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. Matthew 18:19
When Dr. Richard Halverson was the U.S. Senate chaplain, he spoke before a group of evangelicals who had expressed their anger about Congress’ inactivity on the subject of school prayer. They were irritated that congress had not acted with a strong initiative to restore prayer in schools. To those who were seeking greater initiative from the government, Dr. Halverson asked, “How many of you have prayed with your children this month, outside of church?” Nobody raised their hand. Spiritual initiative starts in the home, not on Capitol Hill.
When believers pray with one another they become encouraged and are more willing to wait on the Lord for their breakthrough. It is more challenging for the devil to attack us when we are in the community than when we are alone. Whereas individual prayer is at times the best way to make our petitions known to God, it is also necessary to participate in communal prayer.
Jesus often prayed with disciples and taught them about the power of communal prayer. He took Peter and John on the Mount of Transfiguration to pray. The disciples were overwhelmed by the experience because they heard the voice of God as they communed in prayer with the Son of God. The church of Jesus was birthed while the disciples were praying together in the upper room on the day of Pentecost. This is why the church in Acts 2, met together daily for communal prayer. That church grew exponentially because believers were praying in community.
When believers pray with one another they become encouraged and are more willing to wait on the Lord for their breakthrough. Communal prayer is a type of spiritual reinforcement. The feeling of having two or more people joining in prayer is both inspiring and invigorating.
In today’s text, Jesus reminds His disciples of the power of communal prayer. He knew they would face trials and persecution because of their faith in Him. But He also knew that it is far more challenging for the devil to attack a praying community than a single individual praying alone. He wanted them to encourage one another and draw strength from each other so they could persevere in the work of ministry.
The benefits of communal prayer are (1) we pray more fervently when others join us in prayer. (2) We are more invigorated to pray when we pray with others. We can quickly get discouraged or lose focus when we pray alone. (3) Communal prayer helps to embolden our faith and makes us more hopeful about a better outcome. Hearing other people intercede for us makes us more confident. It helps us to have a sense of hopeful expectation. (4) Communal prayer fosters a spirit of collective worship that is not possible to be cultivated through individual prayer. That does not mean a believer cannot worship God during their personal time of prayer. Communal prayer makes worship lighter and easier.
Communal prayer should start at home. If we do not have a community of prayer at home, we will not have the desire to pray in a community with people outside of our homes. Many Christians lament that prayer is no longer allowed in schools and government offices. They are clamoring for legislation to “return” prayer back into the public domain. Yet, those same individuals do not pray with people in their homes, as we read in the illustration.
When husbands pray in community with their wives; parents pray in community with their children, we strengthen the bond of the family and protect the institution of marriage. When members of the household of faith pray together, the powers of darkness are hindered, deliverance is released, and peace abounds in the land.
Questions for Personal Reflection
What are the benefits of communal prayer?
What would you say to someone who does not want to pray with others?
Prayer- Blessed Lord, I thank you for inviting me to become a member of the body of Christ. Help me to be more intentional in communing with others in prayer so I can encourage them to remain fervent even as they encourage me to be steadfast in my prayer life.