How to pray for your Alpha
Prayer is the foundation of every Alpha. Are you hosting one in your church, community or campus?
Pray for your Alpha
Research in the UK revealed that there is an almost exact correlation between the amount of prayer mobilised for Alpha and the number of guests who attend. The hosts and helpers who facilitate the discussion groups on a Course are well-positioned to pray for the needs of each individual in a way that no-one else can.
It is essential to pray before, during and after the course for the people who participate. Here are some ideas to help you pray daily, weekly and when hosts and helpers gather.
Aim to pray daily for the members of your group by name in your own personal prayer time. You may find it helpful to keep a list somewhere you’re likely to see it and make notes of anything the Lord shows you as you pray. If you have five or fewer guests in your group you may want to assign each a finger or thumb and work through your hand praying for each during your daily commute.
The whole Alpha team should allow enough time to meet each week before the guests arrive for a briefing and prayer meeting. This is particularly important for the session ‘Does God heal today?’ The team can wait on the Lord together for words of knowledge, pictures and wisdom. These can then be read out after the talk and people who respond to them can be offered prayer or they could simply inform how your pray for and interact with guests.
Hosts and helpers
It’s a great idea for hosts and helpers to meet together occasionally apart from Alpha nights in order to pray for those in their small groups in an unhurried, less pressured way.
While the hosts and helpers should take primary responsibility for praying for their guests, there may well be others in the church that would be willing to pray as well. Inviting them in could add fuel to your prayer time and give them the opportunity to pray for the team as it serves.
Encouraging guests to pray
Giving guests the confidence to pray enables them to engage directly with God as they explore the big questions of faith. Here are a few hints to bear in mind when you're modelling and encouraging prayer with your guests:
Watch your language – brief your hosts and helpers about praying in front of guests. It’s best to keep prayers understandable and therefor avoid any specialist Christian language, phrases or metaphors they may be unfamiliar with.
Short and sweet – when praying aloud ask hosts and helpers to keep their prayers succinct and positive. If they pray eloquently for a long time guests may feel intimidated and unable to follow on from them.
Posture matters – prayer can at times be an intensely felt communication but when modelling prayer to guests, as a general steer it’s good to keep it open and relaxed. Make sure your posture is relaxed, not curled inward and your face is calm.
Get them praying early – from a few weeks in why not invite guests to pray a sentence about a specific thing, i.e. Jane, would you pray and invite God to help us hear one another tonight? Be specific and encouraging.