This is part 9 of a series of posts from David Francis’ Transformational Class: Transformational Church Goes to Sunday School . Click here for a free download of the book, as well as training materials to help you present the material to your leaders.
- Transformational Church Goes to Sunday School
- Missionary Mentality, Part One
- Missionary Mentality, Part Two
- Vibrant Leadership
- Two Key Principles: Open Groups Practicing Open Enrollment
- Relational Intentionality
- How Care Group Leaders Model Relational Intentionality
- The Absolute Necessity of Prayer Before, During, And After Small Group
This excerpt is adapted from Chapter 4, “Prayerful Dependence,” pages 25-28.
Prayer at the Class Level
Every group operates at one of three levels: class, community, or commission. At the class level, prayer requests tend to be general and safe. Prayer for folks experiencing the aftermath of natural disasters, political leaders, health issues of family members, and so forth. There’s nothing wrong with that just like there’s nothing wrong with a group that gets together each Sunday morning to hear a Bible lesson—even if that’s pretty much all they do.
Prayer at the Community Level
A good indicator that a group is functioning at the community level is when prayer requests become more personal—and a little less safe.
“They’re laying off at the plant again; pray that God will
provide for our needs if I’m affected.”
“Our son and daughter-in-law are divorcing; pray that we’ll
know how to love them and help the grandkids through it.”
“Our 16-year-old son is about to drive us crazy; pray that God
will give us wisdom about dealing with him.”
You may hear these kinds of requests in a large group but you are more likely to hear them if the class breaks into same-gender care groups. (Teachers of all ages can adapt these principles to their classes.)
Prayer at the Commission Level
A class sticks it toes in the commission level when it begins to pray about missions in general. It starts wading in when it adopts a specific Unreached People Group (UPG) for understanding and prayer. A class gets into the deep end when it starts praying for people who are far from God right in the offices, schools, stores, teams, recreational centers, and neighborhoods where they do life every day.
“Pray for Bill who plays on our office softball team. I think God may be working in his life. Would you join me in asking the Lord to engineer a circumstance that allows me to share a word of witness?”
“Would you pray for Charles and Pat? They’re nice folks who live across the street from us, but I don’t think they are saved. Ask God to give us the opportunity—and courage—to invite them to church.”
“Sandy’s a cute new girl at school. I think she likes me but I don’t think she is a Christian. Pray she’d consider going out with me and that I’d be faithful to share with her about my commitment to Christ.”
“All the kids in our fourth grade class make fun of Wanda and Billy. But I feel sorry for them. I want to invite them to Vacation Bible School. Pray they’ll say yes. And that kids here will treat them kindly.”
“My Me-Maw lives with us now, but she’s not a Christian. I’m going to start asking her to read the Bible story on our take-home pages to me every week. Pray God will help her learn about God.”
A visual sign of a class that is practicing evangelistic intercession is a poster with the names (or initials) of people the class is praying for. This should be a different list than one for Christians who have needs. It is a list of people who are far from God. The class or care group can celebrate each step those persons take that move them closer to Him. One senior adult ladies class in Oklahoma never takes anyone off their list. They just mark through the name with a pink highlighter, celebrating each name on their sheets that has also been written in the Lamb’s Book of Life!
David Francis is Director of Sunday School at LifeWay Christian Resources. Before joining LifeWay in 1997, he served as minister of education at First Baptist Church in Garland, Texas. David and his wife, Vickie, love teaching preschool Sunday School and are helping start a new adult class in their church in Hendersonville, Tennessee.