For nearly eight years I have been meeting every Tuesday morning with the same two women for coffee and prayer. We began meeting in a little church, then we moved to a coffee shop. When the coffee shop grew more popular—threatening our attention—we would fellowship in the coffee shop first and then pray in the car! Now we meet in one of our homes which affords us much privacy and plenty of less expensive coffee.
The longevity of this little prayer group astounds me because it’s something that I would never have expected. Not one of us have moved, and if something comes up to threaten the committed day, we simply switch to another day (I think we began meeting on Wednesday mornings). One day we realized the power behind our regular gatherings was in our number. One of us brought up Ecclesiastes 4:12 giving our little circle a name: The Three-Strand Prayer Group. Slowly ponder the words in this powerful verse:
A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken. (NLT)
By yourself you’re unprotected. With a friend you can face the worst. Can you round up a third? A three-stranded rope isn’t easily snapped. (MSG)
Because we are not islands unto ourselves, we humbly and willingly submit to the fact that we are spiritually protected as we gather in threes. Additionally, three people have more power to affect the Kingdom simply because they are not easily separated, broken or snapped.
On further study, we realized that our identity is found in the acrostic GRACE:
Grace toward each other
Reverence toward God
Accountability in the Word
Confidentiality in words shared
Encouragement through prayer
Without a commitment to GRACE we cannot work as a vessel of the Holy Spirit as interceders for each other. We would not love one another or draw each other to love our LORD. We would engage in petty arguments and judgments and turn them into our idols and castles. We would cease in our upward movement. And in realizing the power of our group we also realize an adversary who seeks to devour the power. Therefore, we pray for protection, ask God to keep us committed and give Him the glory, honor and thanksgiving for this little group. It’s nearly eight years since we began. We pray for 80 more.
Ready to start a Three Strand Prayer Group? Following are 10 guidelines to get you started.
- Pray that God would lead you to one friend with whom you can begin praying.
- When two of you are meeting and praying, ask God to reveal a third.
- Be flexible. Weekly meetings that work in one season or location may not work in another. Expect some change and be willing to work through it.
- Be tenacious. If a friend shows signs of pulling away, talk to him/her and find out the problem.
- Be accountable. Hold one another (and yourself) toward higher accountability through biblical truths.
- Be trustworthy. Never, never, never repeat things spoken during prayer time. Confidentiality is of utmost importance.
- Be reverent. Always take time to revere God, magnify His name, pray power for His kingdom.
- Be honoring. Honor not only each other but other people in our lives. A Three Strand Prayer Group is not a gripe session about our spouse or children.
- Be honest. Trust will take time so be honest if you can’t share. Praying for an unspoken need is just as powerful as praying for a spoken one.
- Be focused. Schedule any Bible study or service project at a different time. You will lose focus if it gets too complicated. Remember, “if the devil can’t make you bad he’ll make you busy.” Prayer is the last thing he wants you to accomplish!
Ways to pray:
None of these ways are right or wrong. We’ve done them all and continue to change or mix as we feel led.
- The Lord’s Prayer is the perfect model for prayer. Simply stating a line and then praying application for it in each other’s lives is very powerful and humbling.
- Meditate and pray through a Psalm or other scripture.
- Sing a hymn before or after you pray. Don’t worry about music; you’d be surprised how much God loves to hear us sing even if we can’t sing.
- Define a subject (via prayer requests) and everyone take turns praying, then move to the next subject, or assign each person a subject until all has been prayed.
- Try praying without prayer requests. Simply bow your heads and pray as the Spirit leads you.
Finally, encourage others to start a Three Strand Prayer Group and commit to pray for the longevity of these groups. God will multiply our prayers and gatherings when we do it in pursuit of Him and His glory.