To be honest, I couldn’t have written this post a year ago. As important as praying has been over my life, praying WITH others consistently felt like a few words, I’d rather not say but WILL say because I hope someone else benefits from them.
It felt optional. Like just another commitment. And…boring.
But slowly the Lord has been pressing on my heart to value my relationships more and with that has come a desire to pray in community. I’ve been really slow listening as this prompting started years ago and has only increased.
As I’ve read books from previous generations on prayer, I’m shocked at the amount of time spent in prayer meetings each week. I’m amazed at the idea of whole weeks dedicated to praying for missionaries. I’m floored to hear of prayer chains and that, before any Billy Graham Crusade, there was likely a group of people praying for months (if not more than a year?) before they happened.
This isn’t a post to convince you that praying together with others is something you should do to be a good little Christian. It’s certainly something God called us to and we see it modeled so plainly in the early church.
But the bigger question is, why in the world would we want to miss out on something God created us for and how could we miss out on the beauty and fruit that comes when we pray with others?
It’s not a burden or a cross to bear. Yes, it requires sacrifice but do we think God’s goodness isn’t greater than the effort we would put into it?
Even in the short time I’ve been more consistently praying with other believers, I have seen the Lord carry me in a unique way that I know praying on my own could not have done.
I am so thankful I am no longer missing out on praying with others. This post will be a reminder for you as well as for myself if I ever doubt the power of praying with others.
Here are 12 benefits that I hope encourage you:
1. We get to keep a prayer mindset throughout the week and praying together helps you live on mission.
Simply put, committing to pray with others on a regular basis brings consistency to our prayers.
2. We get to see God working as other people point out what you may not see.
In those areas in our own lives that we bring before others and God, it can help us gain a bigger perspective of what God is doing that may go unseen. In Pray Confidently and Consistently, I talk about surveying the land. That means to look at all areas of our lives, not just the one area we are desperate to see God work in. It can fill us with so much despair and have us believing the lie that God doesn’t care about us if we are only looking for Him to work in one area. But as we look elsewhere and see God at work, it can bring so much hope and bolster our prayers!
3. We get to share and celebrate answered prayers with others.
God answers prayers for HIS glory. In Pray Confidently and Consistently, I share a full page of passages that reflect this idea and it’s just astounding to see together. If God answered our prayers, would anyone know? Would we chalk it up to coincidence? Our answered prayers are meant to be shared. They are meant to point to God. Psalm 145:4 says “One generation commends your works to another; they tell of your mighty acts.”
4. We get to share and celebrate in other’s answered prayers which grows our own faith.
The testimony’s of others boosts our faith when we aren’t seeing Him in big ways in our lives. It reminds us God is alive and well and helps us keep praying when it’s hard to.
5. We get to unify under the same King.
In a world that is really divided, prayer has the power to unite believers together under the same God. It’s a place to set aside differences and lift our voices to the One that all Christians can agree on. I am amazed at the effort put in to previous generations to join together with other denominations for prayer. Though there were plenty of prayer groups within churches, they also emphasized the importance of joining with other believers from different denominations. It’s a powerful thing to know join together with others who may differ from you on how they view secondary issues.
6. We get to experience deeper intimacy with those we meet with.
As we share our hearts and invite others into this intimate space, it deepens our relationships. I’ve been blown away by the number of people who’ve said their friendships have gone deeper simply by asking them each month what they can pray for them as they fill out their prayer journals. The follow-up conversations and the love they feel to be prayed for is a bond that I pray we all get to experience!
7. We get to minister to others through prayer.
It brings the pray-er just as much joy as the one being prayed over to pray for someone else. So often we can feel helpless in our busy lives to serve others. Maybe you have 3 kids under 4 and cooking a big meal for someone after surgery feels impossible. What about praying for them? What about pulling them aside in the hall in between church services and praying for them? I have found so much joy being able to pray over someone and have them tell me that what I prayed was a direct answer to prayer. They felt seen by God because whatever was mentioned was what they needed most.
8. We get challenged to pray for things we might not have otherwise.
It’s super easy to get in our own little prayer bubbles, praying for our kid’s test, our husband’s stressful job, or our relationship with our parents. Joining together with others gives us an opportunity to expand our prayers. Depending on the specific group, it could be lifting up the students in your district, the missionaries in another country, your pastor and church leaders, and more.
9. We are given opportunities to learn how to pray from others.
As I’ve been interviewing guests for my new podcast Prayer in a Noisy World, I’ve been asking them if prayer was modeled for them. Most have very specific people in their life that were a big part of them learning to pray. If you desire to grow your prayer life join in the prayers of those who are consistently praying. And don’t feel intimidated that your prayers don’t sound as fancy or confident. Simply remember they learned to pray over time too!
10. We grow our ability to pray out loud, making us a more confident pray-er.
The more you pray with others, the more comfortable you will feel praying with others. It sounds obvious but if we want to get more confident praying with others, it won’t happen if we never do it. One gal in our group who was intimidated by joining a prayer group stepped out of her comfort zone. After our time together, I saw her at another prayer group and she mentioned only being able to say yes because of the time we had spent praying together. You can start really small, maybe pick one friend to pray with and stretch that muscle.
11. We get to love others well.
I’ve already touched on this a little in #7 but I truly believe praying for others is one of the greatest ways we can love someone. We are basically saying that you are worth bringing before my God. You are worth petitioning my Father. You are worth more than me mustering up my own strength and energy. I’m bringing in the big guns for you!
12. We get to share our burdens.
I’ve said it often over the last 9 months, but praying with others in really difficult moments this year has carried me when I wanted to give up. There are people in our lives who would be honored to pray for us but so often we feel like it’s literally a burden. I don’t know what I would have done without the prayers of others over me when I didn’t have the words.
WE CAN’T WAIT
As I look back on great pray-ers throughout history, I am stunned that they were all praying in community. In my mind, I kinda just pictured them all in their prayer closets and spending lots of alone time with God. As I read the accounts of their stories though, praying with others was a much regular part of it than I realized.
If we desire more prayer in our lives, praying with others can’t be just an added bonus or something we attempt in easier seasons. If we think it’s something we can wait on when it’s convenient, then we really don’t understand the necessity of it for our faith and the true blessing it is.
A TOOL FOR BEGINNER PRAYER GROUPS
As we’ve worked this year on coming up with pre-order bonuses for the release of Pray Confidently and Consistently, we knew what we wanted to do pretty quickly. This message of praying together has been on my heart so much and like I said, not one I wanted to hear for a while. So what we created was a guide to walk a group through the contents of the book. But not just in a book club or Bible study sort of way. It’s an intimidating on-ramp for starting a prayer group. In the beginning, the bulk of the time spent together is content-driven with a little bit of prayer. But as the weeks go on, the content becomes less, and the prayer time becomes more. By the end of your time together, you’re left with a small group of consistent and confident pray-ers meeting together weekly for 60-90 minutes of prayer time!
If you’ve never felt like you could lead a group like this, I hear you! We’ve designed this for the person who desires to pray with others but would rather wait for someone else to lead. I know that’s not an option worth choosing so this was made really simple to say yes to getting a group together.
If you pre-order 4 or more copies of Pray Confidently and Consistently before the release date, October 12 you’ll get the guide for free! Click here to find out how! I’m a bit biased but I hesitate even putting a dollar amount or value on this guide because if it’s the thing that gives you the confidence to start praying consistently with others? …Well, that just might be priceless! 😉
Text some friends this blog post or invite them to do our free 5-day You Version plan to see who may be interested.
I cannot wait to see what God does when we start praying together!