Praying Together as a Body

Praying Together as a Body

As God’s own people, He has commanded us to pray. In the Old Testament. In the New Testament.  In sickness. In grave danger. In health. In times of abundant blessing. In peace. In other words, there’s never a time when He’s not expecting to hear from us!

The longer I walk with the Lord (nearing 42 years now), I have learned that prayer is the most difficult discipline with which to remain consistent. It is also one the enemy targets fiercely because, as you hand I have also learned, it has the potential to do the greatest damage to his agenda and kingdom!

Something else I have learned in this journey: it’s a battle to find a healthy balance in the discipleship process. As I’ve written previously, I was off balanced with the time I spent in prayer and in the Word. Praise the Lord that changed when He brought Kerin and I together in marriage! I am convinced that for prayer to be effective it has to be focused and intentional. Distractions must be removed if we are to pray effectively.

Why is this an area that so many Christians find daunting? Apart from the obvious fact we have an enemy who acts in opposition to our efforts 24/7, there are some factors we need to consider as we examine ourselves in accordance to Paul’s instruction to Timothy.

First, are we afraid of the raw honesty (with ourselves and GOD) that we need to approach His holy throne of grace? Have we been avoiding the truth by staying away from the mirror of His Word? If we are, self-deception is surely at play because our God sees ALL.

Second, do we shy away from confiding in Him because we feel small in His presence? If this is our mindset, we should instead rejoice in the knowledge of His vastness and grandeur.  But, we must also remember that He delights in our company whenever we approach Him in humility.

Third, we need to exercise humility before God. Without it, we’ll lack the desire to pray and may even justify our disobedience, doubting that prayer even matters. This would place us in opposition to James 4. Not good. Not good at all. This, at its core, is a heart issue. Perhaps we’ve allowed a root of bitterness to invade our hearts because God answered our prayers with a “not yet,” or even a “no”. If that’s the case, God appeal to us to rethink these disappointments and embrace the mystery of His unfailing love.

The early church devoted themselves to prayer, and, more specifically, to THE prayers – they prayed together! Consider two examples of corporate prayer that God used to display His power. One is from the Old Testament, the other is from the New.

First, in 2 Chronicles 20, we find an account of King Jehoshaphat hearing of great army of Moabites, Ammonites and Meunites coming to attack Judah. This army was vastly superior to Judah’s army and this caused fear to rise within Jehoshaphat. His first response was to seek the face of the Lord and proclaim a fast. Judah assembled together to ask the Lord for help (20:3-4).

The people of Judah prayed, humbled themselves, praised and worshiped and early in the morning they did more of the same. Verse 21 tells us that “when he (Jehoshaphat) had taken counsel with the people, he appointed those who were to sing to the Lord and praise Him in holy attire, as they went before the army, and say, ‘Give thanks to the Lord, for His steadfast love endures forever.’”

As a result of the people seeking the Lord’s face together, He caused the opposing army to turn against one another and destroy themselves! All that was left for Judah to do was carry off the spoil and give God the glory!

Then, in Acts 13, Paul and Barnabas were with the church at Antioch with its prophets and teachers and “while they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, ‘Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.’ Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off.”

These are just two examples of how God worked through the prayers of His people. Because of their humility and oneness, these believers were “praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.”

Let it be again, Lord!

 

To consider:

  • When does prayer come easy to you? When is it difficult?
  • Was there a time when you were amazed at God’s answer to your prayers? Disappointed? Confused?
  • Are there things that have helped you go deeper in your prayer life, such as an appointed time, accountability partner, hymnbook, journal, or use of pre-written prayers?
  • Why do you think corporate pray is so important to God? How does He use the prayers of the Body to glorify Himself?
share

Comments

  1. When I am close to God and have kept my heart pure and kept in His word, EVERYTHING brings me to prayer. When I need help, when I am thankful, when I know of a need in someone’s else’s life, even just watching my daughter grow and do new things, it all brings me to prayer. When I feel separated from God, when I haven’t taken a daily quiet time, when sin is beating me down, it’s hard to pray for EVERYTHING. Those same things that happen in life bring a completely different response from me and I almost have to force myself to do something that comes so naturally when I am close to God.

  2. I find that my stubborn nature responds to God faster and more fervently in times of difficulty, pain, or failure. I am quick to gravitate with ease to a dangerous place of self-sufficiency. One thing that has helped me to become more consistent has been having two scheduled times of prayer each day, one privately and one with my husband. No matter what has gone on throughout the course of a busy day, God beckons us to make time for this. After a stressful day, the enemy entices me with his lies that I’d be better off to tuck into bed early or seek escape in a good book. I am thankful that my hubby will challenge me to honor the Savior instead. This bedrock of dependence upon Him has been a source of unity for us that has yielded innumerable blessings since day one of our courtship.

  3. I believe that corporate prayer is an amazing time to be still with one another. Hearing the voices of those around me draws me closer. I can remember a time praying with a mom who was losing her child. We had bowed our heads and were joining hands in prayer. This woman loved her child and knew that only God had the situation under control. I still remember the feeling of her warm tears landing on my hand as we prayed. I couldn’t move my hand or wipe the tears away until we were finished (because I felted it would be insensitive). Although I may not remember all the moments like this one, I do remember the love and devotion this precious woman had for her child and for her Lord. Not only did this give me an extreme respect for this lady but it made me thankful that this lady was in my life and I could learn and draw from her strength. Many times in my private prayer time I lift her and her family up. It has been years since the passing of her child but I am sure there is still and empty place in her heart and a yearning for the day they will be reunited in heaven.

  4. I find that if I start my day with prayer, before my feet even hit the floor, I am more prepared to meet my Savior throughout the day. It is as if I have opened the door to him and welcomed him to be with me in everything I do during the day. If I begin any new task I try to remember to ask him to help me. When I get in the car I ask him to go with me and give me opportunity to be his hands and feet. When I am alone I try to turn my thoughts to him and hope to hear his voice. It gets easier and easier as time goes on. It wasn’t always so easy for me OR so much on my mind. When I was a little girl, I was always talking to imaginary people as I found myself alone much of the time. Now I feel as though it is a natural outgrowth of that to talk to Jesus throughout my day. I love corporate prayer as well. I think of all of us praying with so many other churches throughout the months and what a beautiful sound it must be to God! He wants us to be unified. He created us for that! And he must be so pleased when he hears the prayers of his unified body.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *