Several years ago, a woman named Joy Hill approached me after church and asked if I was interested in joining a new woman’s prayer group focused on praying for husbands who frequently travel.
“God put your name on my heart to invite,” she told me.
Joy was one of The Potter’s House worship leaders, so I knew who she was, but I didn’t know her on a personal level. I was cautious about the offer since it involved talking about my husband to people I didn’t know. Still, the idea of belonging to a prayer group like this touched my spirit. So I called Tammy Franklin, one of our mutual friends, and asked her what she thought. She said that Joy was amazing and that I should join the prayer group. So, with Tammy’s stamp of approval, I did. And after being a part of this group for many years, I can affirm that the experience has been life changing.
When we first came together as a group, Joy set boundaries and ground rules. We had to be on time. No food would be served at our meetings, just water and juice. The group would meet for one hour monthly, each time at a member’s house. Joy made sure we were all 100 percent clear on the group’s purpose: We were here to worship and pray, not vent about our husbands! Our studies began by reading a book by Pamela Hines called A Wife’s Prayer. Each month, we’d read a chapter, discuss it as a group, and then end the session by praying out loud together.
Over the years, this prayer group has evolved from a sisterhood of women coming together to pray into a group of women who have a unique spiritual bond and connection. We celebrate birthdays, have our own Treasure You Moments and spa days, and we’ve even taken overnight trips together. We are true sisters and girlfriends. We have grown together spiritually. We have counseled each other through the many different seasons of our marriages. We have helped each other deal with family matters and deaths. And most important, we are heart-connected through prayer. I feel so blessed to say that not one woman has ever betrayed another prayer group sister.
Joining was one of the best decisions I ever made. Thanks, Joy!
Prayer is one of God’s greatest gifts, and its power to heal and fulfill is amazing. And when you share prayers with others you trust, the power builds. It’s so awesome to know that through praying with people, you can be that close. That’s the work of God, and it’s beautiful. It was during a powerful prayer group time that I had the revelation that I hadn’t truly healed from my mother’s death, and instead of looking for a way to fill the hole, I needed to allow God to heal me. This sudden understanding, which I felt deep in my spirit, changed my life.
When you participate in a prayer group, you are, in some ways, putting yourself in a vulnerable position. You’re sharing your feelings, your beliefs, your convictions, your struggles, and your concerns. You’re also opening yourself up, sometimes even exposing your deepest emotions. It was for this reason that my sister and girlfriend Melani Ismail first shied away from joining our prayer group.
“I thought about my privacy and not wanting to have that level of openness with anyone,” she said. “There is a different vulnerability when you open up spiritually than when you put out spiritually. I only had that level of vulnerability with my mother.”
But Joy was persistent in her attempts to help Melani realize what she could experience, and eventually Melani joined our group. Over the years, she’s sought advice, found comfort, or relied on sisterhood for issues related to her marriage troubles, the death of her father, and raising her children. She says she has learned something from every person in our prayer group.
Here is another reason why prayer groups are so special: They are the foundation for true, unyielding friendships. “This group matured me as a woman,” Melani said. “I have become more accountable in my friendships. I have learned how important it is to carry and hold a secret. I learned that you have to be a secret keeper. And I learned to RSVP!”
It’s the bonding that changed Melani, she said. “Your friendships should teach you to be better, not tear you down. . . . It’s a great place to learn how to be a friend.”
As our group grew closer year after year, we made the decision to refrain from expanding our circle. We wanted to preserve the special dynamic we have. (But because we knew firsthand how powerful prayer groups are, all of us agreed to help anyone who wanted to form her own group.) It’s amazing that the most simple thing—prayer—can bring people together on such a deep level. Prayer unites us and connects us to one another—and the Lord—in the most special ways. “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them” (Matthew 18:20).