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Monday, July 2, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 109

Corporate Prayer continued...

So what is the significance of corporate prayer, and more specifically why is agreement so important in the sight of God?

The best way I can think of describing the difference between one individual praying for a specific thing, and an entire group of believers agreeing concerning that thing, is by comparing a solo singer, and an entire choir.

Take one lone individual, and no matter how well trained, no matter how booming their voice, or how wide their range, if you place them next to an entire choir of individuals, the chorus will inevitably drown out the lone singer.

I used to sing in a church choir in my younger years, and since my voice range was apt to the task, I sang tenor. There are three other voice types that make up a choir, namely soprano, alto, and bass. All four voice types are singing the same song, but you hear the four distinct voice types because they are singing in harmony at different voice ranges.

No matter how talented an individual singer might be, when you hear an entire choir it solicits a different sort of emotional response. Personally, I love hearing George Frideric Handel’s Messiah sung by a choir, and without fail it brings tears to my eyes.

The way we would hear a choir sing, is the way God hears corporate prayer. To Him, a corporate prayer prayed in agreement and as one, is as a symphony, a choir of voices harmonizing, but singing the same song.

God knows that in order for a body of believers to be in one accord, they must first possess brotherly love for each other. It is what being in one accord implies – namely that there is no animosity among the brethren, no jealousy, no envy, no strife, no gossip, no backbiting – that is at the heart of corporate prayer, and corporate agreement.

In order to agree with someone, and pray diligently for the same purpose, there can be no stumbling blocks, or hidden agendas. I cannot harbor hate in my heart for my brother, and still be in one accord with him. I cannot be jealous of the blessing or favor my sister has received, and still be in one accord with her.

God knows that in order for there to be perfect unity within a body of believers, in order for them to be in one accord, there must be perfect love.

We cannot be in unity with a brother with whom we refuse to shake hands, or from whom we turn away when they come to greet us. We cannot be in unity with a sister concerning whom we gossip constantly, and whom we judge viciously.

As the saying goes, there’s more to corporate unity than meets the eye, and only when we discover the beauty of being one in Christ, can we begin to understand why God insists upon unity within His congregation.

When perfect unity and perfect love reside within a congregation, we become that which we have always claimed to be, the Body of Christ, one in Him, living through Him, and laboring for Him.

When we possess true unity and love, we are also quick to ask the brethren for help in our time of need, distress, and hardship. When we possess true unity and love we do not hesitate in sharing our grief, our pain, and our trials, because we know our brothers and sisters in Christ are there to help us on the path, and be an encouragement to us when needed.

Love gives us boldness to communicate with each other; unity amplifies the conviction of knowing that once we’ve asked the brethren to unite with us and agree with us in prayer, they will be true to their word.

No, I am not referring to the televangelists who promise to pray over your request for the best possible love offering you can muster, I’m talking about true brothers and sisters in Christ who feel with us, who stand with us, and who comfort us in our time of need and adversity.

Jesus already foresaw the possibility that there wouldn’t be a large group of individuals agreeing in prayer. He already foresaw the possibility that we might not be able to find fellowship, or other likeminded believers with whom to congregate, so He made sure to stress, that if two or three would be gathered in His name, He would be there. No, we do not need a large crowd in order to engage in corporate prayer, and in order to agree upon a certain thing and petition God for it…two or three will suffice, as Jesus said.

Matthew 18:20, “For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.”

Two or three…it can be as small a group as you and your spouse agreeing and coming before God in prayer.

However many a corporate prayer might include, whether two or three, or two or three hundred, the important thing is that it be done in agreement, in unity, in love, and in one accord.

Prayer is an indispensable practice of every believer, and corporate prayer is an indispensable practice of every family, and every church body.

No matter who we are, what level of spirituality we have attained, and what understanding we have gleaned from the word of God, we are never above the need for prayer, nor can we ever surpass it.

The prophets of old prayed, the Disciples of Christ prayed, Christ Himself prayed, and we must likewise pray, for prayer is our way of communing, fellowshipping and communicating with God.

Any individual or church body that ceases to pray begins to spiritually wither and eventually die. When we cease to pray, our strength begins to diminish, our walk begins to suffer, and our faith begins to weaken, growing progressively worse the longer we go without being in the presence of God.

As such, we know that we must pray, and pray without ceasing, whether as individuals or corporately, knowing that God hears the prayers of the righteous.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

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