Prayer and Bible Study Groups

Prayer and Bible Study Groups

God designed humans to live, work, and worship in small groups. The Trinity is the original small group; one in purpose, nature, and character. On earth, families are God's basic small group design. Later, when the Israelites were leaving Egypt, God led Moses to establish small groups for organization and justice (Exodus 18:17-25). Jesus established a small group of disciples among his followers so that he could train them for leadership. He also actively engaged in house-to house labor (Matthew 13:44-52; Mark 9:33-50; Luke 7:36-50). After Christ's ascension, the apostles also organized the young church in small groups and home fellowship (Acts 2:40-47).

"So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved" (Acts 2:46-47).

We are also divinely counseled to use small groups in our churches for evangelism and church growth.

"Why do not believers feel a deeper, more earnest concern for those who are out of Christ? Why do not two or three meet together and plead with God for the salvation of some special one, and then for still another? In our churches let companies be formed for service. Let different ones unite in labor as fishers of men. Let them seek to gather souls from the corruption of the world into the saving purity of Christ's love. The formation of small companies as a basis of Christian effort has been presented to me by One who cannot err. If there is a large number in the church, let the members be formed into small companies, to work not only for the church members, but for unbelievers. If in one place there are only two or three who know the truth, let them form themselves into a band of workers. Let them keep their bond of union unbroken, pressing together in love and unity, encouraging one another to advance, each gaining courage and strength from the assistance of the others. Let them reveal Christlike forbearance and patience, speaking no hasty words, using the talent of speech to build one another up in the most holy faith. Let them labor in Christlike love for those outside the fold, forgetting self in their endeavor to help others. As they work and pray in Christ's name, their numbers will increase; for the Saviour says: 'If two of you shall agree on earth as touching anything that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of My Father which is in heaven.”' Matthew 18:19. Testimonies, Vol. 7, p. 21

What should small groups do? They are to gather to pray, study the Bible, share personal experiences and reach out for Christ.

"Let small companies assemble in the evening, at noon, or in the early morning to study the Bible. Let them have a season of prayer, that they may be strengthened, enlightened, and sanctified by the Holy Spirit. This work Christ wants to have done in the heart of every worker. If you yourselves will open the door to receive it, a great blessing will come to you. Angels of God will be in your assembly. You will feed upon the leaves of the tree of life. What testimonies you may bear of the loving acquaintance made with your fellow workers in these precious seasons when seeking the blessing of God. Let each tell his experience in simple words. This will bring more comfort and joy to the soul than all the pleasant instruments of music that could be brought into the churches. Christ will come into your hearts. It is by this means only that you can maintain your integrity."  Testimonies, Vol. 7, p. 195

These downloadable resources will help you know how to start and lead effective prayer and Bible study groups in your church. 

How to Lead a Prayer and Bible Study Group

The Power of Praying Together

Prayer Group Suggestions

Guidelines for Group Bible Study

Covenant Dynamics for Prayer Groups

Ten Steps to Start a Prayer Group

Additional Resources

  • Prayer & Bible Study Presentation (PowerPoint) - Excellent presentation created by Karen Martell to use to teach others how to lead an effective Bible study and prayer group. Includes speaker's notes. PDF version.
  • John 17 Worksheet & Leaders Guide (download) - Designed to take a small group through a prayerful study of Jesus' last prayer, this worksheet and leaders guide will show you how to help people engage with God's Word in a way that is transformative.
  • How to Lead a Small Group Study (Video) - Wondering how to lead a small Bible study group group more effectively? We believe you will be blessed as you watch Clifford Goldstein, long time Sabbath School Quarterly editor, share some ideas for your small study group.
  • Growing a Young Adult Interactive Bible Study (Video) - In this interactive video featuring Derek Morris, Anthony Kent and guests Sergio Gonzalez, and Oleg Kostyuk, we learn what it means to lead a Young Adult Interactive Bible Study. If you are interested in young adult ministries or just want to know how to grow your Bible study leading skills, this program is sure to inspire.
  • Successful Small Groups (Book)—This practical guide by Kurt Johnson illustrates the proven effectiveness of small groups in nurturing the spirituality of current church members and leading friends, neighbors, coworkers, and others to a saving relationship with Christ.
  • How to Lead Small Groups (Booklet) - The potential for church growth through Christ-centered, spirit-led and well-organized small groups is unlimited. This book outlines everything you need to know to start small groups in your church. You’ll learn about the history of small groups, how to organize small groups, selecting leaders, coordinating meetings, the small group life cycle, and more.
  • Small is Big (DVD) - Steve Case presents a fresh model for small groups with a focus on personal growth in a spiritual context. Discover how to avoid several sure killers of small groups, as well as they key components for making your small group vibrant and intimate. 
  • LIFE - Small Group Leader's Kit - Includes everything you need to grow your church in Leadership, Identity, Family and Evangelism. By Alejandro Bullon. Also in Spanish.
  • Revival and Reformation has a number of excellent resources on prayer and Bible study. You'll learn pray more effectively and how to study the Bible alone, with groups, and on your own.