St Michael’s Prayer Groups 2012
Praying for others has been regular part of those coming to St Michael’s for at least 20 years. For historical reasons they were called the ‘prayer quads’ and they were invited to pray for the members of their group each day. When a member was ill, they could call upon their fellow members to pray for them, and the same principal would apply if a member had a family difficulty which they felt able to share with their ‘group’. However, experience showed that this was not often done, especially where people went to different services and didn’t always know each other very well. To circumvent this and encourage people to meet others who came to church at other times, the groups were all re-grouped every 12 months or so.
Compared to some other parishes whose prayer groups were based upon regular study at Christian growth groups, Winterbourne’s week-day activities had followed a different pattern. The healing ministry, bible study and Christian justice groups had focussed on their primary purpose without usually encouraging their members to participate in private prayer on a daily basis. A positive step forward would therefore be to reform the prayer groups in a more permanent way and to draw together those who shared a particular attitude to faith within the church. Whilst this was not possible in all cases as the size of the groups was limited to four or five people for practical purposes, this remains the guiding principal behind the restructuring. Each of the seven groups has a contact person who is able to inform members of prayer requests. It is hope that in this way no one person has to phone nearly forty people, nor will there be a single prayer chain which previous experience suggests would be prone to ‘breaks’.
The requests fall into 3 categories. Firstly, there are the needs of the quad members themselves and their personal ‘everyday’ concerns, which are addressed without any need to refer to the wider prayer groups.