Prayer is personal, but why do we feel moved to pray with others?
On my Super Shuttle ride to the San Francisco Airport, I struck up a conversation with a woman sitting next to me.
I noticed the papers she held in her hand. They were questions from a Bible Study guide. I asked her what it was that drew her to spend time reading the Bible. I was intrigued by what she said.
I want to learn more about prayer.
Oh? I quietly commented, asking for more with my eyes.
Well, I’m thankful nothing bad has really happened in my life. No disease. You know, nothing awful like that…But, I feel I want to learn how to pray.
She wasn’t telling me much, but a person who wants to pray must want something from God.
I smiled and paused a bit to think of what to say.
You know, we’re all wounded in some way. It doesn’t have to be some tragic thing that happens to us. I think the wounds we all carry inside can prompt us to pray.
As she thought for a moment, I saw her face soften and her chin dip down.
When I was thirty, something did happen to me. I had a stillborn child and…
I don’t know. How can get Him to answer my prayers?
Should I get more people to pray with me? Will He listen to me then?
There were a thousand things I wanted to say to her. But, the shuttle had taken a turn for the exit. We were at the airport. I only had a few minutes left.
Why Pray With Others
Here’s what I shared with her:
We pray with others, so that when we start to doubt whether God heard us, we can be assured we didn’t just imagine it. We really did pray.
We pray in community because the hardest things in life aren’t answered right away.
Those are the times when the answers God gives are life changes. And those don’t happen overnight.
Because when things are at their worst, we won’t want to pray. We don’t even know how to pray.
That is when it’s good to have someone we can go to.
Those are the times we pray by allowing others pray for us.
I used to do all of my heart prayers alone. Until I learned I didn’t need to be.
It may be a season God is bringing some life changes to you. To make this journey, you will need others to hold onto, real people who can say —
You’re going to be okay.
And on the days you’re not, I will be here to pray with you.
I’ve Found It Helpful
Maybe you’ve been in some awkward prayer situations like me. People have tried to fix you or given you advice when all you wanted was just be understood and heard. It can be frustrating.
I’ve found it helpful to express specifically what I’m asking when I invite someone to get together and pray with me.
I say something like this —
“I was wondering if you’d like to pray together. I’m not looking for advice or even to have my problems fixed. But, someone to just pray with as I go through this transition/problem/season of my life.”
I also suggest to meet for x weeks/months. It frees the person from feeling they are locked into an open ended commitment. So, if it’s not clicking, it’s easier to let that time end. If it’s something that’s working out, then I’ll ask if she’s interested in continuing.
“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” Galations 6:2
Do you find it easy or hard to pray with others?
What has encouraged you in your prayer life?
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