The Power of Praying Together

by | Nov 24, 2010 | Spirit-Led Living

When you join with others in the prayer of agreement, the results are dynamic, and the bond is eternal.


Depression
was something I suffered with for many years. As far back as I can
remember I struggled every day to find a reason to live—a reason to get
out of bed—a reason for my very existence. The first decision I had to
make each morning was, “Should I kill myself now or can I make it
through another day?”

Yes, I had been to psychiatrists but the
medicine they prescribed didn’t help me. In fact, taking it made me feel
even more hopeless about my situation. If that was the best medical
science had to offer, then what hope did I have of ever getting better?

I
tried everything I could find to get rid of the feelings of sadness,
despair, hopelessness and deep hurt in my heart. I tried to drown them
in alcohol and drugs. I tried to rise above them with occult practices
and desperately wrong relationships. But nothing ever worked.

After
the effects of every bad choice wore off, I was back to the way I had
always been. I had a perpetual lump in my throat that was painfully
sustained by a continuous effort to restrain the tears. I knew if the
floodgate ever opened, a tidal wave of overwhelming proportions would
rush out.

A Glimmer of Hope

It wasn’t until I
was 28 years old that a friend took me to meet Pastor Jack Hayford.
There, in his office, I received the Lord into my heart and that’s when
things began to change in my life.

Before Christ, I had been adrift. I was lost in space with no oxygen mask—sentenced to life imprisonment without food or water.

But
now, suddenly, I was rescued. I was filled with the breath of the Holy
Spirit. Living water bubbled up from my innermost being and flowed
through my soul. I was fed and edified by daily bread from the Word of
God.

I felt it strengthening and reviving my entire being. I
finally understood what it was like to have hope. I learned that my life
had a purpose. With one simple decision, my life had changed.

But I still had the depression.

I
started going to church and receiving great Bible teaching from Pastor
Jack. I learned to read my Bible every day. I couldn’t put it down. I
couldn’t get enough. Life was finally making sense, and I had a lot of
catching up to do.

That old familiar emptiness that had been in
me as far back as I could remember was now finally becoming more and
more filled. The truth of the Word was bringing life to the dead places
in my soul.

I still had the depression. But now I could cope with it a little better…or could I?

One
Sunday morning, while attending church services, I ran into Michael,
the man I would eventually marry. We had met a couple of years earlier
when we worked together on a Christian music project, before I became a
believer.

After our second “chance” meeting, we started seeing
each other socially and dated almost a year before we married. Even
though I was happy to be married to him, it surprised me to discover
that marriage didn’t take away the depression like I thought it would.
Not long after the wedding, that unwelcome despair returned once again.

A Different Kind of Cure

One morning I woke up, looked at my life, and saw how much of it I had
wasted on pursuing worthless things instead of the things of God. I have
completely blown my one chance to do anything worthwhile for the Lord, I
thought. I felt that because of my miserable, failure-filled past, I
had forever forfeited the opportunity to do something that could
actually make a difference in the lives of others.

I sank into a
deep depression from which I didn’t think I would ever recover. It was
so bad that I couldn’t even get out of bed.

At my husband’s
suggestion, I went to a pastor’s wife at the church. She was especially
gifted in the areas of discernment, knowledge revelation and Christian
counseling. Mary Anne knew the Word and the power of it, and she
understood how to pray in the authority of the Holy Spirit. She was well
acquainted with the God of the Bible who delivers, heals and transforms
lives through prayer.

I told Mary Anne my story. She suggested
that we fast for three days. Then, she would see me again, and we would
pray. I did as she instructed and went back the following week to meet
with her and another pastor’s wife. From the moment they laid their
hands on my head and shoulders and began to pray, I could sense the
power of the Holy Spirit.

They prayed, among other things, that I
would be set free from depression, suicidal thoughts and fear. And the
most amazing thing happened as they prayed: I actually felt the
depression leave. I mean I felt physical sensation in my arms and
shoulders as the heaviness and depression lifted off of me. In its place
were lightness, freedom, peace, hope and joy.

The next morning I
fully expected the depression to return, even though the counselor said
it wouldn’t. But she was right; it wasn’t there. And it didn’t come
back the next day either—or the next. In fact, it never came back. It
was entirely gone.

There had been a complete work. It was something God had done, when nothing and no one else could do it.

From
that time on, I became a believer in the power of praying together with
other Christians. If God could, in one instant, take away a hopeless
lifelong condition, then what more could He do? What more does He want
to do?

I came to see that the possibilities were limitless
because God is without limits. Anything was possible because with God
nothing is impossible!

