Do you believe in prayer? Many people do and some believe that prayer changes things. Some people believe that prayer is the only thing that ever has or will change a situation.
There is a group of women who believe in prayer. This local group meets on Saturdays at 8:00 am. The group began in March 1998 and I am one of the members.
During the group’s first four years, it met at one of the local counseling centers. The group has met s at a member’s house, or at an identified location, and there are ten to twelve members. The group is diverse with its group composition cutting across racial, denominational, and age lines. The group is open to other women.
The members gather for prayer and have included the study of the bible and other books. Some books that the group members have read and discussed are What Happens When Women Pray written by Evelyn Christensen, Esther written by Charles Swindoll, Battlefield of the Mind and Managing Emotions written by Joyce Meyers, and The Prayer of Jabez by David Wilkinson and Rick Warren’s The Purpose-Driven Life after five members participated in a local 40 Days of Purpose campaign.
Annually, the group celebrates birthdays with cards no gifts, and shares in at least one or two social outings.
Following in the footsteps of great-grandmothers, grandmothers, and mothers who gathered in small groups for quilting bees or to pick and preserve the bounty from gardens, the members believe that women need membership in at least one small group. God designed women to be relational, nurturers, and live-givers. Women need to participate in a small group whereby they can share the joys and pains of life, be connected, and be authentic. Many of the local prayer group members have reported that the prayer and sisterhood have been a bridge over troubled waters. Each has seen God answer many prayers and each attest to the strengthening of her faith and walk with Jesus Christ. Many of the women have shared their personal journeys with coping with anxiety, depression, abuse, loss and death, incarceration of loved ones, and other phase of life issues.
The prayer group members highly encourage other women and men to consider forming prayer groups or other special interest groups. The group members offer the following tips:
Tips on Starting A Prayer Group
Pray and ask God to lead you.
Have one identified meeting place.
Keep it simple and don’t get caught up in performance –based activities/agendas.
Be informal. Come as you are. No competition or comparison needed.
Use books to encourage your learning and discussion.
Keep a balance of humor, laughter, and seriousness.
Help a sister/brother out in times of crisis.
Be for real- keep all facades and masks out of the group.
Honor and respect another person’s personal sharing.
Group members have found it helpful to not meet during holiday weekends.
As a Christian counselor, I spend time talking with clients discussing how they are meeting their emotional, spiritual, and physical needs. We also look at their social support networks. It is not unusual to learn that many people have lost interest, do not have the energy, and do not maintain connections with people. They find themselves being isolated from others. As a client progresses in the counseling process, he or she may be ready to making contact with others and we will discuss the availability of support groups and other small group experiences.
Clients have shared that they feel less depressed and anxious because of having someone to reach out to. Some people believe that a small group where one can be authentic actually helps to reduce the stress of day-to-day living. Many people agree that small group membership is important, especially if it is a resource where one can relax and feel accepted and valued for who she is.