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April 21, 2009

Take a Walk on the Wild Side of Prayer

Try something new, if you dare!

Note: In the next few weeks, we'll be introducing some "blogging all stars" from the world of small-groups ministry. One such person is Randall Neighbour. He is the president of TOUCH Outreach Ministries in Houston, and he regularly blogs at


I travel all over the world for my ministry work, training small-group leaders and members in far flung places such as Curitiba, Brazil, Seoul, South Korea, and Lilongwe, Malawi. In all of these places, as well as many others around the world, the believers don't pray the way we do. When it's time to pray—and it's always time to pray, by the way—everyone prays out loud and at the same time.

My conclusion? If anyone is weird, it's us Americans. "Concert" prayer is the norm among people of all races and denominational backgrounds outside of North America.

When I asked a pastor from Malawi if they ever use conversational prayer where one person prays aloud while others listen, he said, "There is far more power when everyone is praying instead of listening to one person. When we pray with many voices, it builds faith and removes fear that others will be critical of the words the person is using to speak to God. You should try it and you will see that it is much more efficient and powerful."

Let me challenge you today. Print this page and read it to your small group when you next meet. Challenge them to take a walk on the wild side of prayer and see if it's more powerful and more effective than listening to one person voice a prayer. Then, return here and report on what happened. I'd love to know how they responded and how God moved in your midst.


Randall Neighbour is president of TOUCH Outreach Ministries in Houston, Texas. He has authored numerous books on small-group life, leadership, coaching, and team-based evangelism, including Community Life 101 and The Pocket Guide to Coaching Small Groups.

Randall blogs regularly at

posted by Sam O'Neal on April 21, 2009 1:30 PM

Related Tags: Concert prayer, Prayer


I've used "concert prayer" when I taught Sunday School for teenagers, and it was surprisingly affective. I have yet to try it in an adult small group yet, but maybe it's time...

Conversational prayer might be the norm in the United States, but not an absolute. Pastor Jim Cymbala wrote a little book about how he started in the ministry and he wrote passionately about concert prayer. In fact, he credited concert prayer with the revival that turned his 20-something congregation into a 6,000 one. Adults may be more conservative (shy) about trying it, but once they start experiencing the power of the Holy Spirit that is unleashed when all are "united and unanimous" in prayer, they'll advocate for it!

It's good to know that concert prayer isn't as strange to American Christians as I thought.... it's hard to find churches that practice it regularly in their adult and/or intergenerational small groups though.

This is what I'm challenging small group leaders to do... introduce it to their groups and come back here to share what they experienced. It's transformational! Try it.

Dear friend, our church membership was devided into small groups, and it is the norm to be praying, everyone lifting their voices together at the same time, and praying in their own words about requests. Whenever I lead in prayer meetings, I always invite everyone to pray out loud at the same time for requests. It takes less time, and each person gets to concentrate, and be involved in the praying. Thank you for these very interesting and informative, and very helpful ideas, in reaching people for Christ. Your labor of love is never in vain in the Lord. While working for the Lord here on earth, you will be blessed, while doing so, and your life will be richer for it, not forgetting your reaping of your eternal rewards in time to come. God bless. Abigail

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