Health and Growth

Prayer Meeting Hacks: Grow Attendance & Beat Boredom in 7 Steps

Do you want to start a prayer meeting? Need prayer meeting ideas? Take these 7 steps to get started or revivatlize your current prayer meetings.

Prayer Meeting Hacks: Grow Attendance & Beat Boredom in 7 Steps
by

Paul Maxwell

You want to start a prayer meeting at your church, but nobody wants to go.

Here’s the deal:

Typical prayer meetings are boring. It’s easy to get stuck in the mindset that prayer groups are an hour of uninterrupted, drolling prayers that put half the people to sleep.

Here’s the good news:

It doesn’t have to be this way.

Prayer meetings can spark revival in your church.

Prayer meetings can breathe new spiritual life into your community.

Prayer meetings can prompt beautiful moments of confession, desperation, and spiritual renewal.

Ask yourself this question:

If I could revolutionize my prayer group with only a few small changes, would I?

If you want to turn your prayer meetings from snooze-fests everyone avoids into rich experiences that people are eager to attend, here are seven prayer meeting ideas you can use to increase attendance and participation:

1. Designate a point person

Everybody hates awkwardness.

And nothing says awkwaaaaaard like a prayer meeting with no point person.

People arrive and just look around the room until someone starts praying.

Instead, the leader would perform the following tasks (explained more below):

  • Cast the prayer meeting’s mission.
  • Create the meeting theme.
  • Bring refreshments.
  • Write the opening/closing prayer.
  • Organize the meeting time and location.
  • Market the prayer meeting to the church.
  • Designate any of these tasks to a regular member  

If you don’t have a single point person, the meeting will burn out.

It’s easy to rely on a “group of regulars” to keep your meeting going. Don’t.

For the sake of newcomers and regular attendants, have a single point person.

If you have a point person who takes responsibility for the entire meeting—start to finish—you will not only experience deeper prayer, but deeper relationships with fellow believers as well.

2. Create a mission statement

People can pray in the shower. So why would they come to a meeting?

People want to contribute to a mission.

Here are a few mission statement examples you could use for your prayer meeting ideas:

To seek God’s help for people in desperate circumstances in our community.

Sometimes, prayer is not just a way to change God’s will, but is an opportunity for God to change our hearts. When the Apostle Paul commands Christians not to become thieves, his reason is that a Christian should be “doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need” (Eph. 4:28).

Praying for your church and with other church members is a way of knowing how to partner with God in helping others. This is inspiring to people who want to be valuable to the community, but don’t know how.

To practice the ancient liturgies of prayer for personal spiritual renewal.

Millennials are running in droves to liturgical churches.

Ancient prayers and Anglican liturgies are currently very attractive to younger Christians.

It saturates the Christian in the depth of the Christian tradition.

This will draw younger people who want to try a new, fresh approach to prayer. It also guarantees to newcomers that prayer won’t get lost in the humdrum of warbling that often happens during mission-less prayer meetings.  

To confess sin, receive forgiveness, and pray for the needs of the saints.   

This statement draws attendants interested in building relationships and deepening their own discipleship. Sometimes, we think of prayer meetings as get-togethers of the deeply mature Christians. But if it’s done correctly, the beginner believer has a primal need to meet in prayer.

Everyone needs prayer, and it is the job of the prayer meeting organizer to explain why:

“Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man has great power in its effects” (James 5:16).

Get a mission.

Attract the purpose instinct that drives people to attend things.

Don’t rely on God to compensate for your lack of vision. God can’t give people a heart for a vision that isn’t cast. That’s what leaders are for. That’s what you are for.

Cast a vision and let God give people a heart for it.

3. Create a theme each week

One of the main reasons prayer meetings get derailed into wandering drawl is because the leader didn’t create a theme for the meeting.

Making a theme doesn’t mean that people can’t pray for normal things—wife, kids, family, sickness, etc.

Creating a new theme each week has several benefits.

  • It manifests the stated purpose of your group every week.
  • It gives attendants who don’t usually pray something to pray for.
  • It helps attendants feel embedded to the needs of the church.
  • It gives attendants a sense community—it helps them feel: We are together in this.

