Power Praying: A Simple, Word-based prayer model for small groups, family devotions, and personal prayer times.

The following Cellutations are posts that were made to the Cell-Net interactive e-mail list which is comprised of Cell Church pastors and group leaders from all over the world.



"I have noticed that these discussions have really become bible studies, and sometimes the sharing of ignorance. We have talked it over and decided that we need to change this and concentrate on building each other up, rather than on remaining somewhat distant from each other per the discussion time.>

"The question is, how do we make this transition. My fear is that without the set format of a 'bible study' everyone will clam up and not share. Does anyone else have experience in making this kind of transition. If so what did you find worked, and what didn't work."

In 1993, my associate pastor and I stumbled onto what I believe is the most powerful interactivity I have ever heard of or experienced in my 15 years of starting and leading cell groups.

We call it POWER PRAYING. It works like this:


In our case I, as the senior pastor, chose the passage, not to be controlling, but to keep our groups growing in the same direction; but the facilitator could as easily pick a passage instead of (or in addition to) the one I chose. For the sake of less confusion I would usually print out the passage (sometimes as few as 4-5 verses and sometimes a whole chapter) from my computer so that everyone would have the same translation.


This draws everyone into the activity. Their reluctance to otherwise get involved, usually due to shyness or a lack of confidence in the things of God, tends to work to draw them in more through this, because they are especially attentive so as not to mess up when it is their turn (shy people hate to sound stupid when they do have to speak up in a crowd). For those who are unable to read well, we allow folks to say, "pass" to alleviate any potential embarrassment. Reading in rounds like this draws both the experienced and the new Christian (as well as the unbeliever who would normally sit silently) into the gathering regardless of personality or spiritual stature.


Here it is important that when someone prays they pick a scripture from the passage to apply to their praying and precede their prayer with words something to the effect of, "Lord, according to verse three, I ask that..." This allows everyone else to hear how a certain passage is being applied. Everyone can not only agree in faith for the prayer (because it is based directly upon the Word of God), but also nearly every time someone prays this way everybody learns something unique about the person praying and a new perspective on the verse. We encourage people to keep their prayers brief so that all can pray. Also, though they pray in rounds, using the scriptures they previously read in rounds, one can pray according to any scripture verse within the passage (they are not bound to Power Praying the verses in sequence) and many times several people will Power Pray the same verse adding dimension to the understanding of the verses without anyone (except the Holy Spirit) acting as the teacher.

If the group is too large, it is sometimes best to break down into smaller groups so everyone can benefit from the intimacy of the others and the frequency of their personal times "at bat."


1. Everybody gets involved, no matter what their personality type or spiritual aptitude.

2. Everyone can utilize whatever level of understanding and spiritual maturity they possess to the benefit of others (the activity doesn't reduce people to the least common denominator). One of our goals as pastors is to lead people into the blessing of God, and as we all know, receiving begins with giving. Everybody gives and, therefore, everybody has the same opportunity for receiving.

3. It's not activity for activity's sake. It is praying according to God's WORD which is the most powerful activity believers can apply themselves to.

4. It's a great discipleship tool. As the younger (or new believers) hear the more mature apply scripture to their needs or the needs of others they can learn to apply the Word to their own lives. Not only this, but the Holy Spirit has a way of using the Power Praying of the less mature to shed light on things in a way the more mature have not yet seen. It initiates interactive discipling like nothing I have ever witnessed.

5. It's simple. It's something people can take home with them and use with their family members and friends to have stimulating prayer time.

6. It can be used to keep some unity among several groups or the entire congregation. If the pastor or zone leader is the one to recommend at least one of the passages for several groups for use in Power Prayer, it helps the groups focus on themes of corporate importance without requiring (or in some cases encouraging) people to get involved in teaching. It's great for follow up to a sermon. It actually will get people to apply the Word of the sermons to their lives (at least) in prayer.

7. It keeps the prayer time from being dominated by a few individuals.

8. It keeps the praying from getting too weird or unscriptural because they are praying directly with the scriptures.

9. It allows the more mature to see where there might be a gross lack of understanding about or error in certain theological areas. They can address these areas outside the group in private with the individual.

10. It allows everyone to hear where the others are at in their lives. People tend to make themselves more vulnerable in prayer than in general conversation, because they are talking to One who can meet their need(s). After a few weeks of properly Power Praying, people tend to feel more comfortable vocalizing their "fiery trials and temptations," especially if the leaders are making themselves vulnerable before God in this prayer time. This can allow the facilitator to reach out to people in a more practical way and track their growth or decline in that area of need.

11. God answers prayer. When He does, the whole group benefits from the victory. Everyone's faith is strengthened and everyone's confidence before God (and in His Word) is encouraged.

12. It's fun and fulfilling. It's never been dry, unless the group is too big and people have too much time between their turns to read or pray.

13. It usually doesn't take long. Though time does tend to fly when you are having fun, it is usually over within 15-25 minutes (unless the Holy Spirit really breathes on it and the anointing is on everyone). In cases where it seems to be dragging on, it is really easy for the facilitator to stop it. He or she just says, "Amen!" when it is next his or her turn.

14. It is not difficult to get people from this type of praying to the next level which is the spiritual gifts. Since the Holy Spirit is in the midst of them and they HAVE to get involved, He can easily turn what seems like a normal (human-created) prayer and turn it into an inspired word of encouragement, confirmation, reminder, warning, etc. for someone in the room with whom it "hits home" like only a Holy Spirit-created prayer can do.

