the prayer; he used it as an outline to guide his prayer time. After all, Luther reminds us that Jesus said, "This is how you should pray," not "This is what you should pray."

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Prayer Ministry at McLane

Leaders of the prayer ministries at McLane Church hosted a meeting for their members (and anyone interested in learn more about prayer opportunities) to hear Brian Kelly cast the vision and explain the importance of prayer in our church.

Following Brian, the current ministries (Worship Team Prayer, McLane Men of Prayer, Personal Prayer after Worship, and Email Prayer) were described and an invitation to participate was extended to those attending the meeting.

All of these ministries are open to new participants!If you or anyone in your small group would like to learn more about any of these prayer opportunities, please drop by the MAP in the Boro and fill out a MAP card that you will find on the rack.  Someone from the prayer ministry leadership will get in touch with you during the following week.

Laying a Solid Foundation with Prayer

Prayer is a vital component of small-group life. It sets up and maintains the health and vibrancy of your group. Sound prayer practices can affect your group in the following ways:

  • Positively influence how your small-group participants interact and minister to one another
  • Empower and mobilize your small group to reach out and incorporate spiritually unconvinced people into the body of Christ
  • Open the hearts of the hurting to God's healing power
  • Open the ears of those who do not have a relationship with Jesus Christ to the gospel message

For these reasons, you should incorporate prayer throughout your small-group meeting. While each meeting should include prayer, you can keep things fresh by changing how you pray.

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Prayer - Philip Yancey

If God knows everything, why pray? Why do answers seem inconsistent and unpredictable? How can I make prayer more satisfying? Explore the most mysterious aspect of our relationship with God! Based on Yancey's best-selling Prayer: Does It Make Any Difference? this 6-session study illuminates a sometimes confusing yet infinitely rewarding activity.

Participant guides and the DVD may be purchased online or at your favorite local bookstore.

Watch a video preview here.

A Proper Understanding of Group Prayer

It's the end of your group's Bible study time. Almost with a cringe (because you've become conditioned to what's about to transpire for the next 30 seconds or 30 minutes), you say something like: "Okay, time to shift into our prayer time. Anybody got anything we need to be lifting up this week?"

What follows is either:

1.  A colossally awkward silence where you are thinking: Really? Nothing? Are your people dead inside? And your group members are thinking: Really? Share serious life stuff with everyone here? Are you stupid inside?

2.  A verbal cascade of prayer requests lasting 12 minutes each with tears, laughter, gossip, and maybe a little anger all wound up into such a mess that you have no idea what the bombardier who started this raid actually wants you to pray for.

Finally, after the awkward silence or the monologues, you say something like, "Who will close us in prayer?" This leads to a single prayer, probably by the unfortunate soul who made eye contact with you when you asked that question, and it lasts about 30 seconds. "God thanks for letting us meet, be with all the stuff we just talked about for 30 minutes, keep us safe this week, amen. No wait-in Jesus' name, amen.


Focusing Prayer in Your Small Group

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

Praying Aloud in Your Small Group

It is not always appropriate nor healthy when group members pray aloud.  You may see some of the things that happen in your own group identified in this piece.  Hopefully the instructions provided will help you to direct your group members regarding a better way to participate in your group prayer time.

If you would like to discuss this subject with Tavia or Roger, please feel free to get in touch.  We'd love to see you!

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In group prayer, there's usually time set aside for silent prayer. But most groups spend most of their prayer time praying aloud. That is how those in the group become able to pray together, at once, on one matter, in agreement. Each of us have our own strange ways of praying. That's good, because that's really you praying to God. But some of us will tend to do something else when praying aloud:

• preach

• teach

• give advice

• give pastoral-style counseling

• pass along information

• give a political speech

• talk of glory, success, or blessings.

Many of us can't turn off our awareness that it's a captive audience -- they're all listening, but they'd find it hard to get themselves to talk back. They're trying to focus on God, but they can't, because their thoughts are being led somewhere else. Look again at what's being said -- those are not prayers at all. They're not directed toward God but to the group. God doesn't need to hear the gospel, doesn't need our counsel at all, and needs our personal or political posturing even less. So who is it for? Such talk too often uses the words "they" and "them", as in "Them vs. Us" or "those poor deluded souls who think such-and-such". Is that really a plea to the Almighty? Or is it a call for group bigotry?

When you pray aloud in a group, there are some basic rules to follow. The first and foremost of these is to address God, and no one else. If it's not being said to God, it does not belong in prayer time. If you're saying a lot of "me" or "we" (especially when combined with "should" or "must"), or a frequent "I" that's not confessing, then it's not being said to God. The second is like unto it: keep it simple. The more you drone on, the longer and more fully explained it gets, the more everyone's mind will wander from the task at hand. If you have to explain it, it's too complex, and it's being directed toward the others and not God. If the petition is not simple in its nature, then talk about it before prayer time. That not only prevents wandering, but gets others more involved in that specific petition.

Source: Praying in Small Groups

Praying in Your Small Group - Part 2

Last week we began a series of articles on group prayer.  This week we continue this teaching with some discussion about formats and methods of prayer in your group.  Idea: Consider using a different one of these models each time your group meets...variety in your prayer time will raise interest and expose people to the understanding that there is no one "right way" to pray.

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Group Prayer

Most prayer group activities are done in a ring or circle. It's the most natural formation to take : each one faces most of the others, looking them in the face. It is a visible oneness (the ring) with visible parts (each person). It becomes even more so when the hands are linked, since the people next to you in a ring, the two folks you're least likely to be looking at, are the ones drawn to you by touch. Some see something mystical about the ring/circle, but its 'magic' is really simple human togetherness -- unity. God takes that and blesses it, since it's what God hopes to create between us. That is what makes prayers powerful.

