1 Timothy 2:1 I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people--
How does Pray for a Mate™ Work?
What is Pray for a Mate™ group structure? The prayer group can consist of:
All women (single or married)
All men (single or married)
Married couples and singles (Married couples make great intercessors on behalf of future marriages)
Dating or engaged couples
High school and college
A pastor, staff member or individual to serve as the group leader. Because this is not a ministry but a prayer group, it can be led by anyone called and appointed for the position. If you do want to grow, though, you will need to develop a leadership/volunteer team.
What is the Pray for a Mate™ format? We recommend meeting for two hours (virtually or in person) once a month, any day of the week, any time, although Friday and Saturday's are best (if you plan on providing snacks, they should be at the end and add extra time to your meeting). Also, keep in mind if you need childcare. If you have a leadership team, you may opt to meet earlier and/or at another time of the month. You may also opt to have an info meeting before starting to share about Pray for a Mate™ and have folks fill out a profile sheet. You can also do this virtually.
Additional Optional Gatherings: Weekly Bible study the week you are not meeting for Pray for a Mate™, quarterly prayer revivals, all-night prayer vigils, conferences, retreats, workshops (virtually or in person), etc. can be added. For example, younger Pray for a Mate™ groups may love the idea of an all-night prayer meeting. In contrast, older groups might prefer an all-day prayer conference*—these quarterly gatherings provide a long time of intense prayer and revival.
What is a typical Pray for a Mate™ meeting schedule?
Set tables or chairs for groups of 4-5 people far enough apart so they can pray and not be distracted. (If virtual, pre-assigned folks into breakout groups or random with an assigned leader/host.)
Welcome/open in prayer/announcements. State your goals and why you started this prayer group. Give the biblical definition of marriage. Include a set of guidelines in your handout or said verbally. Download sample. 5-10 minutes
Icebreaker: 5 minutes (This could get people up and moving around. If virtual, you can use your chat or have folks answer.)
Worship live or virtual, show a video clip: 10 minutes (optional)
Share a short devotion that includes any personal connection that encompasses the theme. Provide any handouts or items they will need for the prayer time. Explain the format of the small group prayer time: 5-10 minutes
Turn it over to the leaders/host of each small prayer group.
Each leader will then discuss the theme(s), allowing attendees to share a connection. For example, if the theme is about fear of getting married, what fears might they have? Be sure to have each person write down each person's answer. Depending on your group size, age, demographics will effect your themes. If your group is high-school age, blended families may not be an issue where as fear of failure or rejection could be. If you are a married group prayer for the singles in your church or your children, you might pray more generalized versus specific. 5-10 minutes.
Start praying through the answers that each attendee gave. You can have the leader pray, or each person prays for the person beside them. 10 minutes. Note: Be sure each participant is comfortable praying out loud.
The main leader will call time and introduce the next theme (it can be related to the same theme, like fear of the past or fear of making a mistake, etc., or something new). 5 minutes. Then, everything is repeated. You will do this four times as time is permitted.
Provide a meal or refreshments afterward. (for in-person prayer groups). For those virtual, you can allow folks to chat with each other in their groups or the big group.
Options: You can also change the format, having attendees pray in a large group, then in small groups, then all males and all females, etc. Also, after you end, assign homework for continued prayer, plan additional get-togethers, bring in married couples to share testimonies or help pray, Q&A with married, former married/widowed, engaged, dating couples, etc.
For Your First Gathering (or if new people join each month): We suggest have folks fill out a personal profile. This could be done a variety of ways including using an online tool such as Survey Monkey (where you create the questions). Not only do you need their personal information for attending but knowing what they want to pray about specifically (and their story) will help in your monthly prayer themes. So besides their name, address, phone, etc., ask them, "Why are you not married?" Depending on their answer(s) will give you some insight as to the themes/topics you can start praying about. For example, they might say, “Because God hasn't brought me someone.” And while that could be true, usually, there are some hidden issues they have not dealt with. So be sure to allow more time for them to write down their answers. They might write down specific fears or uncertainties, past failures or hurts. The more reasons they write down, the more they will begin to see some of the real causes of not getting married. They can start praying, allowing God to give direction toward healing and solutions so that they can get married. Note: For new people to have time to fill out the personal profile, you might consider a registration process before each meeting that requires them to fill out the profile before they attend, giving you time to read through it.
