Community Group Outline: Prayer Experience
This Prayer Experience is designed to give our communities space, a respite, and a reminder during this tumultuous time that Jesus is still the Savior, Healer, Baptizer, and the Soon Coming King. This evening will have four movements designed to allow our hearts to enter into His rest and for us to catch a glimpse of what He is up to.
For each movement we will take a portion of a Psalm and allow it to stir our prayer. Many times we can come to a time of prayer and simply repeat a similar rhythm and cadence we always have. We pray in the same way each time; while good, this can cause us to become stale. The Psalms are a wonderful tool as they invite us to pray in ways we are not accustomed. The Psalms, filled with the laments, prayers, praises, and thanksgiving of the Psalmists pan the depths of our soul inviting a deeper time of prayer. Enjoy tonight. This can be a great tool for your prayers going forward.
— Chris Bowlby, Associate Pastor, Community Group Lead
With each Psalm you will find that each verse has a prayer or encouragement from the Psalmist. Remember, these Psalms are real prayers from real people living a real life. Use each verse as a prompt for one of three things:
- A prayer or praise for yourself
- A prayer or praise for someone else
- A prayer or praise for the greater church/world
Use your journal to write down your responses to each verse. While spoken prayers are important we often underutilize written prayers. These can be powerful expressions as they cause us to think and ponder as we write. I have included some prompts along each verse; however, feel free to use each verse as a jumping off point for your own prayers. At the end of the night you will have a chance to pray as a group over some areas / people the Lord has highlighted to you.
Remember this is less a reflective exercise and as much as tool to fuel your own prayers!
Praise // Individual (15 Minutes)
With this movement spend some time praise God for what He has already done. God has been actively involved in your life to this point. Thank Him!
Psalm 138 (NLT)
1 I give you thanks, O LORD, with all my heart;
I will sing your praises before the gods.
- If you were standing before God, how would you want to praise him?
2 I bow before your holy Temple as I worship.
I praise your name for your unfailing love and faithfulness;
for your promises are backed
by all the honor of your name.
3 As soon as I pray, you answer me;
you encourage me by giving me strength.
- In what ways has God answered your prayers?
- How has God been faithful to you?
4 Every king in all the earth will thank you, LORD,
for all of them will hear your words.
5 Yes, they will sing about the LORD’s ways,
for the glory of the LORD is very great.
- How is God good outside of what He can do?
- How is God’s character praise worthy?
6 Though the LORD is great, he cares for the humble,
but he keeps his distance from the proud.
- What can you praise God for outside of your own life?
- How have you seen God’s Goodness across the globe?
7 Though I am surrounded by troubles,
you will protect me from the anger of my enemies.
You reach out your hand,
and the power of your right hand saves me.
8 The LORD will work out his plans for my life—
for your faithful love, O LORD, endures forever.
Don’t abandon me, for you made me.
- As you think of the past faithfulness of God, spend some time praising Him for what he could do in your current circumstances.
Repentance // Individual (15 minutes)
As we come before a Holy God our response is repentance. He is just and righteous; repentance is a gift in that we are able to quickly change the course of not just our actions, but our hearts as well.
Psalm 51 (NLT)
1 Have mercy on me, O God,
because of your unfailing love.
Because of your great compassion,
blot out the stain of my sins.
- How do you find yourself requiring mercy from God?
- In what ways do you need the compassion of the Lord?
2 Wash me clean from my guilt.
Purify me from my sin.
3 For I recognize my rebellion;
it haunts me day and night.
- How have you found yourself being rebellious?
- In what ways have you seen yourself consistently walking outside of the way of Jesus?
4 Against you, and you alone, have I sinned;
I have done what is evil in your sight.
You will be proved right in what you say,
and your judgment against me is just.
- Is there something particular you want to confess to God? Remember that on the other side of repentance is grace and restoration.
5 For I was born a sinner—
yes, from the moment my mother conceived me.
- In what way do you find yourself frustrated with your choices?
6 But you desire honesty from the womb,
teaching me wisdom even there.
- In what areas do you need the Lord’s wisdom?
7 Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean;
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
8 Oh, give me back my joy again;
you have broken me—
now let me rejoice.
9 Don’t keep looking at my sins.
Remove the stain of my guilt.
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God.
Renew a loyal spirit within me.
11 Do not banish me from your presence,
and don’t take your Holy Spirit from me.
- Ask God to both purify you and restore you
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and make me willing to obey you.
13 Then I will teach your ways to rebels,
and they will return to you.
- In what way do you need God’s help to follow him?
Petition // Individual (15 Minutes)
With a clean heart spend some time praying for yourself and those in your circle.
Psalm 28 (NLT)
1 I pray to you, O LORD, my rock.
Do not turn a deaf ear to me.
For if you are silent,
I might as well give up and die.
- Are you or anyone you know facing despair? Spend some time writing to God about it.
2 Listen to my prayer for mercy
as I cry out to you for help,
as I lift my hands toward your holy sanctuary.
- In what way do you or someone else need the help or mercy of God?
3 Do not drag me away with the wicked—
with those who do evil—
those who speak friendly words to their neighbors
while planning evil in their hearts.
4 Give them the punishment they so richly deserve!
Measure it out in proportion to their wickedness.
Pay them back for all their evil deeds!
Give them a taste of what they have done to others.
- In what ways are you, someone else, or the greater world experiencing the evil of others?
- Pray for God to intervene!
5 They care nothing for what the LORD has done
or for what his hands have made.
So he will tear them down,
and they will never be rebuilt!
- In what ways are you or someone you know dealing with others disregarding the ways of God?
6 Praise the LORD!
For he has heard my cry for mercy.
7 The LORD is my strength and shield.
I trust him with all my heart.
He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy.
I burst out in songs of thanksgiving.
- Who in your life needs the joy of the Lord?
8 The LORD gives his people strength.
He is a safe fortress for his anointed king.
- In what ways do you, someone else, or the greater Church need strength right now?
9 Save your people!
Bless Israel, your special possession.
Lead them like a shepherd,
and carry them in your arms forever.
- In what ways do you, someone else, or the greater Church need the salvation of the Lord?
Petition // Corporate (30 Minutes)
Take some time to come together and discuss what this experience has been like.
- What did you find beneficial from this way of praying?
- What did you find challenging?
- Take some time to share. Was anything highlighted during your time? Was there a particular person or situation that God brought to your mind? Take some time to pray together as in Triads or a group over the highlighted items.