Prayer is the essential lifeline of our communion with the Father. It allows us to partner with the Kingdom of Heaven, strengthens our faith, and promotes unity within the Church.
Here are seven important and unique opening prayers for a meeting or Bible study that will encourage the church body and invite the partnership and transformation of the Holy Spirit into your meetings and bible studies.
1. Opening Prayer for Community
“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Hebrews 10:24-25, NIV
Heavenly Father, thank you for this group of believers that You have brought together in this very moment so that we may grow with one another as we learn about You. We invite You to come and fill us with Your spirit of love as we edify and inspire one another to remain in the kingdom work You have called us to do. Help us to be Your vessels of truth, love, and mercy as we work together, as one, in the Body of Christ. Amen.
While each of us has individual talents and callings, the Church was intended to function best as a whole. Thus, as we thrive in community, discipleship, and fellowship, we strengthen one another through encouragement, correction, and bearing one another’s burdens.
Over the past year and a half, as a world, we have stayed connected through online resources, such as facetime and Zoom meetings, but nothing can replace gathering in person. Just like Adam and Eve, among so many partnerships in scripture, we were created in the image of God for community with one another. We experience this through in-person interaction, conversation, and deep connection, and can only be surfaced by being with one another in spirit, mind, and body, and loving God and our neighbor, as ourselves.
2. Opening Prayer to Fight Temptation
“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13, NIV
Father, we come to You acknowledging that we need Your strength and mercy. Help us as we walk through the deep waters of temptation. How comforting it is to know that Your precious Son, Jesus, walked through the same trials and temptations that we are enduring in this very moment. We are so thankful that You know our thoughts, our emotions, and our struggles. Holy Spirit, give us a lens of revelation as we lift our eyes to Heaven, where our help comes from. We ask that Your Spirit fill us with boldness, awareness, and encouragement as we turn from our sinful patterns and return to Your heart. Amen.
Temptation can flood our hearts and minds within less than a fraction of a second. It comes when we are least expecting it, it comes when our emotional guard is down, and it comes lingering like a bad taste in our mouths. While temptation in itself is not a sin, for even Jesus, who was without sin, was tempted, it can leave us feeling unsettled and guilty.
I believe this specific verse is included in the scriptures for us because God, in His faithfulness, knows the hearts of humanity and knows our repeat patterns of pride and shame.
The Father, in His love for us, reminds us to take heart and know that temptation will come but that He will always provide a way out of it. Jesus, our perfect Savior, came as a human so that He could lovingly empathize with every trial and temptation we would ever go through. And it is through His death on the cross that we have been made complete as children of God, who walk in victory.
3. Opening Prayer for the Renewing of Our Minds
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing, and perfect will.” Romans 12:2, NIV
Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your revelation spirit to come and dwell within us. We praise You for the perfect provision of Your everlasting Word, and we invite You into this place of study as we seek Your face through the scriptures. We surrender our agendas, thoughts, opinions, and offenses, and we ask You to come and have Your way in our heart, mind, and soul. Transform and renew us so that we may not fall victim to the schemes and lies of this world, but instead, that we would stand firm in Your perfect plan and truth. Amen.
The Lord is clear that we are not to take up the mindsets and actions of this world, but we are to be intentional in renewing our minds. If we are not careful in aligning ourselves in prayer, meditation of his word, and taking our thoughts captive, we will not be able to test the things of this world as we are searching and walking out His truth.
While this may seem overwhelming, we can be encouraged that through the Holy Spirit, we can discipline ourselves in the habit of inviting the Lord into our daily quiet spaces. We can be assured that over the continued practice of reading his word and time in prayer, His voice will become more recognizable, and we will become more self-aware of our sinful habits as we seek to become more like Him.
4. Opening Prayer for Forgiveness
“Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you have a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” Colossians 3:13-14, NIV
Father, You see our pain, frustration, and despair as we are walking the tension of the messiness of relationships. You know the grieved state of our heart because You have also experienced excruciating relational pain. Holy Spirit, we invite You to come and sit with us, and we ask You to comfort us in the dark valley. We know You are with us because You said You are. Come and touch the hurting places of our hearts and minds as we seek restoration within our relationships. Give us the courage to walk in healing and forgiveness. Help us to remember Jesus and His example of what true forgiveness looks like as He hung on the tree of Calvary. Come and dwell in the pain, Jesus. We welcome You here. Amen.
Forgiveness is hard. Especially when you are grieved by a person who is supposed to be a safe and trusted presence in your life. Maybe you felt rejected, unloved, or pushed to the side. Perhaps you have been humiliated by the acts of someone else’s pain or reactions. Or quite possibly, you have felt physically battered and bruised by the winds of someone else’s tornado, and it has left you feeling a bit shipwrecked in a place that you don’t recognize.
Forgiveness is not easy, but it is a command. God, the creator of your heart and being, knows the damage of harboring unforgiveness. He knows the turmoil that will fester in your own mind as you partner with holding on to the actions of someone else. And what a loving Father He is that He would send Jesus to endure the ultimate act of pain, both physically and emotionally, so that He could show us what forgiveness looks like on a sacrificial level.