Here are some ideas for leading a prayer meeting you can create:

a. Need-specific

“Today, let’s keep in mind our church’s missionaries in Togo, Mark and Joanna Jones, missionaries in Africa, whose three children are all sick right now. Let’s pray for healing, trust in God, and the doctors treating them.”

b. Topical

“Today, our theme is: … Forgiveness. ...Consistency. Love. Family. Chaos. Perseverance. Promises. Grief. Confession. Honesty. Integrity. Wisdom.

c. Scriptural

Today, let’s reflect on Philippians 4:19—"My God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Paul felt a sense of relief, gratitude, peace, and dependence on God. Let’s ask God for that same experience with things we’re struggling to trust him with today.”

4. Write a liturgy to open and close the meeting

I know what you’re thinking:

An “opening” and “closing” sounds WAY too formal.

Trust me. It’s not.

People love formality. And, if there’s one thing prayer meetings lack, it’s formality.

Opening and closing liturgies accomplish two things:

  • A clear beginning and ending to the prayer time.
  • A way for the group to participate together and approach God.

If you can accomplish these two things with an opening and closing liturgy, then attendants will feel a sense of focus and fraternity as they pray together.

You don’t have to write a liturgy from scratch. But it will be good to have a call and response. Paul commands Timothy to “follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus” (2 Tim. 1:13).

You can easily turn Scripture into a call-and-response liturgy. For example, you could take 2 Timothy 2:12-13 as an opening and Psalm 52:8-9 as a closing.

Opening (2 Tim. 2:12-13):

Leader:The saying is trustworthy, for: If we have died with him,

Respondents:we will also live with him;

Leader:if we endure,

Respondents:we will also reign with him;

Leader:if we deny him, he also will deny us;

Respondents:if we are faithless, he remains faithful—

Closing (Ps. 52:8-9):

Leader:But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God.

Respondents:I trust in the steadfast love of God forever and ever.

Leader:I will thank you forever, because you have done it.

Respondents:I will wait for your name, for it is good, in the presence of the godly.

Use these liturgies as a tool to transfer from small talk into the time of prayer.

These liturgies can either be sent as an email to attendants before the meeting or printed and shared among attendants.

5. Make “free prayer” a closed time

Some people love long hours of unending prayer.

Some people get very anxious and claustrophobic in settings like this.

By creating a mission for the meeting, a theme for this particular week, and brackets for the prayer time (opening and closing liturgies), you give antsy attendants a light at the end of the tunnel.

When attendants trust that the leader will bring the “free prayer” time to a close at a responsible time, they are less distracted by wondering when it will end, and are able to better focus on the mission and theme of the meeting.

6. Write down a meeting schedule

This sounds excruciatingly formal.

Think of it this way—the more boring things you do before the meeting, the more you are able to make your prayer meeting not boring for attendants and attractive to others.

Why do you need to write down a meeting schedule?

Because there are a lot of details here.

But it’s very simple.

It goes like this:

  1. Show up.
  2. Small talk over coffee.
  3. Hand out opening/closing prayers.
  4. Explain the meeting mission and introduce this week’s with “theme.”
  5. Ask for prayer requests from the previous week.
  6. Lead opening prayer.
  7. Free prayer.
  8. Lead closing prayer.
  9. Ask for prayer requests for the coming week.
  10. Close.

This is a simple prayer meeting idea.  

Use this template to transform your prayer group.

You will tap into the deepest drives of human behavior that compel them to connect with others, with God, and to contribute to a purpose bigger than themselves.

7. Ditch the “email list”  

This will be hard to hear:

You need to stop relying on the Gmail chain to communicate information.

One easy solution is to use a church management software to schedule, organize, and clearly communicate with prayer meeting attendants.The best event management app for your church is Tithe.ly’s church management software, which syncs directly with the custom app Tithe.ly builds for your church.

Members can just open the app and see all the latest details about events in your church, including your prayer meeting. There are several benefits to this.

First, people don’t want to read every single person replying “Okay!”

Attendants want immediate access to the latest details of the meeting, not a dozen inside jokes that they have to sift through to find necessary details. Give your prayer group—and every group in your church—the gift of clarity and ease for attendants.

Second, more people will hear about your prayer meeting!

You don’t have to rely on “word of mouth” for people to hear about your meeting. Anyone looking at church events will see your meeting pop up on the app.

Nobody has to ask themselves the question:

“Is there a prayer meeting I can attend? Who leads it? How can I get information about it?”

In your prayer meeting event, you will have the point person’s contact information listed, the date, time, location, and description of the prayer meeting. It’s a pastor’s dream software.

Ready to start a prayer meeting?

Ask yourself this question one more time:

If I could revolutionize my prayer group with only a few small changes, would I?

Be honest with yourself.

Are you satisfied with the three regular attendants who show up? Or do you wish more people would be passionately committed to prayer in your church?

