In Part 1 of this blog series, we talked about the importance of prayer as a means of developing your relationship with God. I briefly discussed my private prayer life. I also talked about the importance of not only praying privately with God, but the idea of praying to God with others. This idea is called communal prayer. If you have not yet read Part 1 of this blog series, you can check it out here.
In Part 2 of this blog series, we discussed the reasons for the importance of creating an environment of oneness among believers in the church and how communal prayer is a big part of that. If you have not had a chance to read Part 2 of this blog series, you can check it out here.
In Part 3 of this blog series, we talked about some of the blessings that God reigns down on His church. We also discussed some individual things we need to do to bring oneness and unity to our body of believers. If you have not had a chance to read Part 3 of this blog series, you can check it out here.
We all face overwhelming circumstances at some point in our lives. For some of us, we may be in a rut where it seems like these overwhelming circumstances are coming at us on an almost daily basis. A good cup of strong coffee can help with sleep deprivation, but it can’t handle temptation, discouragement, and hard times. That is where prayer comes in.
As Christians, we have God inside of us, who is there with us every single moment of our lives. He is more than willing to help us through our daily struggles, but we have to be willing to ask for His help and guidance. As we have learned in this blog series, it is important for us to talk to God through worship and prayer on an individual basis, but it is also important for us to do these things as a group.
Creativity and perseverance can help us connect with God and each other on a more regular basis. Here are five ideas for how we can do this:
Start a weekly prayer group. Invite fellow believers to get together once a week to take a break from their lives and get together and spend some time praying together as a group. Seek Jesus as a group. Make it a challenge and get together on Monday mornings before you start your week. What a great way to get your week started. If once a week seems to daunting then start with one day a month and work your way up. It doesn’t have to be for a long time. You can start with 15-30 minutes.
Off the Chain
Team up with other Christ-followers by sending prayer requests through texts. Many people who have done this have seen their prayers answered before their prayer request has made it all the way through the prayer chain. If you do this, don’t forget to add “praise God” moments as well. Don’t just talk about bad things, but include the good things that happen to you as well and everyone on the text can share in your joy. One word of warning about doing this: Prayer chains can quickly turn into gossip/rumor chains. Be sure you double-check motives and the information contained in the text before you blindly pass it on to the next person.
There are several national prayer events going on all the time. You can go and attend these events in person and focus on the communal prayer activities they are doing. You can also participate in your own community and never leave home by participating in the event by joining forces with other like-minded people in your area. It can be an awesome experience to join in God’s work across the nation by collaborating with these large group events. You can even get your whole local church you attend involved too. There is great power in numbers.
Walk it Out
Begin a culture of prayer walking. Start as an individual by simply going for a walk around your neighborhood where you live. As you come across people during your walk, take the time to pray for them silently. If you see another believer you could even be bold and approach them and ask them if you can pray with them out loud. You could ask them “How can I pray for you?” You might be surprised by the welcoming responses you’ll get from people.
In time, you could ask others to join you and you could walk around as a group looking for people or groups to pray for or with. Ask God to work through individuals or groups for His glory. Praying for a stranger is a great opportunity to show the love of Christ.
Use social media to begin a prayer wall. Create a visual space where people can post their prayer requests. Ask a group of dedicated Christians to be administrators for the site who will pray and leave comments of encouragement for people who make posts on this space. This would be a great way to use social media in a positive and uplifting way.
Communal prayer is an important part of our walk with God. It creates a sense of closeness with God while creating a sense of closeness and community with other believers. It can also be a way to bring non-believers into what you are doing and bring Christ into their lives.
For many of us, myself included, this can be very hard to do. We can feel uncomfortable with the thought of praying as a group. Sometimes God asks us to get outside of our comfort zone so that He can develop us as people and bring us closer to Him in the process.
I would encourage each of you to consider ways in which you could take prayer life and find ways that you could do prayer in a way that includes others. People together are more powerful than one person alone. We need to remember that and find ways we can maximize the potential of the culture of communal prayer.