Praying together can feel particularly challenging during an online home group. For one thing, it can be hard enough to know where to look and how to sit when in the same room as people, let alone at one end of a webcam. On top of this, physical distance seems to diminish some of the intimacy of praying together and, if praying for a member of the group, it can be hard to read visual cues such as body language when only the face is visible.
Here are a few thoughts about how to lead times of prayer well in a virtual home group meeting.
- Acknowledge the weirdness
Give the group permission to feel odd about praying over the internet. It’s not normal and we shouldn’t make it out like it is.
- Explain the importance of prayer
Considering the difficulties of prayer in a virtual group, it’s important to re-envision the group with the importance and value of prayer. This will encourage people to push past any hang-ups and engage fully.
- Give clear structure
It’s not enough just to say that it’s weird. It is important to structure prayer in a way that moves beyond any discomfort caused by the abnormality of the situation. Explain how you will pray as a group and why that will work well in the context.
- Consider using breakout rooms
If you are using Zoom, you may want to split the group into breakout groups to facilitate prayer in smaller groups.
- Make good use of the mute button
One option is to introduce a topic and invite everyone to pray at once at home with the mute button on. This is a good option for groups uncomfortable praying aloud.
- Take your time
Conversation can be more stilted in an online meeting so we should expect prayer to be too. Take your time and give permission for pauses.
- Evaluate and debrief well
Feedback together as a group what is working and what is not when it comes to prayer. Allow home group members to share their experience and work together towards models and patterns of prayer that work for your group.
These are just a few simple pointers. It’d be great to hear what is working in your home group, please share your ideas on our social channels.