I have a confession to make: I've never been big on corporate prayer. I feel funny when people ask me to pray with them. I've always thought that standing in a circle and holding hands while praying felt awkward and a little disingenuous.
But then I started studying what God's Word says about the power of praying together. His truth has revolutionized my thinking. I've noticed that some of my hesitations are melting away. I've started praying with friends, family members, and occasionally people I've just met every chance I get!
Why the change? Because God's Word shows there is power in agreeing with other believers in prayer. Praying together is part of why God gave us the Church.
The Example of the Early Church
Check it out. In the book of Acts, we find the early church fervently praying together in several passages:
And when they had entered, they went up to the upper room, where they were staying, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot and Judas the son of James. All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers (Acts 1:13–14).
This is just after Jesus' ascension. Their Savior was physically gone again, and He had left them with a huge mission (to tell the whole world about Him). How did they respond? By praying together.
In Acts 4:23–31, the believers joined together to pray once again. What was the result?
When they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness (v. 31).
In Acts 16:25 we find Paul and Silas praying together in prison. What happened that time?
Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken. And immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone's bonds were unfastened (v. 26).
Ultimately, the result of Paul and Silas' prayer was that the jailer was saved along with his entire family. Clearly, there is power in praying together!
Where Two or More . . .
Matthew 18:19-20 gives this bold promise:
"Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them."
Scripture teaches us several key truths about the power of praying together:
- Jesus did it.
- When His friends didn't immediately intercede for Him, Jesus kept asking for prayer.
- Jesus was real about what He needed prayer for. To truly tap into the power of praying together, we have to be transparent.
- Praying together is intimate.
- It includes confession.
- It leads to healing.
- When we pray together, Jesus is in our midst.
- He has promised that our prayers will be answered.
Take Off Your Mask!
Part of the reason God placed us in a church family (and in a Christian family if you are fortunate enough to have one) is so we will have prayer support from others. But in order to reap the full benefits, we have to be willing to take off our masks of perfection and say, "I'm struggling. Will you pray for me?"
If we keep offering trivial prayer requests or praying with others out of obligation or routine, we cannot tap into the power of prayer that the church in Acts experienced. Don't you want a prayer life that has the power to shake walls and save lives? Me, too! That means we have to get serious about genuinely praying with other believers.
God's truth on corporate prayer leads us to a fork in the road.
- Will you commit to praying with others more often?
- Will you be transparent about areas where you have needs and bold enough to ask others to pray with you about those areas?
- Will you return the favor for them?
- Will you find ways to regularly pray with others about issues that matter?