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Preparing a Teaching Program for Your Prayer Meeting

These notes are intended to help leaders design a teaching program for their prayer meeting, and to prepare and give good teachings. Teaching is an important way of helping people to come to know God. Good teaching also strengthens faith, and helps people to discern well.

Good Teaching:

  • Always points to God
  • Builds faith (preaching and teaching go together)
  • Is in full communion with the Catholic Church
  • Encourages people to use the gifts of God, and to resist untruth in their lives (temptation, false teaching)
  • Helps people to understand the teachings of the Church
  • Invites people to balance their faith lives with prayer, study, fellowship, and service

Teaching can be done in a number of ways:

  • Talks
  • A personal sharing/testimony (we learn from each other)
  • Videos (not too long)
  • Book/tape reviews, and good tape and book ministries
  • Encouraging study, and attendance at courses

Preparing the Program:

  • Form a group (if possible) whose function is to define the teaching needs of the prayer group, the broad contents of the teachings, locate speakers, and prepare a balanced program.
  • Publish this program as widely as possible. Consider incorporating it in a newsletter that invites people to the prayer meeting, and contains other news, and perhaps a testimony. The program should cover at least a three month period.
  • Sharings/testimonies are an important part of teaching. It is equally important to arrange for people who will stand up and tell about their experience of God in their life. These sharers should be arranged well in advance to give them time to prepare. Prayer meetings containing a testimony or testimonies (including a general invitation for people to give sharings from the floor) should be balanced with prayer meetings at which there is a formal talk.

Subjects for Teaching:

Scripture, teachings of the saints, prayer, spiritual gifts, discernment, healing, sacraments, Vatican II, the church, ecumenism, evangelism, practical aids to Christian living (e.g. forgiveness, dealing with anger, serving others, resisting temptation, using gifts, encouraging others, praising God), encyclicals and Papal letters, statements from the Synods of Bishops. If you finish all these, you can have a break.

In deciding subjects for talks:

  • Only include subjects that can be adequately covered by the people available to give the talks
  • Try and fit in with what the Church is doing (seasons of the year, feast days)
  • Regularly cover those areas that are central to Catholic Charismatic Renewal (spiritual gifts, personal relationship with Christ, prayer, the Holy Spirit)
  • Be aware of the resources available to give teachings in the group, for example:
    • Teachers from other groups
    • Your parish priest (surprise him)
    • Teachers at Catholic Theological Colleges
    • Members of religious orders (especially in areas in which they may specialise)
  • Don’t be afraid to ask. Experience has shown that even busy people will accept the opportunity to teach in a prayer group context, even if they have had no experience with Catholic Charismatic Renewal before.
  • Train your own people to give teachings. Begin by asking people to do something very brief and simple (share on the life of a saint on a feast day, or a simple insight into Scripture) and identify those who may be gifted in this area. It is amazing what some people can do, given a chance and the Holy Spirit.

A Good Teacher:

  • Loves Jesus, and learns through coming to know Him
  • Seeks the help and guidance of the Holy Spirit
  • Loves the Church, and studies the teachings of the Church now, and through the ages
  • Loves Scripture, and studies Scripture if possible
  • Loves the people of the prayer meeting, and desires to serve them
  • Strives to practise humility and to resist the temptations of pride that will come with this job.
  • Learns to listen to, and to discern, God’s word