Lack of attendants at your prayer meeting might not be a matter of spiritual apathy—it might just be a matter of poor planning. Get planning. Set your church up with Tithe.ly’s ChMS.

Revitalize the spiritual life of your church today.

Why Write Church Donation Letters?

In a previous blog post, I shared the different ways your church can thank donors—from automated emails to year-end giving reports. Printed donation letters also play an essential role in your church’s stewardship efforts.

Donation letters are the Swiss Army knife of your church’s gratitude arsenal. It may not be the most powerful—but it’s versatile, handy, and gets used often.

Your basic church donation letter can serve many different purposes, including:

  • Acknowledging that you received a donation
  • Thanking the giver for being generous with their finances
  • Sharing other ways the person can support your church
  • Allowing the donor to write the gift off on their taxes
  • Encouraging supporters to make recurring donations
  • Requesting future donations from church members

A single, well-crafted donation letter can pull together several of these things simultaneously. Better donation letters lead to more giving, which leads to more donation letters—thus creating a cycle of on-going church generosity.

Church Donation Letter Samples

Here’s the good news—you don’t have to write an individualized letter for every person who gives to your church. That would be tough to do for even smaller churches. And most donors don’t expect you to. They’d rather you be putting their gift to better use in the community, instead of ceaselessly writing thank you notes.

With the possible exception of some unique circumstances, your church can use template language for the majority of your church donation letters. You’ll have to add in custom details like the donor’s name and gift amount, but you can write everything else in advance.  

To make this even easier on you, here are a few basic church donation letter templates you can copy and paste. Keep in mind that not all of these have to be in print—you could just as easily turn some of these samples into email appeals.

1. Donation Acknowledgment Letter

The Donation Acknowledgement Letter is a basic way you can confirm and affirm a monetary gift to your church. Sending these is standard practice in church and nonprofit culture.

Dear [first name],
I want to personally thank you for your donation of [gift amount] to [church name]. We’re honored you would bless us with your generosity. Donations like yours make a big difference in the work our church is doing in the community.
Without givers like you, our church can’t have an impact or influence in our community. With your support, we’re partnering with local nonprofits, sending out global mission trips, and hosting small groups on topics that help real people like you. Together, we can make a difference.
Because we’re a tax-exempt nonprofit, you also get to write this donation off on your taxes. This letter serves as official proof of your donation, so keep it in your records come tax season. At the end of the year, we’ll also send you an annual recap with how much you’ve given to the church.
Thank you for supporting [church name]!
Sincerely,
[your name]

2. Donation Request Letter

Not every church member realizes the importance of giving, or understand Bible verses about tithing and giving.  So a Donation Request Letter helps to spread that awareness and encourage a spirit of generosity.

Dear [first name],
How are the finances in your household? That was a rhetorical question, so you don’t have to answer—besides, this is a letter so we wouldn’t hear you anyway. But we still want you to think about that question.
Money is a uniquely human issue, one we all struggle with to one degree or another. Even if you’re financially blessed, you still have the burden of stewarding your money wisely. And we believe that one of the best ways to invest your money is into the local church.
Tithing (giving 10% of your income) on a regular basis not only supports the work we do at [church name]. It doesn’t just support local missions and community growth. It also shows an obedience to God by making his work a financial priority in your life.
So if you find yourself ready to put God first in both your heart and your wallet, we encourage you to make a one-time gift or sign up to make recurring donations. That way, you won’t have to ever wonder again about the financial status of your household.
Sincerely,
[your name]

3. Monthly Giving Letter

Many church donations aren’t just one-time gifts. Plenty of givers contribute monthly—and that should be acknowledged.

Use this template to correspond with recurring givers.  

Dear [first name],
Thank you for being an active and faithful member of our church community. By giving to our church on a monthly basis, you’re showing that our church has a meaningful place in your heart. We just wanted to write this to let you know that you’re in our heart, too.
Donating to the church monthly allows us to preach the gospel, make disciples, and support others in our community who need help. Others like the local food bank and the nearby homeless shelter. We’re answering the cry of the needy, and it’s all thanks to contributors like you.
We earnestly appreciate your ongoing support and want to let you know we’re here for you. If there’s ever anything we can do for you and your family, don’t hesitate to reach out. You are a valued member of our church family. And you’re financial support is making a difference.
Sincerely,
[your name]

4. Year-End Giving Letter

At the end of each year, it’s customary to give your church supporters a summary of their gifts. The primary reason is for tax purposes, but it’s also a way to recap everything your church has done over the past year with their support.

