Jesus told us to learn to “agree” in prayer (Matthew 18:19)–as the apostles learned to do (Acts 1:14). Below are excerpts from Charles Finney’s instructions about group prayer, taken from his Lectures on Revivals of Religion.
Avoid Long Prayers
“The prayers should always be short. When individuals suffer themselves to pray long, they forget where they are, that they are only the mouth of the congregation, and that the congregation cannot be expected to go along and feel united in prayer if they are long and tedious, and go all around the world and pray for everything they can think of. Commonly those who pray long in meeting do it not because they have the spirit of prayer, but because they have it not.”
No Lectures or Sermons, Please
“Some pray out a whole system of divinity. Some preach, some exhort the people, till everybody wishes they would stop. They should keep to the point, and pray for what they came to pray for, and not pray all over the universe.”
Focus on One Thing at a Time
“Each one should pray for some one object. It is well for every individual to have one object for prayer. Two or more may pray for the same thing. When one leads and the others do not follow, but are thinking of something else, prayer is hindered. Their hearts do not unite, do not say Amen.
Follow the Holy Spirit’s Leadings
“Great pains should be taken both by the leader and others, to watch carefully the motions of the Spirit of God. Let them not pray without the Spirit, but follow His leadings. Be sure not to quench the Spirit for the sake of praying according to the regular custom. Avoid everything calculated to divert attention away from the object.”