Principles of Team Prayer
Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in me. ~ Jn 15:4
Am I convinced of this fundamental principle?
Jesus says that without prayer, without a trusting surrender to the will of God, it is impossible for even my best efforts to produce true spiritual fruit. No amount of strategizing, planning, rallying, or advertising can make up for a lack of prayer. And without prayer, I am like the fishermen who toiled all night long and caught nothing.
This is just as true for teams as it is for individuals. And so, your team meetings must be grounded in prayer.
The form of prayer your team adopts can vary, but you should always strive to embody the following principles. They will help your time spent in prayer together bear fruit.
- Deliberate – Your team reserves time for prayer. It is not haphazard or rushed. You incorporate prayer deliberately into the cadence of your meetings.
- Communal – Your team prays together. All your team members are present and invited to actively participate in prayer by sharing what they have received.
- Honest – Your prayer as a team is connected to real situations and circumstances of your parish relationships. Team members are vulnerable with one another (with appropriate discretion).
- Open – Your prayer time includes silence for listening to the Lord and discerning his will. It is not exclusively petitionary prayer, group sharing, or recitation of rote prayers.
- Missional – Your team prayer time is directed toward discerning and fulfilling the mission of your parish.
Principles of Prayer applied to The Stages of Group Development
(If you haven’t read the linked article, the following will make more sense if you do so now!)
As your team grows through The Stages of Group Development, you will find that leaning into a few of the principles will help you flourish.
Because your team is new and there is often low trust among the members, focus on being deliberate and communal. At this stage, it’s important to set clear expectation for prayer and to model active participation.
As your team grows in trust, conflicts will arise. And that conflict will be harmful if team members are not truly vulnerable with each other. At this stage challenge your team to be truly honest and open in prayer. The increased vulnerability as well as the ability to hear the Lord’s promptings will help your team enter into healthy conflict.
Because your team has a high level of trust and intimacy, now is the time to direct your shared prayer towards discerning God’s will for your work. Lean into being missional. Ask the Lord specifically what he wants for your team and your work as you pray together. Direct the prayer toward the mission of your parish rather than personal growth.
At this stage, your team is running on all cylinders, and so you should also find that during prayer, each of the principals have become habits of prayer for your team.
Feel free to bring this article to your team. Discuss how you will all commit to deliberate, communal, honest, open, and missional prayer as a team.
And if you need somewhere to start, we recommend the following resources as easy formats for shared prayer: