Communal Listening Prayer
Prayer is a two-way conversation between people and God. We may be very familiar with asking God for things, or telling God about things, but listening prayer is an intentional quieting of our souls to hear what God has to say. This resource will help you learn the steps to leading listening prayer with your small group to encounter God together.
Here are some instructions for leading your community into a listening prayer experience:
1. Prepare your group
Invite your small group to be quiet. You may want to find a quiet location or one with ambient noise. Give permission for people in your small group to opt out and instead pray for those listening to God to be able to hear.
2. Listen together
You may use a prompt from Scripture or a more open-ended prompt and ask God to speak to your group and the circumstance you find yourself in. As you lead, pause after each bullet point to create space for your group to follow along in their mind.
Sample Scripture Prompt: Rich Young Ruler (Mark 10:17-31)
- You are in a crowd of people, and you’re thinking about the purpose of your life. It feels weird to be in this crowd: on the one hand, you are dealing with a question that really is about you, and yet you are in a crowd full of people.
- What are you thinking? How do you feel?
- You know that you have something that has kept your full attention. In our passage, he had great wealth. But for you, what is the thing that keeps you from fully following Jesus.
- What is it?
- Now picture that as an object in your hand.
- Can you see it? What does it feel like?
- As you look ahead, you see Jesus in the middle of a crowd. There’s a circle around him, and he’s teaching.
- What does he look like? How does he sound?
- He sees you from afar, and makes a beeline toward you. You can tell in the look in his eyes that he loves you. You haven’t felt that kind of love before.
- How does he greet you?
- He notices what you have in your hand, and motions to have it. He wants you to give it up to him. Are you willing?
- What do you do next?
3. Share what you think you’ve heard from God with each other
With humility, test what you’ve heard with the following filters:
- Consistency with God’s character revealed in Scripture
- Confirmation by community (both local and historical)
- Conviction and love, instead of condemnation and fear
4. Look for shared themes or motifs as a small group
Does anyone resonate particularly with an image? It’s okay if people didn’t hear, see, or experience anything.
5. Close the time in prayer, thanking God for speaking
Ask God to make what you all heard/saw clearer and to give you courage to act on it.
6. Follow up with each other
Follow up the next week to see if what was heard has become clearer. Hold each other accountable to respond actively to the actions God has invited in prayer. Debrief and interpret what God showed you all from this experience. This process will lead to a growing faith and sense of mission.
Go deeper with Listening Prayer
- Curious about the Biblical Basis for Listening Prayer? Learn more here.