How many months should the Pray for a Mate™ group meet at our church or community in person or virtually? We encourage you to commit to at least one year, evaluating as you go and allowing for changes and adjustments. For tremendous success, offering a Bible study or service project, or social on the other weeks will help keep you maintain your attendance and interest. If you are leading a Pray for a Mate™ online, remember that some of your attendees may not be local. You could offer a virtual Bible study on the other weeks.
Why does Pray for a Mate™ have a two-hour structure? After an evaluation of past and present experiences of Pray for a Mate™, the length of time proved more valuable to achieve the goals of Pray for a Mate™. Those goals are:
To develop a stronger personal prayer life for those Christians wanting to get married.
To develop church/ministry/community support to encourage singles who want to get married.
To educate the church/ministry/community on the value of prayer for singles wanting to get married.
Note: We find that one and a half hours of prayer allows more diversity within the prayer structure, time to share and listen, time to accomplish specific goals, and time for God to reveal and heal. As a church/ministry/community, you are allowed to adjust this time but it will affect the overall outcome of what you are doing and what you hope to achieve.
Who decides the prayer themes for the Pray for a Mate™ group ? While most all singles have the same prayer needs regarding getting married, the fears and concerns, depending on demographics, age of your group, backgrounds, etc. will effect your themes. This is why the personal profile they fill out is important. This will give you insight on what areas your group needs for prayer--at least at first. Each first meeting should be focused on what marriage is, God's design, etc. as your theme but afterwards, it can vary from dealing with rejection to fear of change to health concerns, handling conflict, etc. As the leader, you decide the main themes but allow your group to suggestion the sub-themes. This allows more input and involvement. These sub-themes will be their prayer areas when they break into smaller groups. Note: As with all groups, without proper leaders, leading each of your smaller groups, people can end up talking and not praying or not praying enough, getting off the themes, etc. It's up to you as the main leader to keep folks in check and make sure this isn't happening. While we do know there are times when people need to share and talk about things, this is a prayer group.
Why do you include an icebreaker at Pray for a Mate™? Having an icebreaker allows people to get to know each other in a safe way. Although you might have one or two who do not like them, most people are there to meet each other. Allow those who do not like such activities to opt out. Click here for a free list of icebreakers.
Also, be sure to have name tags for everyone. Praying for someone else without knowing their name will hinder group growth. Now, whether you want to pre-print name tags to use each week or use the peel and stick kind, that’s up to you. A Pray for a Mate™ logo is available for you download and use on our marketing page.
Why do you suggest music at Pray for a Mate™? Music is another form of worship and prayer for the Pray for a Mate™ success. We know not all groups will have access to overhead screens to show the words or have the equipment to play music so you may opt to just print out some lyrics and sing without music. Either way, music allows another bridge to be built to help people get ready for a mindset of prayer. Music can be used to lift your attendees’ spirits, excite them or to quiet the room.
What kinds of optional devotionals may occur before the actual Pray for a Mate™? A great way to transition people into the prayer time is by way of a devotional first. For example, you might talk about the importance of keeping your eyes on Jesus so you stay focused on praying for a mate. You could use the story of the Apostle Peter getting out of the boat and walking on water (Matt. 14:22–33) as your set-up.
It’s up to you how long your devotional should be. Whether you give them a handout, ask them to use their Bibles, show a video, do a skit, or even play a game is entirely your choice. The critical factor here is you are not recreating church or a Bible study. It is not time for a sermon. This is a topic specific prayer group for Pray for a Mate™.
A great resource Singles and Relationships: A 31-Day Experiment. This devotional has 31 relation-type topics that you can use for ideas or as your theme to direct the prayer for that meeting. To read more about it or to purchase a copy, click here. There are also sample devotionals on our theme page.
