SUMMARY: On this week’s episode, Brian and Chris sit down with Dr. Malachi O’Brien. Malachi is the former second Vice President of the Southern Baptist Convention and current President of OneCry, a nationwide call for spiritual awakening. Malachi is also a social media strategist and contributor to Pray Like This by Steve Gaines and Michael Kelley.
The topic of today’s conversation between Brian, Chris, and Malachi is prayer. Although we typically view prayer as a personal discipline, the three discuss the ways in which prayer is a group discipline. Prayer transforms small groups, and Malachi explains the dangers in approaching prayer lightheartedly or hesitatingly. The reason our small groups fall short in their prayer life is because “most people haven’t been taught to pray, or haven’t had an effective prayer experience that gets them excited,” explains Malachi. “Most groups pray out of duty.” But the biblical model of prayer is actually corporate: When Paul gives his prayers to the church, he expects the church to pray together—not individually.”
Micah encourages group leaders to have a conviction for the power of prayer, as well as a vision for fulfilling that conviction. Most importantly, group leaders must lead by example and live lives of prayer. Brian affirms the importance of discipline in prayer in small groups. Brian, Chris, and Micah discuss the best way to make prayer request time effective in the group setting. It begins with stopping asking for requests—and ends on focusing on who God is.
Pray Like This includes six small-group sessions, applicable Scripture, “How to Use This Study,” and personal-study content and activities for five days of study each week.
The Groups Matter Podcast is a weekly show designed to resource, train, and encourage small group leaders. Each episode considers current trends and resources as well as timeless truths and methods of discipleship. It is hosted by Brian Daniel, a Bible study and discipleship expert in LifeWay’s Groups Ministry, and Chris Surratt, the Small Group Specialist at LifeWay and author of Small Groups for the Rest of Us: How to Design Your Small Groups System to Reach the Fringes.