Prayer is as natural to a believer as “the sucking motion” of a newborn babe. For newborns, suckling eventually gives way to eating solid foods in order to grow healthy. Prayer is like that, too. We grow in our understanding of prayer and thereby in our relationship with Jesus and others. This keeps us healthy as Christians. Praying with others, however, is often very intimidating for Christians; yet Jesus says in Matthew 18:20, “For where two or three are gathered together in my Name, I am there in the midst of them.” The disciples in Luke 11:1 said, “Lord, teach us to pray.” We see evidence of the first church praying together. So, how do we get to the place in which we feel secure enough to pray with others?
First, we must understand the “place of prayer.” In John 17:20-21, Jesus prays, “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.” It is astonishing to me that Jesus desired for us to be one with them, the Triune God! When we pray together, imagine being in a conversation taking place in the center of the universe with the Triune God. I love this quote by an apologist named Matt Slick:
Prayer is the practice of the presence of God. It is the place where pride is abandoned, hope is lifted, and supplication is made. It is the place of admitting our need, adopting humility and claiming dependence upon God.
I might add, in that place, everyone agrees! If we do not meet Him in that place, in a spirit of oneness, we will may find our prayers are one-sided, perhaps misguided, and certainly awkward.
Next, how do we get to the place of prayer? Two verses immediately come to my mind: First, James 4:8, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” Then, Revelation 3:20, “Behold I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him and he with Me.” He is not only waiting to be invited in, He welcomes us to join Him!
When we go to the place of prayer with others, we must take the written Word of God with us. John 1:1, 14 and I John 1 clearly reveal that the Word of God and the Living Word of God are the same. When we take the written Word with us, we are certain to be speaking His language! We must consider then for group praying: there is perfect unity when we are all speaking His language. Barry Black, the chaplain to the U.S. Senate, clearly understood the connection of the written Word to prayer when he said this in his book, Make Your Voice Heard in Heaven:
I view this prayer as a conversation with God, evolving from the overflow of my daily devotional reading, my pastoral outreach to the thousands on the Senate side
of Capitol Hill, and my daily commitment to practice the presence of our transcendent God.
R.A. Torrey concurs: “The prayer that is born of meditation upon the Word of God is the prayer that soars upward most easily to God’s listening ear.” This then reminds me of the two disciples who found themselves in a conversation with Jesus while on their way to Emmaus! The living Word (Jesus) was quoting Scripture to them as they conversed.
In addition, when we go to the place of prayer, we must rely upon the Holy Spirit. It is amazing how the Spirit directs our prayers in a group setting!
Likewise, the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God. (Rom. 8:26-27)
In our finite minds, we cannot possibly comprehend God’s ways (Isaiah 55:8-9) or plans. We must rely upon the Spirit to direct our prayers.
The marvel of praying together with Christ present and obviously in charge is that we find ourselves in harmony with God and with one another and it moves us to where He is . . . where eternal things happen!
Mrs. Rennaker is a retired Christian school administrator and teacher. She currently teaches part-time, serves on school accreditation teams, and serves as an assistant to the executive director of Paradigm One/Bible Prayer Fellowship. She is a widow and has three children and eight grandchildren.