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January 10, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“When they arrived, they went upstairs to the room where they were staying. Those present were Peter, John, James and Andrew; Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew; James son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James. They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.”—Acts 1:13–14 (NIV)
For years, I watched Dan Marino, one of the greatest passers in NFL history, lead the Dolphins to the playoffs only to be eliminated. Why? Because as much of a superstar as he was, Marino couldn’t do it on his own. Team sports require a good team to win.
What’s my point? You can accomplish more and have greater success as part of a team. And the same is true of Christians, including in the area of prayer. One of the greatest privileges we have as part of God’s family is participating in prayer together as we go before our Father to lift up His name, make our requests known, and intercede for one another and the world.
There is power in corporate prayer! Because of it, we’ve seen walls fall down (12:5–12), believers sent out into their calling (Acts 13:3) and empowered for service (2 Timothy 1:6), spiritual and physical healing (James 5:14–16), revelation given (Daniel 2:14–19), and the movement of the Spirit in powerful and unique ways (Acts 4:24–31). Through corporate prayer, we have the honor of rejoicing and mourning together (Romans 12:15), making the hardest moments in life a little easier, and making the best moments in life sweeter. Through corporate prayer, we’re edified and equipped, comforted and challenged, strengthened and softened, and enriched and emboldened.
Sadly, many are turned off or intimidated by corporate prayer. Some confuse a personal relationship with Jesus with a private relationship. But these are not mutually exclusive, as believers should regularly engage in both private and corporate devotion and prayer. Others are intimidated by it, feeling their prayers aren’t good enough to be uttered in the presence of others. For those who struggle with this, it’s important to remember 1) fancy words and verboseness don’t make a prayer powerful (Matthew 6:5–8), 2) you’re not praying to man for the approval of man but to God, and 3) when we let go and open ourselves up, the Holy Spirit speaks to and through us!
And that leads me to the most important thing I want to share. In corporate prayer, we’re all role players, but there’s a superstar among us. No, it’s not the person who seems to be most attuned to God or the most knowledgeable prayer warrior. The superstar carrying the team on His back in any and all prayer settings is the Holy Spirit! He does the heavy lifting; He advocates for us and intercedes for us. He fills us with His Word, power, peace, and presence. He’s the driving force that carries our prayers in the name of Jesus.
I’ll leave you with this exhortation: Make space for corporate prayer! Put yourself in places and spaces where you’ll have the opportunity and privilege to pray with others. You need it, they need it, the world needs it!
PAUSE: What is the benefit of praying with others?
PRACTICE: Find time this week to pray with other believers. Maybe it’s your small group, some coworkers or classmates, a few friends from church, or even a group of people you see at church.
PRAY: Father, thank You that I’m not alone in this journey. Thank You for the Church, for my brothers and sisters, for my team . . . for YOUR team which is fueled, filled, and directed by the Holy Spirit. I pray that as we come together, You would be in our midst, moving and working, and speaking to us. Amen.