I’m really grateful to my friend, Margie Willis, for sharing this post with me and for guest posting about prayer. Margie is a prayer warrior, and I’ve had the honor of praying with her every morning at 6AM for the past month or so. She shared this post on prayer with me as we are diligently trying to cultivate an atmosphere of praying together in our Women’s Ministry at Warren Baptist Church. Here’s what Margie posted:
Why pray together?
Life is busy with work, school, home, extracurricular activities, church and more. We gather together for Bible study, worship, service opportunities, and fellowship. Do we really need to gather together for prayer as well? We all know prayer is important, but is it important to gather TOGETHER for prayer? We can always just pray on our own, when it fits into our personal schedules best. God hears us when we call out to Him when we are alone. He teaches in Matthew 6:6, “But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” I love my time alone at Jesus’ feet. I need that time, but I have learned that I also need to pray with others regularly.
Years ago, I was invited to join a ladies prayer group for an hour of prayer each weekday morning. I declined the invitation for months. I would laugh and say God didn’t want to talk to me that early in the morning. Then He began to wake me up even earlier and lay that prayer group on my mind. I wrestled a lot during that time. I didn’t want to get out of bed early. I didn’t see the point of getting together when I could just pray by myself at home. I was afraid to go and pray out loud. When I finally obeyed God’s leading and joined them, He drew me closer to Him beyond anything I would have imagined. He used those ladies to teach me many things, including how to pray.
Praying with others taught me to take my every request to God.
Nothing is too big or too small for Him. One morning when I was praying with a couple other ladies, there was a torrential downpour as we were wrapping up our prayer time. One of the ladies asked God to stop the rain so that we could get to our cars and homes safely. The rain immediately stopped and didn’t start again until I got home and my husband got to work. I couldn’t believe that she asked God to stop the rain and secondly that He answered that prayer! James 5:17-18 tells us, “Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. Then he prayed again and heaven gave rain, and the earth bore its fruit.” Even though I knew God’s word teaches us to boldly bring our requests to Him, I needed to hear someone pray like that to teach me to ask for what I needed no matter how big or insignificant the request seems. God still answers prayer in mighty ways!
Praying with others reminds me of who God is and what He has done.
I get distracted easily. I get focused on my world, all my busy-ness, and my struggles. When I pray with others, my focus frequently gets shifted back to Him. When I hear others praising God, I join them in praise. I remember praying with a brand new believer one Sunday morning for the services that day. Her simple prayer, “God, I’ve only known you for two weeks, but thank you for saving me.” melted my heart. Through that prayer, I was reminded of all that Jesus did for me. I had been so busy serving and praying for the details of the ministry that I had forgotten to simply worship and praise Him for the precious gift of salvation. Our prayers don’t need to be eloquent. They are simply a conversation with our Father in heaven. The simple prayers of others have brought me to God’s throne just as often as others who pray more eloquently.
Praying with others reminds me and inspires me to pray for things that aren’t on my radar at that time.
I often add to my prayer list after hearing others pray. People don’t always ask for prayer, but they’ll pour out their heart to the Lord as we are praying. When I hear their heart, I cry out in agreement and often continue praying for that particular need in my own prayer times.
Praying with others helps me focus.
Sometimes, when I am praying alone, my mind wanders. I start out praying and before I know it, I’m distracted. When I pray with others, I am able to stay focused. After experiencing the Lord’s presence through unified, corporate prayer, I leave continuing in a heart of worship and hungry for more time in His presence. Praying with others has strengthened my ability and desire to spend more time in prayer and in His word.
Praying with others changes my priorities.
My desires become more like His. For a long season, I was asking God for a child and one of the ladies I was praying with told me that God was going to give me a baby because His word says, “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” I realized in that moment that my desires had changed. While I still wanted a baby, I was content with His will for me. At the same time, my desire to see other prayers answered had grown significantly. For example, I desperately wanted to see my friend that we had been praying for come to know Jesus. (God graciously answered both of those prayers soon after that conversation!)
Praying with others promotes unity.
My love for others tends to grow as I spend time with them in prayer. I’m amazed at how God knits my heart together with others when I pray with them. Some of my best friends are ladies I have had the privilege to pray with for a season. I probably would not have been friends with those ladies normally because their personalities, stage of life, and interests are so different from mine. God also softens my heart as I pray with others. I cannot stay irritated or mad at people when I hear their heart before the Lord in prayer. I’ve seen conflict dissolve when people come together and humbly pray and seek God’s face together.
The early church spent a lot of time praying together. “All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.” (Acts 1:14) They sought God’s will through corporate prayer. “And they prayed and said, “You, Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which one of these two you have chosen” ( Acts 1:24) God moved mightily in response to the prayers of His people. “And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.” (Acts 2:42-47) I wonder how different our homes, churches, communities, and nation would be if we with one accord devoted ourselves to praying together?
Praying with others has been a huge blessing and growth opportunity for me. How about you?
- What has God taught you through praying with others?
- Do you have a prayer partner or group?
- Do you look for opportunities for corporate prayer?
- Would you be interested in joining others for prayer?
- Are you willing?