December 13, 2016


Throughout the New Testament are references to believers praying in groups (see Ac 1:14; 12:12). Why would we need to pray with others in public? Why can’t we simply pray alone in private? In verses 1:8–11, Paul provides a clue to why corporate prayer is necessary.

 God doesn’t determine how he’ll answer prayer by counting how many heads are bowed. The reason he wants us to pray together is the same reason for all prayer: to benefit us and bring glory to him. What Paul meant is that more prayer means more gratitude, which means more glory for God.

 To understand the desirability of corporate prayer, consider two possibilities. In the first, a dozen people are each praying privately for Paul’s deliverance, say, from prison in Philippi. God delivers him, and as each of the 12 hears about it, they give thanks alone. Each person would individually thank God. Now consider another situation: that same dozen people gather together—like the disciples in Acts 12:12 praying for Peter’s release from prison—and then word comes that God has answered their corporate prayers. In that situation, Ask yourself, “Would not their togetherness heighten their joy of thanksgiving?”

 As Piper explains, it’s human nature to feel gratitude more intensely when somebody you love is having the same experience with you.

  First, I see the blessing of God in answer to many prayers, and then I look around and I see it again reflected and magnified in many grateful faces, and so my own gratitude is deepened and heightened by the group which prayed together and rejoiced together. And since God loves deepened and heightened gratitude, it is sure that if we pray earnestly in groups, we are putting ourselves in a position for great spiritual blessing from the Lord.

  For many believers, the idea of gathering together for group prayer outside Sunday services provokes a range of emotions, from boredom (what could be more dull than sitting around praying?) to terror (what could be more frightening than praying aloud in public?). In foregoing corporate prayer, though, we’re missing out on an opportunity to glorify God and grow in gratitude.


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