The way we pray can have a huge impact upon how we are missional. I’m not just referring to a group having a list of “pre-Christians” they pray for during their meetings. Missional prayer actually lets those in our neighborhoods see inside how we relate to God. Instead of seeing prayer as something we do within the Christian enclave, it demonstrates a relationship with God to others who need to see who God really is.
But this requires two things:
1. We must cultivate a genuine relationship with God so we can reveal it. Missional prayer results from an overflow of communion with God. Such prayer creates space for the kingdom in our lives and in our world.
2. We must cultivate friendships with people in our neighborhoods so they can see into our lives and view our communion with God. We don’t do this with the intent of “winning” them to something. We do this because we are a people of love and we want to share life with them.
This is the reason Missional Small Group life is shaped by Missional Communion with God. If we fail to see our prayer as missional, we will be tempted to make prayer into an enclave activity and then try to do missional things. We must show people our relationship with God.
If you want to tap into the power of missional praying, how do you do it? At first it can feel intimidating because some assume they need to have a very well developed sense of communion with God before they can show others what it means to walk with God. But that is a misnomer. We only need a genuine, honest relationship with God. People need to see us struggling to relate to God, which will be the reality for the rest of our lives. People don’t need to see some form of dishonest perfectionism. They need to see saints who know how to walk with God through the ups and downs of relating to him.
That being said, here are a few ways to make prayer missional:
1. Seek God’s presence in your group meetings. Bible studies are good. Working through video curriculum can be helpful. But if you are settling for a focus on these things and missing out on God’s living presence in the midst of a group, then you are settling for less than the best. (I will have a post soon on how to lead people into God’s presence.)
2. Develop some group practices for connecting with God so you make it part of the life of the group, both during the meeting and in other settings. (This is the focus of chapter 7 of Missional Small Groups.)
3. Take a meeting to talk about the people in group members’ lives who need a touch of God’s love. Maybe it’s a neighbor whose husband just lost his job. Or a co-worker who has lost hope. Or a workaholic couple whose kids are home alone all the time. Make a list of these people.
4. Ask God about how you as a group can pray for the people on the list. Start off by spending some time in worship. Read and reflect on a passage like Luke 4:18-19. Listen to God’s leading about how the group could be a blessing to anyone on the list.
5. Pray God will open doors for conversations and ideas for ways to demonstrate more about how the group relates to God. For instance, host a cookout and invite some of the people on the list.
6. When talking with people, ask them, “Is there a way I can be praying for you?”
Do you have some additional ideas that can help make prayer missional?