Most people think that praise or worship is mainly singing. While singing can certainly praise God and be an act of worship it’s not the only way a small group can be worshipful. Consider this thought:
What if your small group took one whole meeting and just prayed? What would that be like?
Admittedly, it would probably feel awkward to start with. But once everyone got past that, and with the help of some gentle expectation setting and instruction, your small group could have a life-transforming time together: a meeting to remember.
Here are a few ways you can make this happen.
1. Start by telling people what you have in mind. “Tonight, we’re going to focus on God in a different way than we normally do. We’re going to turn our whole attention to Him in prayer. It’s going to feel a bit different at first, but just hang in there and follow my direction and you’ll see how God moves you through prayer.”
2. Put on a favorite song of praise of your group. Find the tempo of your group, find a song that matches that tempo, and tell everyone to close their eyes and just listen to the song. (If you don’t normally play music in your group, ask people in advance of the meeting for suggestions on which songs usually make them remember who God is.)
3. After the song, ask people what they thought of while the music was playing.
4. Then have someone read a Psalm. Find one that resonates with your group and have the person read it slowly. For some groups that might be the 23rd Psalm. For others it might be Psalm 91 or Psalm 121.
5. Then tell everyone to find a place where they can be comfortable. Tell everyone to start out by thanking God for as many things as they can think of. Some people use the ACTS approach to prayer – Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication. Others start out by praising God by acknowledging who He is, then praying for His will or direction or guidance in some area, and then thanking Him for answering prayer. Whichever way you choose, encourage people to continue with one aspect of prayer until they can’t think of anything else to say, then think about their favorite worship song, then come up with more words. Tell them that they will be surprised at how fast the time goes if they spend their time talking to God as though He was sitting right next to them. Encourage them to keep praying when they run out of things to say by just being still and knowing that He is God, and then praying some more.
6. When the group has spent time in prayer – for some groups that will be an hour, for others maybe a half hour, and for still others two hours – gather everyone together again and take communion as a group. Have the Lord’s Table set in advance so that there is no preparation time needed after prayer. Have someone lead the time of communion – you can just follow the easy instructions in our article on taking communion as a group.
7. Then close the group in prayer and send everyone out without anything more said. At your next meeting give people the opportunity to share about their experience at your group’s Night of Worship.
God wants us to spend time with him. It is His desire that we desire to be with Him. When we set our hearts to that He is honored and we experience His presence more fully. After you do this once, your small group may well decide that this will be a regularly scheduled part of the group, once a month or once a quarter. And the members of your group may begin to spend more alone time with the Lord on their own.