Do we need refreshments or a meal at Pray for a Mate™? Offering refreshments or even a meal on location, or off-site, is a value as food helps people connect. Where you are location, the day or time of the week you have the Pray for a Mate™ group will impact what happens next. How you structure the cost portion—whether your church/ministry supports it or you ask people to bring a covered dish/potluck or decide to all chip in for pizza or chicken or whatever—will help you determine what kind of meal you offer and how to provide it. Note: It is important that your food only be served AFTER the Pray for a Mate meeting. Otherwise, it cause your meeting to start late, be distracted as folks go up to get more food, use the restroom, etc. Prayer is the purpose you are together, not food.
Should we ask attendees to commit and, if so, what kind of commitment? Now, depending on how long your church/ministry/community plans to keep this going, you could set up your Pray for a Mate™ to be a year-long commitment and make it a closed group. You would have to do extensive marketing ahead of time to get the folks there, but the 1-year timeframe it would give you a start and a finish. If you do not make it a closed group, internally your leadership team could commit to one year, but you wouldn’t have to let the attendees know this. Instead, you would communicate that if a member misses more than two months, their name would be taken off the roster, to allow others to come. Bottom line, you will have to figure out this exit strategy as you go along.
You may also opt to keep it an open group and not taking role. But don't forget, you will still need leaders to commit to there to lead your groups in prayer. This is the same for in-person or a virtual group.
Note: Like in most singles ministries, more women than men always show up. Be prayerful that having a group of only women praying can be a great idea. It reduces the distraction of men being there and allows more transparent prayers.
What does the personal profile for Pray for a Mate™ look like? The form asks applicants for their contact information, where they go to church, a little about their background, how they are serving in ministry, why they think they are not married, plus it has space for a short, personal testimony. It's important that the attendees know that only the leaders will see this information.
This gives the leadership team information an idea of the needs of those wanting to attend including ideas for themes. It can also give you insight on those folks who might need some counseling, need to go through a divorced or widow program first.
You can create personal profile online linked from your church/ministry website using a program such as Survey Monkey or use a hard copy that you can download off our marketing page.
How should we keep track of who is coming or who has missed a Pray for a Mate™ meeting? At the beginning of the prayer meeting, you can have them check in digitally, sign up on a sheet (you can download one from our marketing page), or cross their name off the list, for example. Design something that works best—and is easiest—for you. Note: Be conscious about listing people’s names/personal info for others to see.
What is the best way to marketPray for a Mate™? As soon as you decide to host a Pray for a Mate™ group, you need to start marketing. Unless the group is only small (less than ten attendees), you will need to gather and train leaders to help you run/facilitate your group prior to the first meeting. We also have some information on this site about building your prayer team leaders.
Once your team is ready, you can start to advertise Pray for a Mate™. We have a logo's marketing page. If you need something custom for your group, just let Kris know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ideas for marketing would include using social media, developing an email database, listing it in the church bulletin, creating signs and business cards, and, of course, word of mouth. Include on your posting a link to the Pray for a Mate™ website as well as the personal profile file so they can fill it out and get it back to you. Request a deadline so that you have time to go through them. As you build your prayer group, others will want to join, and some will not come back, so you need to continue to market. *Whenever any marketing piece uses the Pray for a Mate™ name/logo, please make sure it’s our actual logo, in either the red and black or all black, rather than your specifications.
What about having events to help promote Pray for a Mate™? Having an event to launch Pray for a Mate™ is a great idea. See below for some suggestions. 1. Workshop: A Pray for a Mate™ workshop can be used as an introduction to start a group. You can lead it as an information-gathering meeting and/or bring Kris Swiatocho in person or by zoom to get things started. The workshop can be during the week or weekend, evening or during the day. It would be a 2-3 hour structure, allowing the presentation of the Pray for a Mate™ concept, personal profiles filled out, crowd input, and small group prayer. 2. Conference: A Pray for a Mate™ conference could include the workshop items and allow more time for prayer (at least 2-3 themes and sub-themes) plus a prayer station experience. While you could create your conference, we suggest you bring in Kris Swiatocho, the developer of Pray for a Mate™ to lead it. 3. Retreat: A Pray for a Mate™ retreat would again include all the items for a retreat/workshop and allow extended personal reflection, healing, connections to others, fellowship, prayer station experience (with more time), worship, downtime. Again, bring Kris Swiatocho to lead the retreat. 4. Zoom Event: Bring Kris via Zoom to host, launch or end your Pray for a Mate™.
