There are a few commitments that help make corporate prayer work well.  As a group sees and accepts these, the Lord will be able to deepen the experience of the pray-ers.

A commitment to listen to the Lord and move in His direction, and at His pace.  Just as each Hebrew that God led through the desert had the responsibility to keep an eye on the pillar of fire and the cloud, so also each person in a time of prayer has the responsibility to keep an ear tuned into the Lord and what He is doing.  The fact that they are not the leader of the time of prayer does not release them from this responsibility.  Times of corporate prayer work best to the degree that all of the participants are praying together under the direction of the Holy Spirit.  The analogy of us being the Body of Christ is perhaps most evident in a prayer setting.  The hope is that each member of the Body will be in sync with the Head of the Body.  They may not do or pray the same thing at the same time, but they are all aware of how the Lord is leading them as each one does his/her part.

A commitment to listen fully to the prayers of others – so we are not just hearing the words, but really catching the heart and spirit of what is being prayed.  Typically we think if we are not saying the words, than we don’t need to really engage in what is being said.  The better each pray-er listens to the prayers of others, the better dynamic corporate prayer works.

A commitment to have my prayers relate to the prayers of others.  Since I am not thinking about my prayer, but rather the prayer being prayed, I am available to hear how the Lord might want me to add to a certain topic of prayer.

A commitment to actively participate in the time of prayer.  My level of comfort should not be the issue here.  The issue is that I have an opportunity to be used by God, to add to the worship experience, to hear or observe what God is saying or doing, or to stand with my brother or sister at a specific point of need.  If all (or even most) of the pray-ers actively participate in the process, the flow of God’s mercy, grace, and wisdom can come through more channels.

Finally, a commitment to the “ABC’s” of corporate prayer is necessary.  I have heard Daniel Henderson describe these as Audible, Brief, and Clear.  There may be times, even in a corporate setting, when it is appropriate for a prayer to be heard by only one or two people.  But generally speaking, prayers that cannot be heard by the whole group hinder the value of corporate prayer.  We should encourage the person praying to pray so the person on the other side of the room can hear them.  Also, long prayers can kill meaningful times of corporate prayer.  A good general rule is to encourage people to pray single topic prayers.  Speeches or sermons in the form of a prayer are far more edifying for the one praying than the ones hearing!  We should train people away from long, multi-topic prayers.  Prayers that are clear and to the point, on the other hand, should be encouraged because of the impact they can have. 

Blessed by Doing – Pray a specific prayer about each of the five commitments above asking God to remind you of them.  Then share them with a prayer group as you have opportunity.

Taken from “United and Ignited”.  Click here for more information.

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