In Pastor Babij’s Sunday sermon, he exhorted us to greater commitment to prayer, especially corporate prayer. But why corporate prayer and not just private prayer? At our Zoom prayer meeting a few weeks ago, we brainstormed some unique benefits of corporate prayer. I wanted to share that brief list with you all for your own consideration:
- Commandment? We might assume that corporate prayer is commanded in the Bible, but I could not find this specific command. Certainly we see many examples of corporate prayer in the Bible (e.g. 1 Kings 8:22; Acts 4:24; 12:12; 20:36) and perhaps see corporate prayer implied in certain prayer directives (e.g. 1 Cor 11:4-5; 1 Tim 2:8).
- Power? We might also assume that corporate prayer is more powerful than individual prayer, but the Bible does not say this. In fact, the Bible emphasizes that the prayer of any Christian is sufficiently powerful when offered with sincerity, conformity to God’s will, and proper motives (James 4:2-3; 5:16-18; John 4:24; 15:7a).
- Focus and Sincerity. Corporate prayer can help us focus better on actually praying to God and sincerely interceding for others. Like fasting (Mat 6:17-18), purposefully gathering tends to promote a heart ready for genuine prayer—the kind of prayer that God hears—though hypocrisy and man-pleasing are still dangers to beware (Mat 6:5-7).
- Encouragement. One of the greatest benefits of corporate prayer is the mutual encouragement such prayer promotes. When we see our brethren worshipping God and striving alongside us in the hard work of prayer, we feel encouraged in our spiritual walk (1 Thes 5:11; Heb 3:13).
- Burden Bearing. Because of our trials and struggles with sin, we all need others to pray for us (Eph 6:18-19; James 5:16; Gal 6:1-2). But how can others pray for us when they do not know our needs? And what better way to share and pray for such needs than at a set aside gathering?
- Multiplied Praise. When one person labors in a work and sees a good outcome, he rejoices, but when many people labor together and see a good outcome, they all rejoice together and with even greater joy. So it is with corporate prayer; it multiplies the joy and praise to God as we see him act for us and for our beloved brethren (2 Cor 1:11; 9:12-15).
John 15:7, If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.
Questions to Consider:
1. Are there other unique benefits of corporate prayer? What are they?
2. What are the unique benefits of private prayer?
3. What do you need to do to make both corporate and private prayer priorities in your life and your family’s life?