Getting Things Ready
The organisation of the meeting itself merits careful thought.
The group needs to be clear what its task is. Are you meeting together to pray for world peace? to pray for those who are sick? or do you want to explore different ways of praying? The group’s task may change over a period of time.
Again periodic opportunities for the group to review what its task is can be helpful. It may be easiest to alert people at one meeting of there being a review-time at the next so that they have time to collect their thoughts. Some people are good at talking off the top of their heads and others prefer time to think first!
It is very important to establish at the very beginning of the group meeting together that anything that is said is to be treated as confidential.
Do you want to begin or end the meeting with refreshments? If so make sure that they are kept simple so that providing them does not become a burden. If you always meet in one members home it may be appropriate to share the cost of refreshments.
How will you handle interruptions such as the phone ringing, or the door bell going, during the meeting? Can the phone be taken off the hook? Can someone be delegated to deal with any interruptions? What about mobile phones?
How will the seating be arranged? A circle is often best unless the particular prayer exercise requires a different arrangement. Some may not want to sit at all! Soft, comfortable, unobtrusive lighting is much more relaxing than harsh lighting. It is astonishing how the 'feel' of the room in which you meet will make a difference.
It is often helpful to use music in a prayer group. If you do it is very important to rehearse the logistics. If you have more than one piece of music, can you put them on the same tape or CD, one after the other for ease of playing.
If you're using a Bible it may be helpful to agree beforehand which version you're going to use - even to the point of reproducing the text on a piece of paper for everybody. It may be fascinating to see how different versions vary but it may side-track people from the agenda in hand.