I’m not very good at geography. Never have been. But I learned in school that any place on the face of the earth can be expressed in terms of latitude and longitude–those imaginary, hula-hoop lines that run across the globe, side to side or top to bottom. (My junior high science teacher is rolling in his grave.)
When forming a prayer group, there is always that nagging question of logistics. Where (and when) do we meet? Place and time are our “latitude and longitude.” And it’s not an easy matter.
You think your schedule is crazy…until you begin to overlay it with the schedules of two or three other women. The word “impossible” comes to mind. Monday? (Bad for me.) Wednesday? (Bad for her.) Morning? (Meetings.) Evening? (Sports.) And where is a good place? Your house? My house? A local coffee shop?
Lord help us!
But he will. And the first thing to do with your prayer partner(s) is pray about this. It’s not so much about “finding” a place and time; it’s about hunting it down and hanging that trophy on the wall. Not the most feminine metaphor, I know. But the truth is, plugging prayer into our schedules will require an act of “violence.” We may have to shove something aside, or even eliminate it. We don’t just find time; we have to make it. (Don’t forget, we have opposition that does NOT want this to happen.)
The Bible points out many occasions and locations for prayer. Here are just a few:
Mark 1:35—in the morning, while it was still dark, he [Jesus] got up, went out, and made his way to a deserted place. And he was praying there.
Acts 10:9—The next day, as they were traveling and nearing the city, Peter went up to pray on the housetop about noon.
Luke 6:12—During those days he [Jesus] went out to the mountain to pray and spent all night in prayer to God.
Where? In deserts or in boats, in the upper room or in the temple, in public or in private—wherever people can be, that is a place to pray. When? Predawn, noon, nighttime. The when and the where are as unique as the women in the group. The key to setting aside your prayer time is the determination to do it. The standard must be: We will do this by any means necessary. We will do this consistently. We will make praying together a top priority. It is not a matter of convenience; it is an act of will.
Loving the “first fruit” nature of starting the week with prayer, Whitney’s group meets in a group member’s home Monday mornings, early. Little ones are left with dads, as they grab a cup of coffee and the hem of Jesus’ robe. (Make-up optional.)
My group landed on Tuesday mornings before work at a local coffee shop. (Make-up not optional.) And that worked for a long time until transportation issues came up. And health issues came up. And a member left, and a new member came in. And so, we just…
…FOUGHT HARDER! Some drive a little farther to a member’s house. Right now, we have to find a day from week to week that skirts flu and doctors’ appointments. We meet a bit earlier, or a bit later. We make it happen. (Thank you, Jesus, for cell phones.) And it’s totally worth it!
Carve out that place and that time. If possible, create a consistent time and place so you establish the good habit of setting aside this beautiful time with God and your “prayer girls.” As Hebrews 10:25 admonishes us:
See, it’s not the cross of latitude and longitude that counts. It’s meeting at the cross.
Scour your calendar. What fills it up, and where could you blast a hole in it?
- Though all sorts of places may work for having group, the more private the better. Also, keep distractions at a minimum. If you have small children, try your best to find help watching them.
- At the outset, consistency is key. Research suggests it takes 66 days to establish a daily routine, so we can expect that a weekly one takes longer. The fewer changes the better.
- Guard your time. If someone needs to leave early, try to start a bit earlier.
- Don’t get easily discouraged. Once, I was the only one who showed up for group. But Jesus was there. I figured we had a quorum and prayed anyway. It happens. Move ahead.