Pray As One

Corporate prayer and individual prayer: two very different things, yet at their core so very much the same. As we have been learning about seeking God in wonder through prayer and other practices, let us not forget that we, together as a part of the body, can come together in as much power and authority when we pray together as when we worship together. Prayer is a form of worship. It is giving all our attention to the Lord Almighty and declaring adoration and praise as well as our requests.  The quiet spaces of growing in our communication and relationship with Jesus are so essential to our walk but so is our gathering together in praise and prayer.  Scripture tells us how the early disciples gathered and prayed. “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).  How could we be of “one accord” if we are not seeking God’s heart together?

So often we misinterpret the verses in Matthew 6:5-8 -- about praying in secret and not being seen praying aloud -- to mean that praying in quiet is the only way to pray, often correlating praying aloud as prideful. I want to encourage us, as a body, to gather and pray aloud. It  is a powerful tool in our belt against the darkness. In Matthew 18:19-20 it says, “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.“ This is a prayer of agreement. We approach the throne of God together and when we listen to what the Spirit is saying, we learn to agree based on revelation from the Spirit and aligning with the word of God. This agreement then allows us to boldly ask the Father and be assured that he hears us. We become one in spirit.

Our holy God sees us individually, and yet, together in one accord, “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him” (1 John 5:14-15).
Praying together can seem intimidating at first, but let us open our hearts to understand how we can share in each other’s burdens. In James 5:16, it says we are to “make this our common practice: confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you can live together whole and healed. The prayer of a person living right with God is something powerful to be reckoned with.” Our practice should be to pray for one another, but also to share one another’s encumbrances when we unite in prayer. For example, if I feel led to pray for someone who is sick, and someone else feels led to focus on praying about an issue of social injustice, then as we come together, exchanging what the Lord has given, can encourage each other. The eyes of our hearts enlarge as we speak out loud our prayers, and we become one in our requests. An opportunity also opens to witness and give voice to testimonies of God’s goodness and answers to prayers. Prayer meetings are not a place to sit and look nice, but to be the seeds and water for revival and renewal to happen.

Everyone may not have the same call for intercession, yet even as we represent different functions of the body, the need to move as one remains. We are to bring our “parts” to the whole, knowing that each of us have a “part of the puzzle.” How much greater an impact we can have if our ministry teams gather together in extended prayer, waiting together to hear direction rather than moving in a direction, and then asking the Father to bless it. Further still, what if we, as a church, understood that though we “minister” to different people groups, we are all in the ministry of making disciples. What could it look like if we prayed together in unity, lifting our various ministries, overlapping and covering each other in prayer? -- The security team walking the kids’ hallway praying over them, the women’s ministry praying on Sunday mornings as the men gather for breakfast, the children’s church team praying for the Sunday service, etc. The unity that Jesus spoke of in John 17 -- about being one with the Father and us being one with him so that the world will believe -- this is the oneness that happens as we seek his heart together in corporate prayer.

-Dale Cupo, RCC Prayer Ministry Leader