What are the benefits of corporate prayer? Is praying with others better than praying alone?
Not long ago a friend of mine approached me and asked about the benefits of corporate prayer (in other words, praying with one or more people). Previously, she had been having a discussion with some other friends on the topic. They were pondering the power of two or more prayers and why it would be more advantageous than praying alone if the individual praying had great faith. They brought up the point that the bible says that if one person can have faith as small as a mustard seed anything is possible for them. If one person can have faith as small as a mustard seed and get their prayers answered, then what’s the benefit of praying with someone else?
“I also tell you this: If two of you agree here on earth concerning anything you ask, my Father in Heaven will do it for you. For where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them.” Matthew 18:19-20 (NLT)
“’You don’t have enough faith,’ Jesus told them. ‘I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible.’” Matthew 17:20 (NLT)
It’s a GREAT question! So today I thought we could talk about that.
It’s more about us than God’s power
I pointed out what Matthew 18:19-20 says about the tremendous power available when believers pray together in agreement because God’s presence is right there among them.
Then another good, and very wise 😉 friend in my small group, Michelle, had even better insight. She pointed out that it doesn’t necessarily mean that corporate prayer is more powerful than praying alone but that we feel more empowered ourselves when we pray with others. Michelle said, “It doesn’t have to do with God’s power. It’s more about us. It helps us.” So, the benefit is more for us, not for better chances of the prayer being answered.
Corporate prayer is not a magical power enhancement button that we push. Praying with others does not necessarily mean that these prayers are more powerful than individual prayers. However, they do have their benefits!
Benefit #1: Corporate prayer helps us to build each other up and strengthens us.
The old saying is true: There is strength in numbers. The bible says when one falls the other can help them up. Praying with others allows us to be transparent and vulnerable thereby strengthening trust in our relationships with our prayer partners. At the same time this builds the faith of everyone involved. Additionally, hearing others pray for us and our needs can be a great encouragement.
“Two people are better off than one, for then can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.” Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 (NLT)
“So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11 (NLT)
Benefit #2: Praying with others allows us to share our burdens making them become lighter.
When we know somebody is praying with us, they carry part of the load. It makes it easier to deal with difficult situations when we know we are not alone. Carrying something heavy is always easier with others.
“Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2 (NLT)
Benefit #3: Agreeing with someone in prayer removes room for doubt and wavering—thus a stronger faith and belief.
When praying we need to have faith. We need to believe that we get an answer to our prayer. Doubting and wavering hinders our faith. Therefore, praying with someone else will help us to alleviate doubts so that our faith is not hindered, and we can receive from God.
“But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.” James 1:6-8 (NIV)
Benefit #4: Corporate prayer is mutually beneficial—it helps all involved.
Praying for others helps each person praying, not just the individual with the prayer request.
It causes us to look outside of ourselves and our own needs. This can help squelch selfishness, and it can also help us to minimize our own problems when we see we are not alone in trouble in addition to realizing the troubles of others. Corporate prayer develops a concern for others.
Matthew Henry’s commentary on Matthew 18:19-20 about agreeing with others in prayer is especially good and informative.
This article discusses these biblical and historical proofs for the priority of corporate prayer such as examples demonstrated in the New Testament, by the Apostles, and even by Jesus, himself.
Lastly, this link at OpenBible.info gives a list of scriptures having to do with corporate prayer.
Take Some Practical Steps to Get the Benefits of Corporate Prayer:
- Find one or more corporate prayer partners, people to agree with you in prayer. Ask them to pray with you—either right then and there or if they are more comfortable ask them to add it to their prayer list and to keep you and your prayer request in mind.
- If you have to pray alone, know that your prayer is not any less powerful when prayed alone. Your prayers can and will still be answered even if you don’t have anyone to pray with you.
- BUT…If you DON’T have anyone to agree with you in prayer…Contact me! I will agree with you! I will be your corporate prayer partner.
How have you benefited from corporate prayer? Tell us about it by leaving a comment below.
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If you know anyone that could benefit from this, please pay it forward! Share this post via the sharing links below. “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 (NIV)