Might I encourage you to keep going, one step at a time, and surround yourself with people who know your heart? Bring them alongside you during this process of grieving, healing, and recalibration. Ask them to pray for you, over you, and alongside you for strength, mercy, and love as you seek forgiveness. It is not easy, but it is possible with God.
5. Opening Prayer of Provision
“And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” 2 Corinthians 9:8, NIV
Father, we praise You for Your goodness and Your generosity. You are a Father who is aware of the needs of Your children, even before we ask. You see us in each circumstance and have already gone ahead to plant the harvest for everything we need. Father, we ask that You continue to strengthen our mustard seed faith as we continue on the path You have laid out before us. Help us to remain steady in the assurance of Your promise that we will have everything we need as we continue to do Your good and perfect work. In all things, we remain thankful for Your loving kindness. Amen.
Faith in God’s provision can be one of the most challenging things to walk out as a believer. My most challenging tests of faith, like many, concerns finances and physical provision. Unfortunately, because I have been in a season of rock-bottom through homelessness, lack of food in my refrigerator and pantry, and multiple utility disconnections, my mind tends to lean more towards a hoarding, closed fist mentality rather than from a posture of surrender and open hands.
However, one thing I am learning more and more each day is that God’s character never changes, and He is sovereign over it all. When our resources looked to be depleted, the Lord has always provided for my family’s needs. The Father is very clear when He says that we will lack nothing according to His will. Just as He provides for the wildflowers of the field and the birds of the air, both of which are flourishing in their own unique purposes, how much more will God provide for us, as His children, when we step into our callings? Let us be encouraged that everything He has called us to, He will provide for, big or small.
6. Opening Prayer for Reading God’s Word
“All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.” 2 Timothy 3:16, NIV
Father, we thank You for Your spirit-inspired word. Thank You for the ones before us who surrendered to Your voice and obediently recorded Your words through personal encounters with You. Holy Spirit, we ask that You come and have Your way in our hearts and that if there is even one doubt in our minds about the validity of Your Scriptures, that You would illuminate Your holy truth. We invite You to teach us what aligns with who You are and who You say we are. Enlighten every dark place in our souls. Thank You for this time in Your presence. Amen.
Have you ever noticed that you could read one specific verse many times over, and each time you read it, it speaks to a different and particular season of your life? God’s word is infallible and unchanging, yet it is beautifully fluid and constantly changing us. Not only is the Holy Spirit guiding and teaching us when we seek transformation as Christ’s disciples, but He also uses His word to encourage our spirits as well.
He teaches us what it looks like to live out our identities, He rebukes and corrects us when we step into pride and sin, and He trains us as we fuel on His word for the race set before us. We must remember that reading God’s Word is essential to our growth as believers. If we are not connected to the life-giving source of His Word, we will mistake the world’s counterfeit lies for truth. What a gift we have in the holy scriptures!
7. Opening Prayer for Discipline
“Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way, you will fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:1-2, NIV
Father, we are grateful for the overflow of Your grace and mercy. Thank You for consistently extending restoration to us even when we don’t deserve it. Jesus, thank You for the victory that we can walk in because You defeated the grave of death. Holy Spirit, we ask that You come and flood our hearts and minds with Your wisdom, patience, and mercy. Give us the boldness to pursue spiritual and physical reconciliation individually and as a community and help us to extend the overflow of Your love and truth while remaining in step with You. Protect us entirely as we help to carry the burdens of our brother or sister. Amen.
Discipline within a community of believers is not always easy, but it is essential. I believe that the world has taught us to maintain a condemning “eye for an eye” approach; however, the Bible is very clear that this is not how we are to seek restoration.
We have to remember that no one is without sin, and we must allow space for the encouragement and safety that grace holds for us. Should someone in your community fall in error, correction must be done in an honoring way, such as one-on-one correction, or if needed, with another trusted friend. We also must remember that discipline doesn’t stop with the corrective encounter; it continues with carrying one another’s burdens and encouraging them as they walk in recovery. These principles ensure that we are loving and honoring the heart of the Father while loving our neighbors well.
When we discipline in love and truth, we must remember to seek the will of God and continue praying for all who are involved. Because our hearts are quickly hardened, be sure to pray for protection from temptation for our brother or sister and the one initiating discipline as well. Then, as our hearts continue to beat from His overflow, we can discipline in the way that Jesus taught us.
Relationships are essential within the Kingdom of Heaven. The world began within the community of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Furthermore, it has continued from the Garden of Eden to the present day and is equally important and is no coincidence that on the final day, we will enter eternity as one body, one voice, and one spirit to worship together before our Lord.
The Father blessed us with community so that we can fully grasp the goodness, fullness, and faithfulness of His love for us. Through others, we can strengthen our giftings, walk out humility, and partner with the Holy Spirit in loving those around us. So, as we meet together in meetings and bible studies, it is my prayer that these seven essential prayers will help you grow in faith, love, and unity as you encourage one another to run the race set before you.