Becoming a part of a Christian church or a small group dramatically increases the power and effectiveness of your prayers. Many people make the mistake of thinking of prayer as only a private, personal activity and they don’t realize that when you become connected with other Christians that your prayer life improves dramatically for a number of reasons.
Here are the top 15 ways to connect with other Christians to increase the power of your prayers.
Join with two or more and Jesus promises to be present
Jesus gives us this incredible promise: “For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.” (Matthew 18:20 NIV) This is a mystery that I don’t really understand and yet I have personally experienced it to be true. Jesus gave us this promise during his earthly ministry before his death and resurrection. He wanted us to understand that when we are in the company of other Christians it allows us to experience Christ’s presence in a way that isn’t possible when we are alone.
Harness the power of agreement and praying in one accord.
Jesus tells us, “Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven.” (Matthew 18:19 NIV) Of course this isn’t a magic formula for getting exactly what we want when we pray. It points out the principle of praying in “one accord” which means being united and of a single mindset among individuals who are open to the leading of God’s spirit.
When Christians gather they are able to pray together long enough and hard enough until the group receives among themselves the feeling that they have found and prayed God’s will, that they have discovered the next step God desires them to take or they feel that the matter is now in God’s hands and no matter what happens next, God will see them through.
Find a prayer mentor
If you want to learn how to do anything, you usually find someone who knows how to do it well and who has been successfully doing it for a long time so you can profit from their example and expertise. When Jesus’ disciples observed the effectiveness of his prayers they asked him, “Lord, teach us to pray.” (Luke 11:1) Jesus was their prayer mentor and taught them what is known as the Lord’s Prayer or the Our Father.
Everyone needs mentors in all aspects of life. The best way to find a prayer mentor is to form relationships with other Christians. Often you’ll discover a prayer mentor in your own family, such as a praying grandmother. Soon you will discover those who seems to have good prayer habits and have confidence that God hears them when they pray.
Find a prayer partner
In a prayer partnership you meet as two or more individuals who are open to sharing their lives and prayer needs together. Prayer partners agree to pray with each other or to pray for each other.
Prayer partnerships can be short or long term. For instance, a prayer partnership might last during a life situation that eventually stabilizes, such as two people praying together when one of them is going through a divorce. A longer term prayer partnership might be among parents with children with similar handicaps praying together for years. Prayer partnerships can also be formed as a means of praying for larger causes, such as our schools, our nation or our world. And finally, prayer partnerships can be formed as a means of praying together on any and all subjects that the Holy Spirit brings to mind. As an example, with one prayer partner I had we met so we could pray for our church together.
Receive reassurances and directions from God when someone is praying for you.
When you are praying with others the Holy Spirit is able to work in ways that go well beyond the normal human abilities to give advice or offer guidance. Nearly every regular prayer group member can testify to times when they brought a need before the group and someone prayed for them in a way that felt like God was enabling the person to pray with special insight into their situation. For instance, a woman I know asked for prayer for her daughter’s hearing problems and someone in the group also prayed about the daughter’s feelings of not fitting in with others, which is something that the woman hadn’t shared with anyone in the group. It made the woman feel like God knew, saw and cared very personally for her and her daughter.
Learn new ways of prayer
When you pray together with others, you can learn about and try out new ways to pray. There are a huge variety of ways and means of prayer, and it’s important to find the ones that suit your personality, your current life needs and your schedule. For instance, in one group I tried out meditating using art and found I really liked it and used it during a trip to Europe. At a retreat center I used a prayer labyrinth. And with a small group I learned a healing prayer technique where you lay hands on the ill person and pray in silence together.
Feel the healing arms of God around you through the nearness of another person
One of the biggest struggles in life is feeling isolated, alone and feeling like no one else understands you or what you’re going through. We were created to give and receive love and when it’s missing, we can’t thrive and survive. Praying with others can overcome our feelings of isolation by bringing us into God’s family of caring people. Some of the most powerful prayers for us in our times of need have an element of human touch to them, whether someone is holding our hand while they pray or putting their arm around our shoulder. Presence is powerful, and human presence combined with prayer becomes divinely powerful, helping us feel God’s love in very real and tangible ways.
Transcend geographical space
Praying together can transcend space and time. A Biblical example is St. Paul who traveled the world converting people and planting churches. Ephesians 3:1 4- 21 is a prayer Paul prayed for the church in Ephesus, Turkey while he was hundreds of miles away in prison in Rome. Even when we are alone across the road or across the globe or when we are in a situation where our praying friends can’t be present, prayer can still provide a feeling of empowerment, strength and peace. Knowing that someone is praying for you has great impact, even if they are miles away. As an example, someone asked me to pray for them at a specific time on a certain day when they were going to court for a custody hearing.
Receive prayer when you can’t pray for yourself.
There are times in our lives when it‘s difficult if not impossible to pray for ourselves. Examples include when you are in the hospital when you are so exhausted by a crisis that you can barely think straight, or when you are depressed and it feels like God is far away. Other times we feel so unworthy or guilty that we need someone to pray for us so we can be reconciled to God. Or we feel so fearful or discouraged that we need someone who is able to pray the things we can’t pray for ourselves.
