Who Is Praying with You?
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 about praying with other people. Now I can't wait to pray with other believers. In fact, I've started praying with friends, family members, and occasionally people I've just met every chance I get. Why the turnaround? Because God's Word shows us that there is power in agreeing with other believers in prayer and that praying together is part of why God gave us the Church.
Check it out.
In the book of Acts, we find the early church fervently praying together in several passages.
Acts 1:13–14 says, "When they arrived, they went upstairs to the room where they were staying. Those present were Peter, John, James and Andrew; Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew; James son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James. They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers."
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?
"After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly" (v. 31).
In Acts 16:25 we find Paul and Silas praying together in prison. What happened that time?
"Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone's chains came loose" (v. 26).
Ultimately, the result of Paul and Silas' prayer was that the jailer and his entire family were saved. Clearly, there is power in praying together!
But there's more ...
James 5:16 tells us to "confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed." Why should we pray together? So that God's Spirit is unleashed to heal our hearts.
In Matthew 26:36–46 Jesus recruited prayer warriors to pray for Him while He wrestled with the reality of His coming death.
Matthew 18:19–20 gives this bold promise, "Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them."
When we pray together, Jesus is in our midst. When we agree on a prayer request with another believer, God's Word promises that our prayer will be answered.
Maybe part of the reason I've hesitated to pray with others for so long is because I've been nervous about the intimacy of it. First Corinthians 7:5 is a passage written to married couples. It says, "Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control."
This passage ultimately lists prayer as an alternative to sex for married people. It's that intimate! Praying together works like spiritual super glue to bond you to the person you've been vulnerable enough to pray with and for. In fact, I read that the divorce rate among couples who pray together regularly is only 1 percent! Can you imagine how our friendships would be strengthened, our families would be encouraged, and our churches would flourish if we got serious about the business of praying together?
These passages teach 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 connect to 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.
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. I don't know about you, but I want a prayer life that has the power to shake walls and save lives. That means I have to be serious about genuinely praying with other believers.
All of this leads to a decision for you to make. 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?
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