UNDERSTANDING CORPORATE PRAYER

WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL

JULY 08, 2024

TOPIC: UNDERSTANDING CORPORATE PRAYER

BY T. O. BANSO

When the apostles heard this, they were united and loudly prayed to God” (Acts 4:24a GOD’S WORD Translation).  

Prayer is cooperating with God to make His will a reality on earth. It is not speaking to God to approve a list of our wants. Corporate prayer is one of the different types of prayer believers can pray. Corporate prayer is the prayer Christians come together in small or large groups to pray on specific issues. The Bible records examples of corporate prayer.

After the disciples of Jesus witnessed His ascension to heaven, the Bible says, Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey. And when they had entered, they went up into the upper room where they were staying: Peter, James, John, and Andrew; Philip and Thomas; Bartholomew and Matthew; James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot; and Judas the son of James. These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers” (Acts 1:12-14 New King James Version). The upper room prayer meeting is an example of corporate prayer.

Acts 2:1 says, When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place” (New King James Version). What followed was the coming of the Holy Spirit. The New International Version puts Acts 2:1 thus: When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place.” Although the Bible does not specifically say so, the followers of Jesus were probably praying together on the Day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit came, especially if we read Acts 2:1 with Acts 1.

Acts 2:42 says that the early believers continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, the breaking of bread, and prayers. In Acts 4, after the religious leaders had commanded Peter and John not to speak or teach in the name of Jesus, further threatened them, and released them, they went to report to the other believers who raised their voices together in prayer to God. The New King James Version says they raised their voice to God with one accord (Acts 4:24). They prayed to God to consider the threats of the religious leaders, enable His servants to speak His word with great boldness, and stretch out His hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders through the name of His holy servant Jesus (verses 29-30). Verse 31 says,After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly” (New International Version). There is power in corporate prayer.

In Acts 12, When King Herod arrested Peter and put him in prison with the intent to bring him out for public trial after the Passover, which would likely lead to killing him as he had killed James, the brother of John, with the sword, the church earnestly prayed to God for him (Acts 12:4-5).

Consequently, God sent an angel to release him from prison and Peter went to where the church was still praying for him. Those praying didn’t believe initially that it was Peter knocking at the door; they thought it must be his angel. God answered the church’s prayer (verses 6-17). There is power in corporate prayer if the church prays as it should.

In corporate prayer, believers jointly pray on the same prayer point in faith and the rest affirm the prayer by one of them over it by saying Amen. Also, one believer could pray, and the rest affirm it by responding with Amen. Matthew 18:19-20 talks about the power of agreement in prayer.

The Bible also records an example of corporate prayer in the Old Testament in Nehemiah 9:1-5 as the Israelites confessed their sins and worshipped the Lord their God.

God answers corporate prayer. The following guides must be observed to make corporate prayer effective. Some of them are also applicable to other types of prayer.

Guides for corporate prayer

1. Meet with others to pray together and be punctual (Acts 2:1). This can be physical or virtual. But if it is virtual, those praying must know they are doing something spiritual and must concentrate. God sees everyone.

2. Follow the leader and pray as directed by the leader. Follow the leader. Every Christian must allow the Holy Spirit to lead him but must also follow the instructions and directives of whoever is leading the prayer meeting except when the leader’s instructions are contrary to the Word of God.

In Nehemiah 9:5, the leaders of the Levites called out to the people to stand up and praise the LORD God, for He lives from everlasting to everlasting. In Joshua. 6:1-6, the people were given the instructions that led to the fall of the wall of Jericho – the people didn’t do as each person pleased.

During corporate prayer, if God is telling you anything like a prayer point or revelation, share it with the leader who may or may not bring it to the attention of others. Nobody should hijack the leadership of the meeting. Pray the prayer point; don’t change it.

3. Pray aloud. Corporate prayer is not silent prayer. You must pray out loud. God must hear you and those praying must also hear one another – firing up one another. They must raise their voices to God or cry to the Lord and cry with a loud voice (Acts 4:24; Nehemiah 9:4; Numbers 20:16; Joshua 24:6-7; Psalm 107:4-6; Deuteronomy 26:7). In corporate prayer, our cry must go up to God (Exodus 2:23-24).

4. Pray in faith and avoid unforgiveness. This affects other kinds of prayer too. If you have no faith that God will answer your prayer, there is no point in praying. Lack of faith and unforgiveness also hinder prayer as Jesus says in Mark 11:22-24. He also says in Matthew 21:21-22, “Assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but also if you say to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ it will be done. And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive” (New King James Version).

5. Pray with one accord, with one mind, or in unity. Those praying corporate prayer should be united in their request. They should raise their voices to God with one accord. Being together in one place does not mean people are praying, lifting their voices to God with one mind. This will affect the answer to their prayers. Acts 4:24a says, When the apostles heard this, they were united and loudly prayed to God” (GOD’S WORD Translation). The New King James Version says, They raised their voice to God with one accord.” The New American Standard Bible says,They raised their voices to God with one mind.” Corporate prayer requires that we pray with one accord, one mind, or in unity.

6. Pray according to God’s will. This applies to other types of prayer too. It doesn’t matter the number of people praying and how long they pray, if their prayer isn’t in line with the will of God, they may just be doing physical exercise! Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him” (1 John 5:14-15 New King James Version).

Praying according to the will of God starts with praying in line with the written Word of God. It also includes praying what God wants in every situation, which the Holy Spirit knows and can reveal. God doesn’t answer all prayers. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures” (James 4:3 New International Version).

7. Pray fervently or earnestly. Corporate prayer is not dull prayer. Those praying must pray, firing on all cylinders. Acts 12:5 says, So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him” (New International Version). Some Bible translations use “fervently” instead of “earnestly.” The church prayed fervently for Peter and God sent His angel to release him from the prison. Other kinds of prayer should also be prayed fervently. Colossians 4:12 describes Epaphras as always laboring fervently for you in prayers” (New King James Version). Also, James 5:17 says Elishaprayed fervently that it might not rain” (American Standard Version). Some Bible translations use “earnestly” instead of “fervently.” Corporate prayer must be fervent.

8. Read and pray scriptures but don’t turn the prayer meeting into a Bible study or time to deliver a sermon. Bible reading should focus on relevant verses and not be lengthy. The verses should guide the prayer or prayer points.

9. Pray with your spirit and pray with your understanding. Praying with your spirit helps you to overcome the limitation of praying with your understanding. For if I pray in tongues, my spirit is praying, but I don’t understand what I am saying. Well then, what shall I do? I will pray in the spirit, and I will also pray in words I understand. I will sing in the spirit, and I will also sing in words I understand” (1 Corinthians 14:14-15 New Living Translation). Also, Romans 8:26 says, Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words” (English Standard Version).

Conclusion: There is power in corporate prayer. The church must be a praying church and not a sleeping church. Be functional in your place of worship; don’t be a passive member. Join others to pray fervently.

TAKE ACTION!

If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. Take the following steps: *Admit that you are a sinner and cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.

Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself.  I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and God raised Him on the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.

I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You must join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like a palm tree and grow like a cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.

PRAYER POINTS: Father, I pray that the anointing to pray fervently and in faith and unity will rest upon Your church. Your church shall be praying, not sleeping. Our corporate prayer shall be effective, not a mere physical exercise.

(For over 900 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).

T. O. Banso is the President of Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
Phone No: +2348155744752, +2348033113523
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Email: cedarministryintl@yahoo.com,
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Website: www.cedarministry.org