There are some things in life that I just can’t do by myself. No matter how good a pianist I am, I can’t play a concerto by myself. Or fight cancer. Or build a house. Or start a family. For these, I must cooperate with other people under the coordination of a leader: a conductor, a doctor, a foreman, or a spouse.
Some things are meant to be done together!
Prayer is one of them.
You can learn to pray just like you can learn to play the piano. You can even be the best musician (or prayer warrior) this side of the Mississippi. But you’ll never reach the “big time” – that world-famous orchestra, for example – until you coordinate your talents with others.
I trained to become a pianist. But it wasn’t until I joined a worship team that my talents were used to draw people to God.
I prayer-walked my neighborhood for years with some success, but when I joined forces with other local prayer warriors, a community Bible study was formed.
Here’s the rub: we’ll never reach revival – God’s “big time” – until we pray together.
There are over 540 references to prayer in the Bible. And although our privilege as God’s children is to converse with Him one-on-one at any time, many more of the Bible’s examples encourage us to pray together, not alone.
Dave Butts, a nationally recognized prayer leader, writes in the Herald of His Coming: “In the US, the revivals known as the Great Awakenings came in response to Christians gathering for extraordinary prayer… Called “Concerts of Prayer,” God used these times of prayer to bring awakening to His people. (They determined that…) God would not move forward with His plans until Christians agreed with Him and each other about what He was going to do.”*
If we want God to give out more, we have to put in more - corporately.
So What is Corporate Prayer?
John Whitsett, Pastor of the Lakeside Community Church in Hastings, Nebraska, wrote his doctoral dissertation on corporate prayer. (Read the full interview with John for a link and more). He says: “One of the biggest misconceptions is that effective corporate prayer is prayer-request based. For corporate prayer to have a sense of life and vitality, much more time needs to be spent on "Kingdom issues" than "personal issues."
Here’s how I would illustrate his thoughts. Imagine you are at Symphony Hall, and only one of the 100 musician’s seats on stage is occupied: a clarinetist’s. This clarinet player knows only one song: his own. His repetitive tune is dwarfed by the massive arena in which he plays, and may not even be heard in the far recesses of the hall.
Now imagine that every musician’s seat is filled, and all are playing their own songs, each in a different key. Certainly, the sound level is greater, maybe even deafening, but because there is no coordination or unity, their great noise serves only to drive audiences away.
Only when the entire orchestra submits to the conductor’s direction and choice of music is a desirable result achieved: a harmonious symphony.
In other words, at some point we need to move beyond playing our everyday, individual requests for help or blessings, and begin asking God for His Kingdom to come and His will to be done. Like the believers in Acts 4, we need to gather and pray the Word of God, asking that He would “stretch forth His hand” to heal, to do signs and wonders, and to release a boldness on the preaching of His Word. It’s unified hearts, praying God's Words, that release God’s power on the earth.
A Call to Action -
Free Link to the Subscriber Resource Library when you join His Inscriptions!
A severe hearing loss from childhood caused Deborah Perkins to develop what she now calls her secret weapon: tuning in to God's voice. A Wellesley College graduate and an award-winning writer, Deborah is now a wife and mother of 3 boys. Deborah has devoted over 25 years to professional and lay Christian ministry in New England and beyond. Her passion is inspiring people to cultivate greater intimacy with God.