InterVarsity is a movement founded on prayer. We trace our roots to a daily prayer meeting at Cambridge University that goes back to 1880. Stacey Woods has said:
“The history of our student movement has demonstrated that a prayerless chapter is a fruitless chapter. Prayer spells all the difference between working for God in our own strength and wisdom or being fellow-laborers together with God in the works that He is seeking to do in the University.” (Growth of a Work of God)
If a chapter is to be known as a praying fellowship, prayer will need to be more than just an addendum to the large group meetings. Prayer in large group meetings can take the form of:
-Praise -Response to Scripture -Invocation
-Confession -Affirmation of Faith -Benediction
-Thanksgiving -Intercession -Consecration
Be sensitive to the numerous prayer traditions that people come from. As it’s appropriate, use some of the following forms:
1. The leader can lead in prayer on behalf of the whole group.
2. Silent prayer to confess personal sin or offer personal requests.
3. Community Prayer: (Be sure instructions are clear; that everyone understands the style and procedure)
a. Cambridge Style – several people lead ending each prayer with “In Jesus Name”, everyone joins in “Amen”.
b. Conversational – usually better for small groups. Several people lead in short informal prayers, moving from one topic to another.
c. Scripture Prayers – many people lead out in short prayers of praise, confession, etc.
d. Liturgical Prayers – using the Lord’s Prayer or written prayers to pray in unison.
e. Divide Into Small Groups – this can encourage greater participation. Be sensitive to non-Christians and visitors. Don’t put them in a situation where they are forced to pray.
Here are some Biblical models for prayer to get ideas for content:
– Numbers 6:22-26 (Aaronic Benediction)
– I Kings 18:36-37 (Elijah on Mount Carmel)
– Nehemiah 1:5-11 (Nehemiah Interceding for Israel)
– Book of Psalms
– Matthew 6:9-13 (Lord’s Prayer)
– Luke 1:46-55 ((Mary’s Song)
– John 17:1-26 (Jesus Intercedes for Disciples)
– Acts 4:24-30 (Believer’s Prayer)
– Ephesians 1:17-23; 3:14-21 (Paul’s Prayer