For more than 30 years now, I’ve always
had a prayer partner, or two, or three, or five or seven—depending on
the particular time in my life. I’ve found that I can’t live without
prayer support. I can’t be a good wife, mother, writer, speaker, or
minister of God’s love and grace without it.

When We Agree

I encourage everyone to find someone to pray with on a somewhat regular
basis. I also remind others never to overlook or bypass the many golden
opportunities to pray with people they see in the course of a day, even
if it’s only briefly.

I’m not suggesting that we neglect our own
personal prayer times with God. To the contrary, our time alone with
the Lord is the most important time of all. It’s when we develop our
relationship with Him. It’s when we grow. Our personal prayer time is
the foundation for all other effective prayer.

When I used to
play the violin, I found that I was a greater asset to the orchestra if I
practiced on my own. The more I played alone, the better I was with the
group. It’s the same way with prayer. The more time we spend alone with
God, the more powerful our prayers will be when we pray with others.

But
so often we just pray alone and don’t spend any time praying with
others. We don’t recognize the power of two or more. Jesus promises that
His presence will be in our midst in greater power when we join with
one or more persons.

He said, “‘Where two or three are gathered
together in My name, I am there in the midst of them'” (Matt. 18:20,
NKJV). I can’t think of a stronger case for having prayer partners.

He
also said, “‘If two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they
ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven'” (Matt. 18:19).
That seems easy. All we have to do is just show up, join with one or
more and pray. But wait. What is that other word? It says that we have
to agree? That could be a problem, the agreement part, that is.

On what, exactly, are we supposed to agree? And how do we know if we are actually agreeing?

One
of the most important things we need to agree on is to whom we are
praying. Are we all praying to the one, true, almighty, holy, living
God—the Creator of the universe? And are we praying in the name of His
Son, Jesus? If we don’t agree on that, our prayers aren’t going to have
enough power to make it beyond the ceiling.

Do we agree that we
are filled with, and led by, the Holy Spirit, who enables us to pray, as
we ought? If not, our prayers aren’t going to have enough substance to
keep from evaporating into thin air.

Do we agree that God hears
prayers and answers? Do we agree that our prayers can make a difference?
If, for example, you doubt that God answers prayer and I believe that
He does, how can we be agreed on anything concerning prayer?

Another
thing we need to agree on is about what, exactly, we are praying. If,
for example, you are praying for a friend to be able to make a move to
another city, and I’m praying for that same person to stay in town, then
we are not in agreement. There is no power in our prayer.

If,
instead, we can both agree to pray for God’s will to be done in this
situation, then the prayer will be powerful. Agreeing on what we are
praying about before we pray will mean the difference between
ineffective and powerful prayers.

Leave the Outcome to God

There are a surprising number of people who find praying in front of
others very difficult. I used to be one of them. One of the main reasons
for this difficulty is fear. People are afraid they won’t do it very
well. They’ve heard the eloquence of others’ prayers and feel they have
to live up to them.

But the truth is God looks on our hearts and
not our proficiency as a public speakers. I still have to remind myself
of that each time I get up to pray in front of a crowd, especially when
the people who have gone before me prayed powerful prayers. I have had
to learn to get over myself and just pray from the heart, no matter how
simple the prayer.

Another reason I used to be intimidated to
pray with and for others is that I was afraid God wouldn’t answer my
prayers. What if I prayed for healing for this person and they weren’t
healed? What if I prayed for a breakthrough in someone’s life and
nothing happened? What then?

It was faithless of me to think that
way, I know. Plus, it was arrogant—as if getting the answers to my
prayers was up to me. I finally realized that it was my job to pray. It
was God’s job to answer. I just had to do my job and let God do His.
That realization freed me, and I was able to pray together with people
whenever the opportunity presented itself.

Pastor Jack told a
story about a missionary lady who was trapped with some people in a dry
riverbed just as a flash flood came. The people immediately joined hands
and withstood the power of that thing by strengthening one another. As
they were united against the sweeping waters, their lives were spared.
This is a perfect picture of why believers need to come together in
prayer.

Collectively, we must stand strong against the things
that would seek to wash away our lives and destroy them. When we find
ourselves in serious circumstances, we can stand united with other
believers and pray for one another.

When we join with other
people to pray for one another, it forces us to verbalize our prayer
needs and share our burdens. When we pray together for other people in
the world, it not only releases them into all God has for them, it
releases us as well.

A bond of love develops between us that is
eternal. That’s because you always grow to love the people for whom you
pray—even those you don’t know. You develop God’s heart of love for
them. And therein lies the true power of praying together with purpose.


Stormie Omartian is the author of many books.

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