Building Prayer

“Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” Matthew 18:19–20

Praying together in corporate prayer should be an important part of our prayer lives. As God’s Word shows, when we pray in agreement our prayers become powerful.

But how do we pray in agreement? Is it simply saying, “Yes, I agree!” when someone else prays? To some extent, it is as simple as that, as we join together in prayer simply saying I agree is the easiest way of agreeing. But joining together in a prayer of agreement can be far richer.

Often when we pray someone begins with one issue and then the next person prays for something else and so the prayer time continues. We join together in agreement for one another but at the end of the prayer time everyone has really just been praying their own prayers. Now, if we imagine that each prayer offered is like a piece of a jigsaw puzzle, then at the end of the prayer time there would just be a bunch of random pieces on the table.

A better way forward is to let our prayers build on each other’s prayers. One person starts and the next person picks up the theme and continues the prayer. To use the jigsaw illustration, the first person puts their puzzle piece down and then the next person puts a connecting piece down. To do that well it requires everyone paying attention to what is being prayed and everyone needs to be listening to the Holy Spirit, who guides and directs where the next prayer piece needs to go. So at the end of the prayer time there is a picture, which has formed.

For example, if one person begins to pray for the leaders in the church the next person could pray specifically for the elders and then some one else could pray for a particular issue the elders may be dealing with and someone else may then pray for a family who is affected by the issue the elders are working on and so the prayer continues to build. If one theme comes to an end then someone can pick up another theme and pray. For example, they could pray for the work of the deacons.

Praying in agreement by building on each other’s prayers is a powerful way of effectively covering issues with prayer. It allows the different gifts of individuals to be used together, it enhances fellowship as the Holy Spirit directs, and brings the jigsaw puzzle picture together.

The Father’s Agenda

Jesus gave them this answer: “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. John 5:19

When we look at the life and ministry of Jesus we see that he was continually doing what the Father instructed him to do. We could say that Jesus was continually on the father’s agenda. Because of that Jesus did not always react the way we might expect him to react. He waited two days before leaving to visit Lazarus, because he was on his father’s agenda and not his own. Jesus wanted to do the work His father had for him to do, even when that ultimately meant that he had to go through the agony of rejection, crucifixion and death. Jesus listened to the direction of his father and was obedient, obedient to death – even death on a cross (Philippians 2:8).

How did Jesus stay on the Father’s agenda? As we look at the gospels we see that when Jesus chose the 12 disciples he did so after spending time in prayer. When Peter confessed that Jesus was the Christ and Jesus explained the necessity of his suffering, death and resurrection. The interaction is done out of a context of prayer (Luke 9:18) Jesus was able to stay upon the Father’s agenda because he spent daily time in prayer with the Father. As he did this he was in continual relationship and was available to receive the directions he required.

“So what do you have for me today, Lord?” has become a frequent line in my prayer journal, its written and prayed in a sense of anticipation and excitement. Quite often there is a glimpse or a hint at what it to come, sometimes just the affirmation “wait and see!” It changes the perspective of the day because there is now an anticipation of what God is going to do. It maybe small but it can at times be big.

On my recent trip to Israel, I had prayed in the morning for God’s direction for the day and the response “I have something for you, wait and see” came back it was a dull and rainy day and as we arrived at a point in Jerusalem overlooking the temple mount abd the Western wall there was this amazing double rainbow arching over the temple mount and mount of Olives. The most vivid of rainbows I have ever seen. God did indeed have something for us and in a big way. He was giving us a sense of affirmation for the ministry we were doing but also just demonstrating his amazing grace to us. An expression of his love..

The rainbow over the temple mount

The Lord wants us to enjoy abundant prayer times with him everyday, where by he is showing us what he is doing and inviting us to join Him in His agenda.