3. Think Big.
In our meetings, I write three words on the white board: “Specific,” “General” and “Global.”
In the first, we identify items that are related to specific needs that we are aware of. In general, we pray for gospel renewal in our city, state and country. We push our vision of making and training disciples upon other churches in our city and our city itself through prayer. We pray for other churches who share this vision. We pray for revival in our church.
Every single week we hit this. We also identify places to pray for around the world. We have a couple of men who have lived abroad as missionaries in our group so we have some first hand issues to pray for among the nations.
4. Read the Bible.
After we fill up the white board with prayer requests, we read the Bible together. The chosen Scripture serves to provide a framework for our praying. We use that passage as a pallet to paint our prayers before God. (This is especially helpful as it shows guys how to integrate Bible reading into prayer while also encouraging Bible reading itself.)
5. Promote it.
We talk about men’s prayer all the time. We are always inviting men to join us, bragging about how God answered prayer, and referencing it in casual conversation. When leaders are behind something, it becomes more visible. If you believe in the prayer meeting then act like it; promote it!
Also, we have found that the prayer meeting is a perfect entry point for new people to the church. When someone asks how they can get involved, we’ll invite them to come and pray with the pastors on Tuesday mornings. In turn, they get to meet other guys and see the heartbeat of the church.
6. Set the Tone.
Prayer meetings can often degenerate into a petri dish for grumbling, self-righteousness and negativity. Leaders must labor to set the right tone here. In our setting, one of our leaders prays first to ensure that a gospel-rich, adoring tone has been struck. (Note: I added this point after initially posting the article based on some good feedback on Twitter from Dr. David Murray. I’m thankful for his pastoral wisdom here.)
If you want to establish a culture of discipleship, then prayer is a must. You must pray for it to happen, but you must also pray to sustain and support it. People learn to pray by praying.
As we look at history, prayer meetings are romantic. But you’re on the clock now; it’s time to make some history, it’s time to write the story.