A friend of mine made this observation.
“When Jesus gave the disciples the Lord’s Prayer, He said – ‘When you pray, pray like this…’ (Luke 11:2). The pronoun ‘you’ is plural. Jesus expected His disciples to pray together. When Jesus ascended to the Father, 120 disciples remained together in prayer. When Peter was arrested, the Church gathered together to pray. It says in Acts 2:42-43 that the Church devoted themselves to prayer and they all met every day for prayer, worship and communion.” (Bernie McGale)
Corporate prayer – believers gathering together around the throne of grace for the business of the Kingdom – stands out to us like a work crew on a construction site. Men and women assemble together at the beckon of their Foreman for the task at hand.
A believer’s prayer life is incomplete if it does not include community. Communing with God in private prayer is vital to cultivation of personal relationship with Him as our Father in heaven. But it is as believers assemble with other believers that the work of the kingdom more forcefully advances.
The design of corporate prayer carries the wisdom of God in a number of ways.
I met recently with a fellow pastor to discuss how to cultivate a mentality of prayer among our people. When he arrived as the new pastor of his church, corporate prayer was almost non-existent. As a matter of first importance, he embarked on stirring the congregation to gather for prayer. Slowly but steadily the people are catching on. Interest is waxing. Numbers are growing. That small group committed to prayer, engaged in prayer is the tiny brush fire that, with the winds of the Spirit, will set the whole forest ablaze.
What do they pray? Primarily, their cause is to declare the glory of God and to delight in His mercies. Such prayer is new to them. Their experience in prayer meetings has been to check off items on a prayer list. That sort of prayer is there. But it is sanctified in a blaze that seeks God’s glory.