Should we charge to attend a Pray for a Mate™ meeting? The cost to lead a Pray for a Mate™ would depend on whether the group is at a church or outside the church. The actual prayer meeting should have very little expense unless your location has a fee.
Using a band, spending money on marketing, developing a website, and/or providing a meal/snacks will all affect your budget. You could simply charge a fee each month to cover some of these expenses. Note: Remember, this is about praying for a mate first and enjoying the food and fellowship as an additional benefit.
What if someone wants additional one-on-one prayer or other help? We must always be available to help someone if/when needed. From a safety point, if you go longer to pray for a person, be sure there are others around. Be mindful of praying alone with the opposite sex. If you find yourself in this situation, it’s good to suggest others join you.
Should we follow up with those who attend our Pray for a Mate™ meetings? The key to extended growth is how well you stay connected with people. Whether the next contact is by email, social media message/post, personal notecard, or phone call, you must restate that month’s topic. Emphasize the particular points they should be praying about from the night you met through the upcoming month. It’s up to you whether you want to stay in touch weekly or monthly. We suggest weekly as it will keep them connected to you.
Following up also allows you to give them an option to stay with your group, ask questions, offer suggestions, etc. As your leadership team grows, you can delegate the follow-up portion to others. Encourage members to let the leadership team know when they think they may have found the mate they have been praying for to build accountability.
How do we build our Pray for a Mate™ team? Who should be on it? The size of your prayer group will affect how much help you would need to run it. Before you start, pray about those who can help you build the ministry. Meet with them ahead of time to make decisions on the direction of your group. What is great about Pray for a Mate™ is that it can be led by adults of any age—women, men, or married couples—unlike singles ministry, which has to be led by a man and a woman for its success.
What results or further ministry can we expect from thePray for a Mate™ meetings?As a result of your monthly prayer meetings, you will begin to see issues come up. For example, people are going to find out they are not ready to be married. Some will realize they need counseling or a study specific to an area of need. Others will discover they need to deal with some personal issues related to their past. A few may determine they have fears or concerns and, as a result, leave the group to deal with them. And, of course, people will meet, develop friendships, begin to date, and even get married. Be prepared to recommend further resources.
Anything else we should know aboutPray for a Mate™? Remind people of the importance of respect and grace. Depending on the composite of your prayer group, each attendee will come from a varied background that could include different beliefs, nationalities, races, ages, etc. While you should never compromise on the word of God, be aware that these differences could cause some issues.
We are finding from experience that Pray for a Mate's hosted in a community-wise structure, meaning not under one specific church, are having a more challenging time keeping folks coming back. This is due to not seeing people in between meetings as well as not communicating with them. Solution: Offer a bible study and/or events to do in the three weeks prior. A great Bible study with Pray for a Mate with 31 different relational topics is Singles & Relationships by Kris Swiatocho and Dick Purnell. Click here for more info/order. Also, other ideas are Kris Swiatocho's newest study, Intentional Relationships for Singles, a 12-week study curriculum, Boundaries in Dating, The 5 Love Languages, Safe People, etc.
Also, be sure you are contacting your attendees in between by email, social media, maybe even setting up a social media page for your group so others can stay in touch. You may also get your leaders of each of your prayer groups (when you break out) to help in this effort. The more you stay in touch, the more you communicate and respond, the greater your return will be for your next prayer meeting. This even applies to those hosted at a church where singles see each other in the other three weeks; communication and follow-up are essential.
Also: • Give ample time before your first Pray for a Mate™ meeting. You might even consider an information night to get started where you could decide what day/night works best for the prayer group, etc. This is also an excellent time to gather prayer leaders, ask for ideas, suggestions, etc. • Give ample time for folks who sign up to fill out the personal profile due to the sensitivity of answers. Affirm that this info is for your eyes/leaders only and will not be shared with the group. That is simply to help you determine the themes of prayer. • Discourage gossip and sharing of private prayers among others in the group and outside the group. • Discourage the use of Pray for a Mate™ members as a dumping ground for all their problems. Remember you are not their counselor. • Not everyone who joins Pray for a Mate™ will get married. Pray for a mate is designed to reveal what we need to change in ourselves to become the right person to be married. For some, this will be a lengthy process.