Ideas for Praying for Your Small Group

“Prayerless leaders are like ship captains without compasses; they can make their best guess at which direction to go, but they have no assurance they are heading the right way. Prayer keeps leaders focused on the one absolutely consistent factor in life—God.”1  

As 2023 started and I contemplated where the Lord wanted to do a deeper work in me, I sensed I needed to start with my prayer life. I know how to pray; I have all the right prayer “formulas”; I even have the cute notebook with the divided sections for each group of people in my life to pray for! The problem was that even though I had all the mechanics down, I wasn’t effectively utilizing these tools for the actual act of praying. 

I asked the Lord to show me how to deepen my prayer life, and sure enough, He gave me opportunities where He guided me to depend on Him in order to strengthen this area of spiritual health. One of those areas was praying for the small group of moms that I co-lead with a friend. I knew that if I wanted to see real change in my life and the lives of those I lead, it had to start with prayer.  

It seems many women I talk with struggle to get beyond the surface level of prayer as a small group. Prayer requests can sometimes tend to be mostly centered on minor needs, sickness, or outward circumstances without going any deeper into real spiritual needs or struggles. I knew that if I wanted to see deeper growth and connection among our group of moms, I needed to make intentional plans in my own life to have a more effective prayer time. If my life wasn’t showing evidence of total dependence on God, how could I lead others well? 

Here are a few things I’ve learned as I have taken steps to grow deeper in my prayer life and to pray more effectively for my small group: 

  • Identify the obstacles keeping you from having consistent prayer habits. For me, I had to overcome the illusion of having the “perfect quiet time.” I recognized that if I didn’t have the ideal time frame, I would avoid or delay prayer time. I had let laziness creep into my life, and I needed to address it. Instead of delaying, I started a new habit of getting up, getting my coffee, and going straight to my chair, with my prayer notebook and Bible.  
  • Make prayer a priority. Just do it! I think sometimes we make prayer more complicated than it needs to be. My granddaughters (ages five and three) have reminded me in recent days that prayer is simply talking to God. We can be in constant conversation with God. Ephesians 6:18 reminds us to “Pray at all times in the Spirit with every prayer and request, and stay alert with all perseverance and intercession for all the saints.” When a member of my small group comes to mind, or if I see a personal need arise, I try to follow up with a text and let her know I’m praying.  
  • Create an environment where women feel they can share in confidence and vulnerability. It takes time to build trust in a small group, but it is so rewarding when women go deeper with each other. This is where the real work of transformation and sanctification can take root. So often we recommend books, resources, articles, or podcasts, but we need to remember to pray first, pointing women to Jesus because He cares and is the answer to whatever our need may be.  

Now that we’ve looked at how to pray more effectively, let’s talk more specifically about what to pray. When a need or a struggle is mentioned, we sometimes overlook it and forget. Simply paying attention to things that come up in the conversation of the small group is important. Oftentimes, the season of life that our small group members are in will direct some of the areas we can pray for. How can we get beyond praying for just the surface needs in our small groups? I try to make a note and write down things that come to mind in the following categories: 

  • Pray for immediate needs (health, circumstances). 
  • Pray for spiritual growth (individually and in the group as a whole). 
  • Pray for relationships that affect your small group members (family, marriage, children, friends, community).  
  • Pray for private and/or personal needs. There may be an issue that a small group member is dealing with and has come to you in confidence about. Be diligent to not just pray for her but also to pray with her.  
  • Pray Scripture over your small group both in your prayer time and in your small group time. We are memorizing and praying Psalm 91 in our small group. His Word reminds us of who He is in our lives and how He meets us where we are. 
  • Remember to praise the Lord for the answered prayers! One of our moms recently had some breakthroughs with her kids and her health we had been praying over for months. As a small group, we were overjoyed, and everyone expressed thankfulness for how God had answered these prayers we had been praying!  

A few practical tips: 

  • Designate a day to pray for each member or a certain day for your small group. 
  • Keep a section of your prayer notebook, a prayer app, or index cards to record prayer needs. In addition, write down when the prayers are answered. 
  • Be intentional about sending a note or text to your small group members to let them know you are praying for them. I am trying to write more handwritten notes, so I stock up on simple notecards and keep them handy. As I pray, I can write a quick note and Scripture to encourage a small group member who is on my heart.  
  • Keep on praying. Be diligent. Don’t give up. Colossians 1:9a says, “For this reason also, since the day we heard this, we haven’t stopped praying for you.”  

The Bible is full of passages we can be praying over our small groups. I encourage you to dive in and start praying some of these with your women!  

“Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”  

Philippians 4:6-7 

1. Henry Blackaby and Richard Blackaby, Spiritual Leadership: Moving People on to God’s Agenda (Nashville, TN: B&H Publishing Group, 2011), 221. 


Shari has been a leader in women’s ministry for over twenty-five years and currently serves as a Lifeway Women trainer. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Public Relations and a certificate in women’s ministry from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. Shari serves as an adjunct instructor of women’s ministry at Ouachita Baptist University Pruet School of Christian Studies, located in Arkadelphia, Arkansas. Shari has been married to her college sweetheart for thirty-four years and has three sons and a beautiful daughter-in-law. She is also “Sibby” to two precious young granddaughters. She resides in North Little Rock, Arkansas, where she leads a moms group at her church. Shari loves to encourage women in their everyday and leadership lives, as well as through speaking and writing opportunities. You can follow her at and on Instagram @sharibeth88. 

Ready to renew your prayer life? Check out When You Pray: A Study of Six Prayers in the Bible. Over 7 sessions, you’ll join six beloved Bible teachers—Kelly Minter, Jackie Hill Perry, Jen Wilkin, Jennifer Rothschild, Jada Edwards, and Kristi McLelland—to study prayers in the Bible that can inspire your own. As you draw near to God through prayer, you’ll find your faith strengthened and your heart united to Christ. Order your copy today at

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