CORPORATE PRAYER MINISTRY

The Attributes of Corporate Prayer

Darla Hoagland

 

When discussing the topic of prayer, we find that there are many different types of prayer.  For example, there is the prayer of worship, the prayer of consecration, and the prayer of commitment just to name a few. There is also our private devotional prayer just between us and the Lord. These are all very important ways to pray. However, I want to focus on corporate prayer or what some call united prayer.

 

Corporate prayer is when we as believers unite together and begin to pray with one voice lifting up certain needs to God. We see this in Acts chapter 12 where the Apostle Peter is arrested and imprisoned. In verse 5, we see where the church earnestly prayed to God for him and of course the result was a miraculous intervention with a visit from an angel of the Lord, who led Peter out of the cell into freedom. The need was grave and the prayer of the church was the link to Peter's release. This reminds me of the famous words of John Wesley who said, "Without God, we cannot. Without us God will not."  We must be about the Father's Business and it aways begins with prayer.

 

I particularly love corporate prayer for various reasons which are all worth pointing out, but will only mention a few.

 

1. Corporate Prayer is Selfless.

When we come together, it shows that we are considering others and their needs just like the example of the Apostle Peter. This is a display of the love of Christ being extended to our church and it's leaders. There is a unity of purpose. Corporate prayer knits a group together. I remember many years ago that the women had a prayer group at our local church where we would gather at the front and form a circle. We would begin to pray and lift up certain needs. We would worship the Lord and often times, the gifts of the Holy Spirit would manifest. Women would minister to women and we would all leave encouraged and refreshed from being in the presence of the Lord. Those were sweet days and I have fond memories of them. 

 

2. Corporate Prayer is Focused. 

One pastor commented that it is not a shotgun approach--giving prayer requests and praying for ten different things. Effective corporate prayer is topical. We see this on display with Peter's imprisonment in Acts 12. When the church prayed, it was focused prayer just for the Apostle Peter. This is how we approach corporate prayer here at New Life. Often times when I am praying at corporate prayer, the Holy Spirit will begin to lead me in a certain direction to pray for a particular issue. It could be for our pastor or marriages, our young people, etc... We don't know...but He knows. There have been times when sitting in my vehicle after corporate prayer, that I have been so grateful for His help and I say to Him, "Thank You."  He is the Helper. I often tell Him in prayer, “You lead and I'll follow.”  This is truly effective, focused, Spirit led prayer.

 

3.  Corporate Prayer is Purposeful. 

When we come together, we purposefully pray for God's desires and not our own. We lay down our own opinions and agenda. Everyone has an answer and they are probably great answers, but there is only one that is all knowing and has the very answer we need. In prayer we align our hearts and our lives with God's purpose.  Not our will be done, but His will be done.  I often say when teaching, "Father Knows Best," It's all about His plan, His glory, and His Kingdom.

 

Yes, corporate prayer is a great necessity in the body of Christ. I believe there is very great power when we all come together and lift up our hearts to God and pray in faith believing Him. This is acknowledging our need and our dependence on Him.  With God all things are possible!

 

In closing, I remind us all once again of John Wesley's words, "Without God, we cannot. Without us, God will not." It takes us cooperating with Him to fulfill His plans, purposes and pursuits. Let us pray.

Darla Hoagland is the Prayer Ministry Coordinator at New Life Church. She holds a three year advanced diploma in Theology from Life Christian University, and is presently working toward her Bachelor’s Degree.