The procedure that most people find most natural is to stand together in a ring, and have each person share for however long is needed, then going to the next person in the ring, until done. If hands are linked, one person can pass their turn on to the next simply by squeezing the next person's hand or softly saying something. Another common way is for each to share freely, in no particular order, waiting until the person speaking is done. Those who have experience in leading groups say that these are fine ways to begin, but it tends to become a rut, or concentration spans lapse. It helps to move from one procedure of prayer to another. For example :

Sentence prayers : each person, one at a time, offers a brief specific concern, praise, or thanks to God, ending with "Amen" or some other refrain. No explaining it, just saying it and leaving it. (Allow those who don't want to share to say just "Amen" so it passes on to the next person.)

Silent intercessions : The leader reads a general concern, and is then silent. Time is then taken to silently pray for specific people, actions, and ministries involved with that general concern. Then, after a while, the leader speaks a word of the Bible relating to that concern, and a brief prayer on it.

Basket of prayer : each person writes just one concern that is most on their heart, onto a slip of paper. The papers are gathered in a basket, and the group prays over them. This can be done by reading each one or leaving them unread all together in the basket.

Prayer for witness : Each person in the group names one person that they most want to see turn to Christ. This would be someone from work, hobbies, family, or other non-religious activities, that they meet in the course of their daily lives. After each one is spoken, the group then prays for an opportunity for a Christian's witness to hit home.

Two-by-two : at the start, names are randomly drawn to be matched in pairs. The pairs then go to separate locations from the other pairs (like, say, one in the kitchen, another on the deck, another in the garden, etc.). The pair then takes time to minister, share, and pray with each other.

Echos : Someone speaks a phrase of Psalm or hymn or a very specific prayer. Then each person repeats the phrase, with short breaks in between each time it is spoken. This gives everyone time to think on the phrase, or to silently let it sink in, listening for some stirrings within.

Groups confessing : one approach is for a leader to talk briefly about a general kind or category of sin. All those present write onto slips of paper a few words of a specific instance where they committed that kind of sin. These are not to be read by anyone; this is between them and God. The papers are then gathered into a cooking container. All those present gather around it, and speak together a prayer of confession of being sorry for that kind of sin and expressing the determination to cease that sin. Then all take the container to a safe place indoors or outdoors, and then someone lights it, allowing it to burn completely to ash. (Have something to douse or smother it with in case of flare-up.) Once this is done, someone then says that these sins are forgiven due to Christ's work on the cross.

Strong personal needs : Sometimes, in a group setting, someone will be so hurt by life (or so moved by the group or its actions) that they will break down. Other times, composure will hold, but the need for prayer is acute and prayer is requested. Either way, see to it that the person is sitting down securely. (This sitting is known in some circles as the 'hot seat'.) Ask that person to start praying. Then bring the others present to gather around him/her, laying hands and praying until a sense of comfort about the matter comes over him/her, or that person brings it to an end.

Written responsory prayers : Those in liturgical churches know these from worship services. A petition is offered, then ended with a clear ending tag, like, "O Lord" or "in Jesus' name", followed by a standard response spoken by all, such as "hear our prayer" or "let it happen, Lord". Then the next written petition is spoken, and so on. (The tags and response can be much less mundane than that. But simple often works best.)


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Next Week: When You Pray Aloud

Praying in Your Small Group - Part 1

Group Prayer Prayer is a vitally important aspect of healthy group life. praying in public doesn't come easily to many people.  Think of the first time when you were asked to pray in front of others.  Perhaps it was to ask the Lord's blessing on your supper at home.  The audience: your family...a fairly easy place to start.   Many folks have never even done that before.

One of your challenges as a group leader is to help your members become comfortable with group prayer.  Over the next few weeks we will be running a series on group prayer.   We hope that you will find them helpful.

Below, please feel free to add your own comments on prayer...and prayer in your group experiences in particular.  Thanks!

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Christians pray alone. They pray in large groups in worship, and sometimes even fill stadiums to pray together. But today's Christians often find their strongest moments of prayer in small groups with a few other believers. They do other things in a small group, too : Bible study, singing, and just being a small community together with each other. Prayer is a part of a larger small-group picture.

Small-group prayer is very flexible. Most of what is done in private prayer or in public worship prayer or concerts of prayer can also be done in small groups. Plus there's the flexibility to go from one way of praying to another, which keeps giving different angles to our small-collective relationship with God. Each group develops its own rhythm, style, schedule, and history. If it is a group that meets on a regular basis, it needs a clear purpose that the members invest themselves in.

Pre-prayer discussions

One of the most important times for a prayer group actually takes place before prayers. At that time, discuss what you're going to pray about. Have anyone present share burdens or give praise, always being encouraged to be specific rather than general. This enables the group to pray "in agreement", together in hopes and goals. Also, different aspects of complicated prayer subjects can be given out to different people. That's not to say that the prayers should be limited only to what's been discussed. Believers are often moved by the Spirit to take a different direction. The pre-prayer discussion is not there to put a straightjacket on prayer time, but to better inform and to clear the air.

People in a prayer group are free not to take part in any particular prayer or any specific exercise or approach. Most often, they'll just opt-out by shutting off their mouths and minds without anyone knowing about it. But sometimes, the objection comes out in the open. When it does, before going into prayer, find out why, and what lies behind it. The group may agree to adjust, or further discussion is needed, especially if it is divisive. The discussion can teach valuable lessons about the group's character and about prayer. Sometimes the best solution is for the member to exercise their right not to take part in that particular prayer or method, and for the rest to continue on.


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Next week: Formats and Methods