Tuesday, April 01, 2014
Importance of Unified Praying with Others
I've been focusing on prayer a lot in recent weeks both in preparation for sharing thoughts in our church prayer meeting service and in personal preparation for a stronger prayer life. One of the things I've been impressed with in the New Testament is the emphasis on corporate prayer, prayer as a group. Along with that the Bible stresses the need to be of one accord or like-minded.
First consider this promise: “Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.” Matthew 18:19 While this verse deals primarily with the issue of discipline in the church, it shows both the importance of praying with others and the importance of agreement.
In Acts 2:42 we're told that the followers of Jesus “continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.” There was a steadfastness, a consistency, a sticking to it pattern regarding prayer in the local assembly. We have a similar passage in Acts 1:14, “These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers.” In this passage we see both the idea of continuing and the idea of being of one accord, one mind. They were in agreement as to what they were praying for.
On another occasion, after having been released from arrest, Peter and John returned to their fellow Christians and reported all that had taken place. In response the people “raised their voice to God with one accord and said: 'Lord, You are God, who made heaven and earth and the sea, and all that is in them....'” The prayer continues with praise of who God is, a review of events that led to this moment and then a prayer for boldness. In response to their prayer the place was shaken with the power of the Holy Spirit and they went out and spoke with boldness. Their prayer had been answered. It's interesting to note that they spontaneously prayed and they prayed with one accord.
All through the New Testament Christians are exhorted to be of one mind and of one accord. Just think of the power that such unity would bring if it was displayed this way in each local church. God promised that if you pray in agreement, “it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.”
I think each one of us needs to ask ourselves a couple of questions. Do I believe in prayer? Do I demonstrate that by having a consistent personal prayer life? But we need to go further. Do I regularly and consistently meet with other Christians in my assembly and pray with them? And if I do, is our praying of one mind toward the furthering of God's will on earth as it is in heaven?