Develop a sense of perspective.
We all need perspective about our lives. If we only pray by ourselves, sometimes our prayers can become self –involved and very narrowly focused on our own needs, challenges and problems. Praying with others opens our eyes to the bigger picture of God’s Kingdom around us instead seeing just our own little broken world.
Being part of a Christian group also increases our knowledge of what the Bible says about all aspects of our physical, social and spiritual lives. Knowing what’s in the Bible and being able to apply it to your life and your prayers is absolutely essential and is something that can be learned from others.
See more answers to prayer
Learning to see answers to prayer is a crucial skill. When you pray alone, often it doesn’t seem like that anything has changed and you might become discouraged and eventually you might stop praying. Joining with other Christians gives you a chance to hear reports of how God interacted with them in response to their prayers. In ongoing prayer groups and small groups you will hear updates on the group requests and be able to see the great variety of ways God works in our lives to help us in our times of need. Occasionally you will hear a report of a miraculous recovery, but more often you’ll hear of steady improvements or new directions in lives which are also answers to prayer. And even when situations don’t improve, you will see improvements in the sense of peace, hope or strength in the lives of those who have ongoing problems.
Add structured time to your prayers by being in a prayer group or meditation group
Joining with other Christians to pray is a great way to develop more regular prayer habits. When you actually put a time and place on your calendar when you will be at a prayer group or small group you will be more aware of making sure you do it.
Create a sense of connection on a deep level
There’s a huge difference between talking over your problems or desires with someone and praying with them about it. Several times I have prayed for people and they later shared that this was the first time they heard someone talk to God about them and what they needed. There is a deep sense that barriers have been finally broken down that separate us from each other and we are meeting on a very real and truthful level not possible any other way.
Create more prayer power to cover big life and world issues
There are countless things that are much bigger than any of us can cover in prayer on our own. Examples on an individual level include unemployment, divorce, grief, trauma, wayward family members and illness to name a few. Examples on a community and worldwide level include terrorism, environmental concerns, discrimination, economic problems, moral issues and injustice.
Prayer support teams can be organized for the big personal issues as well as to cover the community and global concerns. As an example, a member of our church became motivated to organize a once a week prayer drop-in at our church during a time of escalating concerns about terrorism and violence. Although attendees had been praying about this by themselves, when they met to pray their differing perspectives covered the subject in a more detailed way.
Find an accountability group to keep our prayer habits regular
We can be greatly helped staying on track with both our prayer habits and our prayer requests when we are part of a small group of Christian friends. In such groups members learn to know and trust each other to the point of being able to occasionally challenge each other with good questions. These questions might include, “Have you prayed about it?” “What have you been praying for this problem?” “Are you keeping up with regular prayer times?” Certainly we can ask such questions of ourselves in personal reflection, but they have more weight to them if someone else asks us and we have to evaluate how we’ve been approaching things and how we might need to improve.
My personal tips and experiences
Uncomfortable praying out loud? Many don’t join with other Christians because they feel uncomfortable praying out loud. Surveys show that only about 12% of praying people regularly pray out loud at a prayer group. That means the other 88% of us don’t pray out loud with others often or at all. Don’t let this keep you from joining with other Christians. Prayer with others happens in many ways that don’t require you to say an eloquent prayer out loud in front of the group. For instance, in many churches prayers like the Lord’s Prayer are said out loud in unison. This is a good way to pray together in accord with others.
Also, many churches have small sharing groups, Bible studies, men’s and women’s groups and life groups. Small groups are all about growing together. They might meet in a home and include refreshments and a short study time. Most also feature a time of sharing prayer requests, where everyone gets a turn to tell about something for which they need prayer. They then cover these requests in a variety of ways. In some, one person who’s OK with praying out loud might pray for all of the requests. Other times the group members might simply write down the requests and pray for them later at home in their personal prayer times. And in others, they might have an open prayer time where anyone who feels led might say a prayer out loud.
Nothing is too small or too big to ask others to pray about. My personal motto is that if it matters to you and if you need God’s help with something, it‘s the perfect subject for a prayer request. Sometimes in a group others might share really tough and serious things, like cancer diagnosis or unemployment or a family crisis and it can give us the impression that what’s on our hearts and minds isn’t as big or important enough to bother others with. The Bible says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” (Philippians 4: 8 NIV)
Confidentiality. Joining together with other Christians for prayer doesn’t mean that you need to completely lose your privacy. I had a really bad situation in my life that involved a family member. In order to protect their privacy, I made general requests to prayer groups. I then found one woman who had gone through the same thing and we became prayer partners. I felt comfortable sharing everything with her because I knew she’d been there herself. I also went to members of our church staff for private prayer during this time.
The Top Five ways to increase the power of your prayers
This article is part of a core series of the top five things to do to add power to your prayers. Here are links to the other articles in the series:
Get to know Jesus personally
Use the Bible
Develop regular prayer times
Find and use ways of prayer that work for you
Copyright Karen Barber 2016. All rights reserved.