Dear [first name],
You’re getting this letter because you gave to [church name] at some point during the past year. That might have been a one-time gift, or recurring donations. Either way, we want to thank you for your generous support. Every contribution helps.
One of the official reasons for this letter is for tax purposes. That’s right—you get to write these donations off on your taxes. Which is why we’ve included a summary of all the contributions you’ve made to our church this year.
But the other reason for this letter is to let you know what we’ve done with the money you gave. We take stewardship very seriously, which means we value spending our time and resources wisely.
During the year, our church supported local nonprofits, sent global missions teams, and baptised quite a few people. It was a great year for us—thanks in large part to donors like you.
So thank you for your support of our church, and we hope you’ll consider continuing to contribute to our mission in the coming year.
Sincerely,
[your name]  

5. Church Fundraising Letter

Sometimes you need to make a more significant financial push using tried and true church fundraising ideas. Some churches call this a Stewardship Campaign or a Church Capital Campaign. Either way, the goal is to raise a certain amount of money for a big project. And typically, a solid letter of appeal is an integral part of that.

Dear [first name],
God has a plan for everyone and everything. That includes you, and it includes [church name]. None of us can fully know God’s plan—the best we can do is pray and listen for clarity. Our church leadership has been doing just that and are excited to announce our latest church project.
[Detail the outline of the major church project—this could include a building campaign, or raising support for a global mission trip. Anything specific to your church that requires a fundraising letter. Be sure to include a fundraising goal so everyone knows what you’re shooting for.]
But we can’t pull this off without your support. Whether you give to the church on a regular basis, or just attend on occasion, we’re asking you to consider contributing to this massive undertaking prayerfully. It’s something we need our entire church community’s help with.
Even if you can’t make a large gift, know that every little bit helps. It’s more about coming together as a community united behind a common cause. We hope that you’ll consider making a donation towards this great step forward that we’re making together.
Sincerely,
[your name]

Tips when writing church donation letters

It’s not enough to just copy and paste this content and send away. The key to an effective church donation letter is a touch of personalization. Follow these tips to take your donation letters to the next level:

  • Examples: Add specific examples of how your church will use the donation. Tell a story about the work your church is doing in the community and connect that with giving.
  • Personalization: For regular donors, don’t be afraid to add a short, handwritten personal note. This shows that you’ve singled them out with praise.
  • Timeliness: Sending donation letters quickly reminds people you’re thankful for them. But this also takes organization and efficiency. All the more reason to use pre-written templates.
  • Storytelling: Everything is better with stories—including donation letters. Weave in a specific narrative of how your church is making a difference and how the money will be used.

There’s no one right or wrong way to write a donation letter or request contributions. You’ve got to do what is right for your church and congregation. But if you stick to these general tips, you’ll probably start to see some traction when it comes to giving.

What’s next?

Most people don’t love talking about money in church. But it’s a necessary and vital part of your church. And maximizing your efforts when it comes to donation letters will help make those conversations more comfortable. So what do you do next to put this into effect?

  • Customize these letters: Take the samples above and make them work for your church. Personalize the content. Remove the stuff that doesn’t sound genuine and add in stuff that does. Remember that these are just a starting point.
  • Create some systems: Develop processes that make it easy for you to replicate sending donation letters. Use a letter template that allows you to drop in names and details. Then develop guidelines for when these letters will be sent out.
  • Empower a champion: Find out who is going to be responsible for making these letters happen. Rather than thinking of this as adding more work to their plate, think about how you can elevate their work. This could be a staff member, or a volunteer.
  • Start sending: All of this will be for nothing if you don’t actually send out the letters. Take the time to get it right and get them into the hands of your church donors.

And if you’re looking for ways to grow your church’s giving capacity, Tithely can help.

We provide several different ways your church members can support your church financially—from online giving, text to give solutions, and giving kiosks.

Tithely’s systems make it as easy as possible for people to give to your church. Now all you need to start doing is generating a culture of gratitude. There’s nothing standing in your way. Go unleash generosity in your church.

How does your church use donation letters to spread generosity? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Editor's Note: This is a guest post from Robert Carnes. Robert is a writer and storyteller. He's the author of The Original Storyteller: Become a Better Storyteller in 30 Days. A former church communicator and nonprofit marketer, Robert works as a managing editor for Orange in Atlanta.

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Prayer Meeting Hacks: Grow Attendance & Beat Boredom in 7 Steps