If I am honest I've had a dream for a prayer group that would take God seriously since February. When you hear a prophetic word that cries out for an active response, and the leadership doesn't lead everyone to that active response, the desire builds to be in a place where God's messages and instructions are sought and acted upon 'pronto'.
A little before that there had been a prayer group of three of us, but three isn't a good number. Too often with three members there are two strong and opposing wills and one undecided and that makes discernment and developing common vision very difficult. Six is far better as a starting point. Before you quote me Matthew 18:20, let me say that the Lord is still present but He's harder to find with less than with more.
There's been a time slot begging too, because the youth group meets fortnightly on a Sunday evening. On the off week, the venue is empty.
Why haven't I done anything about it? Good question.
Everything I have initiated in recent years has turned to custard, i.e. spectacular failure. The willingness is there to risk again, but I can't face another failure of stepping out and doing something I believe He wants done and going face first into the concrete again. There has to be a reasonable hope of success. At this stage the only way I can see that coming about is if several people came up to me and independently expressed a desire for an intercessory prayer group, and at least six of them had truly genuine desires that they would follow through on. That's as likely as a grade A 'mountain moving' miracle at the moment. If it is to happen, it has to be God initiated, not me initiated.
At Pentecost in Rome the workshop on Prophetic Intercession - which I watched online – was a revelation. We need to be as servants waiting for the master to tell us what to do. We need to be waiting upon the Holy Spirit for what He wants us to pray about, and how He wants us to pray about it. Nothing less will do. But it requires a big mind shift, we are all too pre-programmed to pray about what we want to pray about and generally we are not good at waiting and listening.
The only way around that is good preparation. Everybody comes with baggage, whether it is health issues, financial worries, relationships in crisis, a friend dying, a relative with addictions, or something else. We need to pray for each other, so that these burdens and baggage can be set down in order for us to be free enough for God to share His with us.
We all come with sin, too. Normally just the dusty stuff that a good foot washing would remove, you know, the hasty angry words, the moments of selfishness, the complaining, the impatience in traffic. For these we need to seek forgiveness, so that they won't be an impediment to the action of the Holy Spirit.
It is easy enough to pray for baggage and burdens of the person on your right, and to pray for cleansing and purification of the person on your left. Details don't have to be mentioned, it is enough that God knows what they are.
Intercession is warfare, so something has to be done about protection from the attacks and counter attacks of the enemy. Use the holy water, call on the power of the precious Blood of Jesus, enlist the assistance of the guardian angels and warrior angels, ask the great prayer warrior Saints to join their prayers to ours.
Then collectively beg of the Holy Spirit that He would help us see what God wants us to see, to hear what God wants us to hear and to feel what God wants us to feel. Turning everything over to the Holy Spirit we wait for Him to act and lead us in prayer. That time of invocation and pleading might be expressed in praying in tongues together. There will be silence and waiting. Because God is a God of order, it is OK after a period of waiting to ask for a brief report about what people have been experiencing. If more than one is experiencing something similar, work with that. But sometimes there will be observable things that we can respond to – if we keep our eyes open. I'm talking about the classic signs of God's activity that John Wimber noticed, eg a sheen of peace over the face, eyelids fluttering, trembling hands, tears, laughter, inner glows. If you observe any of them happening, go and pray with that person asking the Holy Spirit to complete and increase the work that He has already begun in them.
Should all we have done is wait, and wait, then so be it. God is the boss. Maybe we need that silence and waiting to increase our hunger for Him. Maybe that's a prelude to something extraordinary in future weeks, something that couldn't be given without persistence. None of us open up our deepest secrets to a new friend, they have to be proved worthy of trust before that can happen.
This is different to a classic charismatic prayer group. They usually begin with songs of praise and lead into worship. During worship and the times of silence that fall afterwards, prophetic words are often received, discerned and shared. Theoretically there is a time of response to the prophetic words, and then there's a short teaching and maybe a short testimony, followed by some time praying for individual needs and situations, and a cup of tea with conversation to end with.
Both types are needed.
But I long to pray with people committed to this type of intercessory prayer group.
Only God can bring that about.
After waiting months there was finally an opportunity to pray this way, but there were only three of us and it felt far more like a disaster than a blessing. Lesson learned, it has to be fully and 'clear as crystal' God-initiated.
Can God bring something like this in to being?
Of course He can.
But it's a long painful road of waiting and hoping in the meantime.
Will it ever happen? Only He knows. But if the wonders He has promised are to happen, these types of intercessory prayer groups will be the conduits through which the rivers of grace are released.