When a group of believers gather together to pray, it is certain that they will bring with them a variety of perspectives and it is very likely that at some point they will not converge unanimously on the way God is leading the group to pray. There are several straightforward ways to solve this problem. One way is through the authority of a pastor or spiritual leader, another would be through consensus. At Catalyst, our approach is to lean on key members of the group to practice discernment and function in the role of gatekeeper for what the group prays. We see this task as a role that can be filled by any believer.

In practice, what it will mean in our sessions is that two or three people will serve as a “discernment table” to which everyone else in the room will submit what they think God is saying. This is a distinct function from whoever happens to be leading out the prayer session and/or is holding the microphone. The use of a discernment table provides two main benefits:

  1. It allows us to hear the big picture of what God is saying through the multitude of various inputs. In some cases, several people will submit the exact same word or scripture independent of each other, in which case it becomes clear that God is saying something very specific. In other cases, submitted words will fall under a similar category or heading and the table can put forth the general idea of what God is leading us to pray. 
  2. It provides total freedom to participants to submit even the strangest of ideas. If I see a picture of a bear clothed in daisies, the truth is I might not want to just go up and pray that word in front of the group. But I can submit it to the discernment table. If it’s as wacky as it feels, then the table can filter it out, but if it lines up with what other people are sensing then perhaps God is saying something completely outside of what we would guess. 

If this role is something you would want to pursue or if you have questions about how our discernment table works, please reach out to us and we can connect about it. Discernment is a big deal to us, and we hope it sets everyone free to listen to God with open ears and open hearts.