15. (added 7/30/95) It's great for brand new cells. The intimacy, anointing, and opportunity for spiritual growth through personal interaction is what makes cells so important. I have found that, while multiplying is vitally important, many splits do not succeed--setting the whole deal back a bit--because of a lack of the above dynamics. Usually it takes quite a while to get everyone working together after breaking away from the parent group. It seems many times the folks are in a state of recovery, not unlike a baby who just came out of the womb (yes it was time to come out, but, man, what a shock!). Unlike the newborn who has no choice but to endure the changes, people in cells can lose interest and bow out before the group has a chance to develop into a model cell. Power Praying seems to expedite the dynamics needed to sustain interest in the new cell. It kind of gives it a jump start.

Hope you can glean some ideas from Power Praying that will help. If you would like to know more about it, feel free to contact me.

Many blessings!

David Colister
Power House Church
Dallas/Fort Worth

PS. When my friend (Tom Brancheau of Pontiac, Michigan) and I first stumbled on this style of small group prayer, the presence of the Holy Spirit was thick in the room. We knew we had been graced by God. We just kind of looked at each other and laughed afterward. On our way home (he is his car with his family, I in my car with my daughter going in separate directions) we both narrowly escaped being killed by out-of-control (drunk) drivers. A motorcyclist hit him at more than 90 mph (on a 35 mph road) and rolled, the police said, over 300 feet. I somehow managed to skid out of the middle of a several car pile up on a major interstate highway. Only the Lord kept us from being killed. We believe the devil was trying to wipe us out before we could share this simple, but powerful cell group prayer concept with others. Who knows?


I have had some folks e-mail me, asking me to post some specific scriptures that I have used in our Cells. Others have asked how I go about selecting the passages for Power Praying. In the original posting I was trying to keep the instructions brief, and here also I will be as brief and concise as possible. Please, bear with my longwindedness.

To be quite honest, I rely very heavily upon the Lord's direction. One never knows which scripture(s) may prick, touch, or otherwise impact a person's heart. After praying for God's help in finding the verses, I just believe He will "give me bread and not a stone." Then I pick a passage, read it aloud, and see if I can apply something of its content toward prayer. If what I have chosen seems to bear witness with my spirit I use it and if it does not I look for another, believing He will not neglect my faith and sincere desire to help His flock.

Although I love strategies and formulas, I think it is important to note that the greatest thing I have found in this model of prayer is its simplicity. It really can be done very easily, without a lot of complication, by any believer once they have done it once or twice.

My personal favorites, however, are the Psalms, Proverbs, and teachings of Jesus.

Another powerful approach is to select references from a variety of locations in the Bible that all relate to a certain topic, print them out so that they can be easily read from one verse to the next, then present the text to the Cell(s) for Power Praying.

Maybe it would be best, for the sake of example, if I selected a passage and Power Prayed them below. I will pray as if there are three other people in the room with me, named "B, C, and D." I'll be "A."

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


"My Father, You know how dull of hearing I am toward Your voice at times, so please speak loudly in answer to this my prayer for some passage of scripture which I might Power Pray in example for these dear leaders of Yours. Help me to pray humbly and effectually so that Your blessing would rush into their lives and spill onto those among Your flock in their care. Thanks. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen."


"Isaiah 41:10-13"

Below is the NIV translation which being simulated as being read in rounds:

PERSON "A." (Starting with the facilitator).>

v.10 "So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."


v.11 "All who rage against you will surely be ashamed and disgraced; those who oppose you will be as nothing and perish."

v.12 "Though you search for your enemies, you will not find them. Those who wage war against you will be as nothing at all."

v. 13 "For I am the LORD, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you."

POWER PRAYER (Starting with the facilitator again).

"Lord, according to verse 10, I pray that you give me the courage to reach out to those 2,000 homes in my community by the last day of this year as I promised You. I feel many fears, the greatest of which is that I will not have enough leaders to lead the cells that result from the effort. Lord, I know it is You who led me to make this a goal and I am confident Your anointing is on the effort, so I will commit myself to not worrying about the lack of leadership. I commit my faith to You in this area. I trust that You want souls saved among those I will contact and that You want the wandering sheep to come into the care of fold. I will not fear."


Lord, according to verse thirteen, I stand in agreement with the previous prayer and profess that You will take his hand and help him accomplish the work with anointing and boldness."


"Yes, Lord! And I pray that according to verse 11, that, the enemy's mouth will not stir up controversy over it among pastors who do not understand the cell concept. Help them to not feel threatened, but rather support the good intentions with a word of encouragement. And do not let the devil provoke the hearts of those who hate You to cause strife against the work. Walk with him in Your peace, kindness, and gentleness toward all he encounters."


"Yes, and according to verse 10 again, Lord, I pray that You will be with him. Just as Moses prayed that Your presence would be visible in signs and wonders among those he led, I pray that You would reveal Yourself among the Cells that develop in signs and wonders. Let the people say about the Cells, as Paul said they would in 1 Corinthians 14:25, 'God is really among you!'"

PERSON "A" (facilitator could keep it going or end it, as led by the Spirit, each time it is his or her turn )

"Amen, Lord. So be it. We thank You for answering these prayers. We love You and bless You in Jesus' holy name."

Hope this helps!

David Colister
Power House Church
Dallas/Fort Worth

Copyright © 1995 Power House Church

Mirrored With Permission